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Hello All

I'm starting to do some research  toward buying a lathe. I know nothing about any of it. Today's topic of interest is gravers. What I would like to do is turn balance staffs, and pivots. On down the road I'd like to be able to make my own stumps and punches. However that topic will have to wait for another day. I've watched some videos on staff making but have no clue as to what tool is being used when. Could someone shed some light for me on what the difference is between tool styles? Also what would be best for said task?

 

Thank you in advance

 

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uuhh boy....you got a few days just to discuss: 

lathe

fundamentals of operating a lathe including safety

nomenclature of a lathe

what kind of lathe and their uses

lathe tooling-for wood or metalwork

lathe specialties-WATCHMAKING and watch repair; MINIATURE lathes

why sticking a loupe in your eye socket is not a natural feeling

why doing miniature lathe work while wearing an eye loupe just ain't any fun

obsolete lathes and tooling related to watchmaking and repair

USED lathes, tooling

Chinesium (ha) machinery

EBAY

buying a lathe, tooling

buying a miniature lathe, tooling....

Can engine or benchtop lathes and associated tooling be used for watchmaking, Repair? ("yes, but....")

making your own tooling, gravers for watchmaking and repair

types of steel to make watchmaking and repair lathe tooling

bench grinders, sharpening and honing stones, cutting oils

ANGLES and RELIEF grinding and polishing in relation to lathe tooling

get my drift? some of those I kinda made up, but as a long time apprenticed, journeyman machinist, I kinda didn't.(did that make any sense?:unsure:) just going thru my head I made up the titles but I think you get the idea. it's ALOT to try and cover here, and alot for you to think about. impossible? heck no. just a lot. maybe narrow down the questions you might have to start? hell I wouldn't even know where to begin!

did i steer you away from wanting to do watch repair lathe work? hope not!

 

Edited by MechanicMike
forgot a word, and I sneezed.
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24 minutes ago, MechanicMike said:

 

did i steer you away from wanting to do watch repair lathe work? hope not!

 

Not even close.

I did find these videos on YouTube that covered all I was looking for in my question.

 

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It would probably be impossible to learn everything from this forum. There are many good watchmaking books available from Amazon and Ebay. Do get some of them to build up a sound foundation first. Jumping headlong into everything is not the best way of doing things.

First learn the science behind metal working and machining. Learn the reasons why things are done the way they are. When you understand the science, then you can start to appreciate the intricacies of horology. Then you can start bending the rules and coming up with your own techniques of doing things.

When you do get a lathe, don't go and try cutting a balance staff as your 1st project. Start with simpler things. Start with softer materials like brass and soft steel, then work your way up to blued steels and stainless steels. Be prepared to throw away many failures. Or keep them in a showcase to see how far you have come along in your journey.

 

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Posted (edited)

Maybe I over simplified my "I know nothing about any of it".  I was only referring to the watchmakers lathe. I use to work in welding / fabricating.  I did prototyping within the trucking industry.  The engineers drew the pictures, I made the parts and assembled what ever it was  from raw stock.  Then it was kicked over to  Jigs and Fixtures to sort out the rest for line production. Now I work from home operating a street rod /hot rod shop.  I will frame off anything that will fit in the door (9'H 10'W). Though I won't shoot color, rebuild automatic transmissions or change oil for others. 

My dive right in attitude comes from my time in the service. I'm a paratrooper with combat time.

Nothing can't be done with proper prep.

I don't believe in the concept of failure. I believe you have  found a way that will not get you the results you want and another must be tried.

Scrap parts and pieces to me are valuable  resources for another project.

 

Anyway.... I like old pocket watches!  B)

Edited by Nora
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I think you answered your own questions the best and are well on yer way. Thanks for your service from a fellow vet. It would have been better to know your background a bit. I'd have you in my shop. Got any questions, fire away.

MM

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Henry Fried's Watch Repairer's Manual has a section on graver types and specifically on turning a balance staff.

Those DeanUK vids are good, that should get you going. I like that he turns at quite a low RPM, one of the biggest mistakes I see is folks want to turn at top speed, and while "correct" in some situations is usually conterproductive when hand turning. Some schools have the students using hand powered lathes for the bulk of their hand turning training. I generally use two speeds when turning, around 2k rpm, my fast speed, and around 800. While my machine is physically capable of going well over 10k the way it's set up it maxes around 4k and it's rare that I find any need to go that high at all. The main reason you go slow is you have to make a chip, not scrape metal off. At high speeds you either have to have very fast and confident reflexes or you end up scraping. Same goes for micro drilling. The books will tell you to spin at 50k for a tiny hole, the reality is about 1/20 is about all you can really react to when hand feeding.

 

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maybe some light reading would help this first link is a nice book talking about the watchmakers lathe. sometimes it helps to start at the beginning to understand why we have the watchmaker's lathe we do today and the minor or not so minor complications of all the variations.

The watchmakers' lathe, its use and abuse; a story of the lathe in its various forms, past and present, its construction and proper uses

https://archive.org/details/watchmakerslathe00good

Then the next link gravers are talked about their hidden in a variety of chapters so you have to go looking. Like chapter 3 does show gravers and sharpening them.

Joseph School of Watch Making

https://mybulova.com/vintage-bulova-catalogs

Then a video. It does bring up a minor problem though is showing you to sharpen engravers for a lathe but if you read the first book you will know that the typical watchmaker's lathe does not have a slight rest. That's because watchmakers typically hold gravers in their hand resting on the rest. But modern watchmakers will typically use across slide the hold the cutting tools. Which brings up the problem of your question because a lot of it has to do with what you're going to be cutting what type of lathe you're using.

Classic Watchmaking: Grinding and Setting Up A Lathe Cutter

https://youtu.be/2R0l6I1yrrk

 

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Just focussing on gravers and how to use them, that video of DeanDK's is excellent. Watched it again today, for the third or fourth time, and it is clear and easy to understand, and covers everything you need to know to get going. There's no substitute for practice, of course, but I don't think you are shy of getting stuck in. I can only echo what Nickelsilver recommended for reading, but I'll mention how good George Daniels' Watchmaking is too, on this and every other aspect.

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On 8/12/2020 at 3:50 AM, JohnR725 said:

.Joseph School of Watch Making

https://mybulova.com/vintage-bulova-catalogs

This is the first thing I downloaded after joining the forum.

On 8/12/2020 at 3:50 AM, JohnR725 said:

Classic Watchmaking: Grinding and Setting Up A Lathe Cutter

https://youtu.be/2R0l6I1yrrk

That guy is awesome! I've got that chanell in my subscribed channels on YouTube.  Most of what he does is far beyond my current abilities to try, but that will come in time

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Another really good reference book is the one found at the link below. Yes somewhere in the book it does talk about gravers the shapes sharpening etc. But understanding gravers cannot occur until you know what you wanted do with the gravers and maybe even type Of lathe you have. Which is why keep making recommendations of Lathe books.

https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Watchmakers-Lathe-How-Use/dp/0918845238

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I also recommend having a look at a book. I think that also applies to other topics too - a forum is a great resource, but it will never replace a reference book. 
 

For a starter graver that’s easy to sharpen, I’d try something like a 2 - 3mm HSS graver. I prefer sharpening on a diamond stone. 

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