Jump to content
Aardvarkphil

Where do I start with tools?

Recommended Posts

Had a quick search but couldn't find a thread about what and what order to start collecting tooling. I'm thinking wrist and pocket watch to start with. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi    on the subject of tools as you are just starting out buy the best you can afford, Tweezers,Dumont not cheap but the best,, screwdrivers , French ones are very good,  Good loupes in two/three sizes  3X   5x    10x. and a couple of decent movement holders  Bergeon  4040 is a well known make and quality and a larger one for the pocket watches.  When all is said and done tools are a personal choice. Cousins uk have a comprehensiv selection so for the moment just bthe basics and some cheap Russian movements to practice on  and as your confidence and experience grows add to the tools and up grade to better ones, There is no definative answer to this question as peoples opinions on the subject differ greatly.        cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though dumont makes high quality tweezers, facts are a beginner will destroy a couple of tweezers before one gradually learns proper use of tweezers at which point you are ready to use higher quality tools and that mostly for finer tasks, following which one graduates to using quality tweezers more often, so I search and get a cheap one by the looks and your own instict helps select one that suits you, nevertheless the kid in us likes, chooses and buys one or two he likes, the new toy should come to use when we qualify to use em. same goes for screwdrivers.

As we grow more experienced our eyes go for retirement, so I say you can't waste money on optical equipment , only thing, go with the ones that give you the option of trying one at home before you invest your money, what you,d be investing in is actualy you eyes. Companies providing optical equipments to medical doctors work with you and provide councelling to get you what suits you. 

So far as the tools for basic watch service, a stem holder, screwdriver shapenner and add on as you feel the need.

I use acupuncture needles as oilers, contact lenz containers for the oil, used tooth brushes and convert broken screwdrivers to hands pusher, basic punching and case tube remover .... So when you get to machine work be ready to sell the house. :lol:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I agree with the cheaper tweezers suggestion... $25 is a week's coffee (if you're of that bent), and not the end of the world if you mess them up. I have a pair of cheap tweezers and a pair of Dumonts, and the cheap ones are barely usable while the Dumonts get the job done every time. I put off buying pegwood, and now that I have some, the cheap tweezers (previously used as a second point on shock springs) are used pretty much exclusively with the cap on, and a little blob of Rodico on the tip as a small parts pickup stick. My cheap tweezers are more frustration than useful; they're also especially cheap.

I went straight for the student model Bergeon screwdrivers. No regrets. Can't say anything about the inexpensive French set. Like the tweezers, you're using them constantly, so if you're going to put money into tools, these are a good place to put it.

I got clip on, flip down loupes from Bausch and Lomb (discontinued). I'm not sure that was the best route necessarily, because by the time I get a good high magnification for the finer work (i.e. manipulating hairsprings), I keep bumping tools into my optics... I'm probably doing it wrong. I don't know what the Harbor Freight equivalent is in the UK, but HF has some decent clip on loupes on the order of $6. 

Things that don't often get brought up are lighting and seating. You need at least one really good light, two is probably better (or a wide light source). If you're working at a normal desk height, you'll want a really low stool. Like 1' max. And room to put your feet. You eyes will try to jump out of your head without the light, and you neck and back will join them without a proper working height.

Oils, oilers, hand pullers, movement holder, work mat, Rodico, parts tray, finger cots or gloves, demagnetizer, case opener, pith wood, and if you've got budget left over a timing machine. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am fairly new to so I’m adding my viewpoint as a beginner rather than an expert. To start off I would say that I have never regretted spending more on tools, I have also bought some pretty cheap tools and regretted it. Having said that I have bought some cheap tools which I use all the time. The best way to learn what you need will always be experience.

I bought a set of seven pairs of “value tweezers” from Cousinsuk which came in a wooden box, the set is now priced at £11.95. Needless to say, some of these are useless, tips bend easily and don’t meet perfectly. However, I do still use some of these regularly and the box is very nice to have. The set has a range of shapes and sizes so it gives you an idea of what you need. I also have Dumont tweezers at £30 a pair, these are awesome and can manipulate the smallest parts with no problem where the cheap tweezers struggle.

Buy a set of good quality, Swiss, screwdrivers with a stand. It is hard to get a good stand afterwards and you will regret not having one.

Pegwood and Rodico are essential, get some. Oilers likewise, you can get a set of Bergeon oilers for under £10. You may want something more expensive later but no need to start. An oil pot with at least three divisions will be useful and various oils to go in it. There are many thread on oils so have a read of those. You will have to spend some money on oils and these are frightfully expensive but last for ages and can’t be avoided.

Agood quality movement holder is essential. Don’t skimp on this you will throw it away. A Bergeon 4040 or 4040p is recommended. My 4040p fits everything I have thrown at it so far.

You will need a good quality eyeglass, perhaps 10x magnification, and I would recommend a Burgeon eyeglass holder (5461) to keep the eyeglass on your eye. I started out without the eyeglass holder and it was a gamechanger when I got it. I also use a binocular magnifier at 3.5 times for general work which I got on Ebay for about £15. It is not ideal as it tends to distort circles but extremely useful if your eyesight is not 100%.

A light green plastic or rubber mat is very nice to have as it is an excellent background colour to work on. It is also easy to keep clean.

I tend to get tools as I need them rather than trying to predict what I will need. Once you realise you need a tool do some research. Ask in the forums. You may find you don’t need It or need something else. Once you are sure, don’t skimp on the price if possible. You wont regret buying  good quality tools but you may regret buying tools you don’t need so don’t be in a hurry and get the rest of the tools as and when you need them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a beginner also, I purchased the best screwdrivers I could (£130 ish for the Bergeon set with stand) as I have had experience with cheap sets and they are next to useless.

I went middle of the road with tweezers and bought some £15 a pair pioneer' I think they are called. I've not tried Dumont but these feel very nice. I have managed to bend then slightly through my own bad practice/inexperience.. I will go Dumont once I'm happy I won't damage them.

Most of the rest has been covered, I would say a benchmat is absolutely essential, as it dramatically reduces the bounce of anything that you drop and you will drop many things starting out. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Fraczish said:

As a beginner also, I purchased the best screwdrivers I could (£130 ish for the Bergeon set with stand) as I have had experience with cheap sets and they are next to useless. 

I think you have hugely overspent. As I wrote many times currently the top quality ball bearing A&F can be had as unbranded.for GBP 2.50 a piece, that makes 10 quids for the four most used one. With the balance compared to the overpriced Bergeon you could have bought a basic timegrapherand few stuff more. 

1 minute ago, Fraczish said:

I went middle of the road with tweezers and bought some £15 a pair pioneer' I think they are called. I've not tried Dumont but these feel very nice.

So you have found that the brand name is not alway needed. It's the person that does the job not the tools. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, mooseface said:

You will need a good quality eyeglass, perhaps 10x magnification, 

10x is lot, focus distance is so short that bri gets the lens almost to touch the piece General work isd oe with the  No. 3 that's 3.3x above 4x is better to get a stereo microscope that let you see while watching, beside examining. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, jdm said:

I think you have hugely overspent. As I wrote many times currently the top quality ball bearing A&F can be had as unbranded.for GBP 2.50 a piece, that makes 10 quids for the four most used one. With the balance compared to the overpriced Bergeon you could have bought a basic timegrapherand few stuff more. 

So you have found that the brand name is not alway needed. It's the person that does the job not the tools. 

Maybe so, however I'm pleased with them. as newbie I haven't seen the drivers you speak of. Rather I just followed the advice of Mark in his course of buying the best set you can afford. These are by no means the most expensive set. I already had a timegrapgher. 

I agree with your second point. However a certain level of quality is required. The difference in my pioneer tweezers and the set in my £15 watch repair kit from eBay is night and day. No matter how skilled the person, they would struggle to use them all day..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Fraczish said:

I haven't seen the drivers you speak of.

These https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/cousins-swiss-style-stainless-steel

38 minutes ago, Fraczish said:

Rather I just followed the advice of Mark in his course of buying the best set you can afford. 

What if one could afford pretty much anything? Being in that position I started anyway with cheap Indian (Anchor) drivers from Cousins. These worked perfectly "out of the box" with Seiko wider screw slots. Being bored of having to adjust them every time I went to a Swiss driver, I got the A*F first then the above which are identical, and a Chinese set for Seiko. 99% of a driver's efficiency is how you dress the tip to act as a wedge and positively engage the slot. You can follow the same principle with many cheap tools, all what they need is a bit of refinishing (too expensive for the factory) to work perfectly. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, jdm said:

Thanks for the link. 

My experience with cheap drivers were that the blades were very soft and would distort very easily. Also that the grub screws would constantly wriggle loose. Maybe I'm just heavy handed (very probable) the Bergeon' have been excellent, and I'm pleased with them. :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is interesting to read peoples comments on tools and the many diverse opinions there are.  What we have to remember is that Bergeon tools in the hands of an incompetent person are just as useless as the mid priced range of tools and it is the person using the tools that makes the difference.  I would agree with the remark regarding  the cheap tweezers and screwdrivers  as they are not up to the job,  but as jdm remarked the mid to upper price range of tools are well suitable if looked after,   that's the same for any tools, care and attention. 

In essence it all boils down to personal choice and the affordability. When starting a new hobby etc that requires the purchase of tools and equipment, Unless you are to get deep into that hobby start off slowly and build up your selection of tools etc as you go upgrading when required. There may come a time when you get bored with it and give up and then you are left with a lot of expensive kit. I have been into this for 60+ years and have still got the Dumont tweezers and the screwdrivers I first bought all those years ago not Bergeon ones, but they have served me well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, jdm said:

10x is lot, focus distance is so short that bri gets the lens almost to touch the piece General work isd oe with the  No. 3 that's 3.3x above 4x is better to get a stereo microscope that let you see while watching, beside examining. 

Clearly, I am not recommending the use of a 10x eyepiece at all times. As I said I also use a 3.5 times binocular magnifier for general use. I would love a binocular microscope but this is not practical at the moment due to price. I find the 10x magnifier useful for inspection, yes, the lens is very close to the work but the magnification is excellent. I agree that different people will get more benefit from lower (or higher) magnifications. The thing I would most recommend is the eyeglass holder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note: the generic French drivers that appear identical to the A&F branded drivers come in two flavors. One is really cheap, one is mid-priced. You have to look really closely at the product photos to tell the difference (specifically coming to mind is the knurling and the color coding used). I read a lot of confusingly mixed reviews about them, and I think it's because there are actually two that are borderline indistinguishable. IIRC, the cheap set could be had as low as $25 or so, while the nice set was $50-$60. With the known quantity Bergeon set available at just north of $80, I opted to buy my way out of the uncertainty.

Somewhere (WUS?), someone pointed me to Horia as making a set of drivers in a mid-price tier of especially high quality. The only references Google was able to produce regarding feedback on this driver set all came from the same guy in different places, so I saw it as a bit more of a gamble. Bergeon sells Horia tools (though notably not the drivers) under Horia's own name rather than rebranding them as a reference point. Might be worth looking into.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, spectre6000 said:

Note: the generic French drivers that appear identical to the A&F branded drivers come in two flavors.

The purchase link I've posted above, and my own experience comparing the two items in my own hands is unambiguous - these are indeed unbranded A&F. Below the note that I've got from Sam Cousins on the subject:

Quote

 Swiss style equivalents, which are the exact same screwdrivers. Please see from our code S57443

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...