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Inserting barrel arbor into mainspring


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I'm having a devil of a time trying to insert the barrel arbor into the mainspring. I don't want to bend the mainspring out of shape so i'm turning to this forum for suggestions.

I have taken Mark's course and (repeatedly) watched the chapter on "FITTING THE BARREL ARBOR AND LID".

- He mentions using a pair of strong brass tweezers in the video. 
    - Any suggestions as what are the best tweezers. (I only have a #2 and #4 straight titanium tweezers so far)?
- I my case the inner coil of the mainspring is slightly smaller than the arbor but i can't insert the arbor at much of an angle because of the radius of the bottom hole in the barrel, which complicates getting the arbor to fit.
    - Suggestions?

Thank you!
Steve

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I'm not sure why you're struggling. If the inner coil is only slightly smaller than the arbor, it should be quite easy. I put the barrel on a bench block, sitting over a hole. Then hold the arbor in some sturdy tweezers (I use a cheap set of stainless steel, as I'm holding the arbor, not the spring). Get the hook on the arbor somewhere near the slot on the spring.  Insert at a slight angle, and push down.

I hold the barrel and mainspring down with 2 fingers (wearing cots) or brass tweezers to stop the spring pinging out, as you might have to jiggle to arbor a bit to get it in.

Edited by mikepilk
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If Mike's technique doesn't work for you (sometimes the coil is just too tight or there's no room to tilt the arbor), grab the arbor with a pinvice (or barrel arbor holder, which is really just a pinvice), and turn clockwise* as you keep firm pressure against the spring. It will open up the coil and let the arbor in.

 

*Clockwise for a normal barrel, where when viewing the open barrel the spring would wind counter-clockwise.

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6 minutes ago, mikepilk said:

I'm not sure why you're struggling. If the inner coil is only slightly smaller than the arbor, it should be quite easy. I put the barrel on a bench block, sitting over a hole. Then hold the arbor in some sturdy tweezers (I use a cheap set of stainless steel, as I'm holding the arbor, not the spring). Get the hook on the arbor somewhere near the slot on the spring.  Insert at a slight angle, and push down.

Thanks Mike. I am working on a bench block as you suggested. I'm having two issues. I can't seem to keep a good hold on the arbor with tweezers and i can't seem to get enough angle on the arbor to even get it started.

I did remove, clean and reinstall the mainspring using a mainspring winder. Might i have made the innermost coil too small using the mainspring winder. I'm really new at this and it was my first attempt using the mainspring winder.

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14 minutes ago, signcarver said:

Thanks Mike. I am working on a bench block as you suggested. I'm having two issues. I can't seem to keep a good hold on the arbor with tweezers and i can't seem to get enough angle on the arbor to even get it started.

I did remove, clean and reinstall the mainspring using a mainspring winder. Might i have made the innermost coil too small using the mainspring winder. I'm really new at this and it was my first attempt using the mainspring winder.

I don't see how you could have made the inner coil any smaller with a mainspring wider, it usually makes it bigger.

As long as you can get an edge of the arbor in, you can push quite firmly with tweezers.

(I'm only asking this as I've done it !) Are you sure the arbor is the right way up?

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1 hour ago, nickelsilver said:

If Mike's technique doesn't work for you (sometimes the coil is just too tight or there's no room to tilt the arbor), grab the arbor with a pinvice (or barrel arbor holder, which is really just a pinvice), and turn clockwise* as you keep firm pressure against the spring. It will open up the coil and let the arbor in.

 

*Clockwise for a normal barrel, where when viewing the open barrel the spring would wind counter-clockwise.

Thank you nickelsilver. i need to buy a pinvise, which i will do. One thing i have learned is that you don't force things or you usually make tham worse. Also, when you are at wit's end, ask for advice on the forum.

50 minutes ago, mikepilk said:

I don't see how you could have made the inner coil any smaller with a mainspring wider, it usually makes it bigger.

As long as you can get an edge of the arbor in, you can push quite firmly with tweezers.

(I'm only asking this as I've done it !) Are you sure the arbor is the right way up?

Yes, 100% sure on the arbor direction.

Thanks for the info on the winder not making the coil smaller.

What's weird is that i have watched dozens of watch videos and this never seems to be a problem in the videos.

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1 hour ago, signcarver said:

What's weird is that i have watched dozens of watch videos and this never seems to be a problem in the videos.

🤔 what a lot of youtubers experience and what they choose to show us are often two different things. I used to watch an American hobbiest, when he finished a reassembly and placed the watch on his tg the result was almost always no or very little beat error and within a couple of seconds of time keeping, i might add with no regulation whatsoever on old vintage watches.   "hey look at me i can strip down a watch fix it,  oil it and reassemble it in a couple of hours and it runs perfectly every time woohoo '. Yeah right of course you can, can we now see the actual full footage with all the fluff ups Billy no mates. We cant believe all that we see and hear, in fact very little when it comes to being popular and money is involved.  Mike at retro watches can be a complete numpty sometimes but at least he doesn't hide it.

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1 hour ago, mikepilk said:

This is one situation where you can use a little force !

Have you got a pic of the arbor sat on the spring ?

D867A7CE-0A6C-4108-80C2-3290F2137553_1_102_o.thumb.jpeg.b98d9f109b5c99652e0902741999ecea.jpeg

26 minutes ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

🤔 what a lot of youtubers experience and what they choose to show us are often two different things. I used to watch an American hobbiest, when he finished a reassembly and placed the watch on his tg the result was almost always no or very little beat error and within a couple of seconds of time keeping, i might add with no regulation whatsoever on old vintage watches.   "hey look at me i can strip down a watch fix it,  oil it and reassemble it in a couple of hours and it runs perfectly every time woohoo '. Yeah right of course you can, can we now see the actual full footage with all the fluff ups Billy no mates. We cant believe all that we see and hear, in fact very little when it comes to being popular and money is involved.  Mike at retro watches can be a complete numpty sometimes but at least he doesn't hide it.

😂 I hear you neverenoughwatches. 

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1 hour ago, signcarver said:

Thank you nickelsilver. i need to buy a pinvise, which i will do. One thing i have learned is that you don't force things or you usually make tham worse. Also, when you are at wit's end, ask for advice on the forum.

Yes, 100% sure on the arbor direction.

Thanks for the info on the winder not making the coil smaller.

What's weird is that i have watched dozens of watch videos and this never seems to be a problem in the videos.

It can be experienced Steve, i do now and then.  I dont like to force anything personally, as its a bad habit i have to stop myself from doing. My trade is construction and after nearly 40 years of strongarming stuff to make it fit ive had to learn delicate handling and slowly slowly catch your monkey. If I'm struggling to get an arbor in place i use an old oiler to gently tease the mainspring to get one edge in, once you have a start the rest will follow. Gently being the apt word.

15 minutes ago, signcarver said:

D867A7CE-0A6C-4108-80C2-3290F2137553_1_102_o.thumb.jpeg.b98d9f109b5c99652e0902741999ecea.jpeg

😂 I hear you neverenoughwatches. 

The arbor doesn't particularly look overbig. It will go, just take your time, having the mainspring a slack fit is something you dont want imo more of a problem.

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@nickelsilver advice of using a pinvise is the way to go. I used to have some problems with inserting the barrel arbor too. I've tried brass tweezers too but sometimes it pings the arbor into space and then I'll be on my hands and knees for hours.

I see from your photos that you already have a staking block. Put your barrel arbor into a suitable hole and use the pinvise to grip the pivot tightly. And follow the rest of the advise nickelsilver gave.

 

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3 hours ago, HectorLooi said:

@nickelsilver advice of using a pinvise is the way to go. I used to have some problems with inserting the barrel arbor too. I've tried brass tweezers too but sometimes it pings the arbor into space and then I'll be on my hands and knees for hours.

I see from your photos that you already have a staking block. Put your barrel arbor into a suitable hole and use the pinvise to grip the pivot tightly. And follow the rest of the advise nickelsilver gave.

 

@HectorLooi Thank you! Pin vise is on order. 

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7 hours ago, signcarver said:

Pin vise is on order. 

You want to be careful with which Pin vice you order. They do make a special pin vice just for this. They come in a variety of sizes and I don't think the Chinese of clone them yet so there expensive.

Then picture underneath shows a variety of pin vices this to remind you that you want to make sure you get one that has a suitable and for holding arbor. The one on the far right is one of the barrel arbor holders. Depending upon which pin vice you get some of them will work for holding Arbors some will not open up enough to hold an arbor it will depend on the size of the watch.

barrel arbor holder and pin devices that are not necessarily correct.JPG

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Those special pinvices are rather costly and rare, and different sizes will be needed.

You could make (I did once) your own one with low cost.
Take a cheap indian sliding pinvice (#330, its opening is zero) and a jewellers burr with ball shaped tip of appropriate diameter. Then mill the center of the pinvice to the needed depth. 

The mouth of the pinvice is mild steel. It will last and keep its shape for very long.

pinvice1.jpg.0eff4f789ae66cf97b5ebd6090bb340f.jpgpinvice2.jpg.016f8622be8c7941e5ae40c771f181b5.jpg

Frank

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5 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

You want to be careful with which Pin vice you order. They do make a special pin vice just for this. They come in a variety of sizes and I don't think the Chinese of clone them yet so there expensive.

Then picture underneath shows a variety of pin vices this to remind you that you want to make sure you get one that has a suitable and for holding arbor. The one on the far right is one of the barrel arbor holders. Depending upon which pin vice you get some of them will work for holding Arbors some will not open up enough to hold an arbor it will depend on the size of the watch.

barrel arbor holder and pin devices that are not necessarily correct.JPG

 

1 hour ago, praezis said:

Those special pinvices are rather costly and rare, and different sizes will be needed.

You could make (I did once) your own one with low cost.
Take a cheap indian sliding pinvice (#330, its opening is zero) and a jewellers burr with ball shaped tip of appropriate diameter. Then mill the center of the pinvice to the needed depth. 

The mouth of the pinvice is mild steel. It will last and keep its shape for very long.

pinvice1.jpg.0eff4f789ae66cf97b5ebd6090bb340f.jpgpinvice2.jpg.016f8622be8c7941e5ae40c771f181b5.jpg

Frank

@JohnR725 and @praezis Thank you guys!

I measured my barrel arbor (see below)

8BB98EF8-65F7-45F8-8C53-5A865A289EF1_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.ab5f300a6a8ddda2082a6683b7f540e4.jpeg

Then i ordered this pin vise (before i read your posts). I think it will be OK. What do you think?

image.thumb.png.2c94efb2088be9f578011f428f4962d5.png

Here are it's specs:

Bergeon 1842-18A Pin Vise with 2 Chucks 0 to 1.00mm and .80 to 2.00mm

Two chucks 0-1.00mm and .80-2.00mm
Knurled handle for grip
Measures 3-3/8" long

Thanks again for your help!

Steve
 

 

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I received the pin vise and tried using that to hold the arbor. I could hold the arbor successfully but i couldn't see the arbor or spring because they were obscured by the pin vise. 

I eventually used two pair of tweezers to manipulate the arbor and the mainspring and got the barrel arbor installed.

Thank you all for your help and suggestions!

Steve

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Not sure the following will help you @signcarverbut I made the following note in my book where I record my experiences and thoughts in watch repair.

Replacing the arbor. Insert the arbor so that the arbor hook goes in where the innermost coil has its widest section (between the innermost and second innermost coil) to facilitate getting the arbor inside the innermost coil. Then, using brass tweezers, rotate the arbor so that the arbor hook goes into the eye of the innermost coil. I also made the following "ugly" illustration.

image.png.90c5467f09c042c99db5926ff9c93802.png

With some movements, it's a very tight fit, for example, Vostok movements.

Hope it helps!

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2 hours ago, VWatchie said:

Not sure the following will help you @signcarverbut I made the following note in my book where I record my experiences and thoughts in watch repair.

Replacing the arbor. Insert the arbor so that the arbor hook goes in where the innermost coil has its widest section (between the innermost and second innermost coil) to facilitate getting the arbor inside the innermost coil. Then, using brass tweezers, rotate the arbor so that the arbor hook goes into the eye of the innermost coil. I also made the following "ugly" illustration.

image.png.90c5467f09c042c99db5926ff9c93802.png

With some movements, it's a very tight fit, for example, Vostok movements.

Hope it helps!

Thank you @VWatchie ! Great drawing. A picture is worth 1000 words. I didn't do exactly that, but i was able to manipulate the coil on the mainspring with a second pair of tweezers. Next time i will try your method.

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