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Closing pocketwatch holes


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1 minute ago, Murks said:

Hi can someone help im having issues closing holes on pocketwatches small holes for the third and fourth does anyone how's the type staking tool to use?

Generally a domed stake  bigger than the hole but not too big then broach the hole to suit . Its not something i have done a lot of, so someone more experienced can help you choose the stake size more accurately. 

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Kalle has an excellent set of videos on closing watch holes.  I was successful on my first try thanks to his descriptions.

@Neverenoughwatches is correct though, you actually close the hole more than you need to, then broach it open to the right size.  The stake has to be just big enough to pinch some of the metal closest to the hole, so the domed stake should only be slightly larger than the hole, and when you have it set up, you should be able to rotate it freely.  (Vid will show this)

 

 

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7 hours ago, pent said:

Kalle has an excellent set of videos on closing watch holes.  I was successful on my first try thanks to his descriptions.

@Neverenoughwatches is correct though, you actually close the hole more than you need to, then broach it open to the right size.  The stake has to be just big enough to pinch some of the metal closest to the hole, so the domed stake should only be slightly larger than the hole, and when you have it set up, you should be able to rotate it freely.  (Vid will show this)

 

 

Unfortunately your advice comes a little too late to help with this restoration Pent. There is another thread from murks pertaining to the outcome 😔

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Hi Murks,

As John mentioned in the other thread, closing the holes by punching is not the best solution. This is especially when the wear of the holes is that big as in the bush of the 4th wheel in You bridge photos. The best thing to be done here is rebushing, but rebushing itself means replacement of the bushes with new ones, not smashing them as You have already done.

Well, that is for the train bridge on You photos. But the main problem is what You have done to the mainplate bearing for the central (2nd) wheel. First of all, I don’t think there is bush there, this is rather just a hole in the plate. So, it can not be replaced. Then, You not just closed the hole by the punches and the hammer, but did it from the wrong direction. So, now reaming of the hole to the correct size is possible, but enlarged axial free play is expected because the metal has moved down, and this can be a problem. Another serious problem can be the shifting of this hole which probably has happened, as it will make the center wheel to stay not upright. This is very bad thing, as besides the wrong gearing, the hands will move in a plain that is not parallel to the dial and it will not be possible to adjust their high above dial  in normal limits. Repairing of this bearing is something that needs specific skills and is usually done in lathe with faceplate

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Hi. If the holes are worn irregularly and you don’t have the skill level or tools to bush then hole closing is permissible but it must be done in a controlled manner. Once set up in the staking tool on a flat stake and working from the inside a domed punch is lowered over the hole and entered, when all is well a LIGHT tap with the hammer then remove the plate and check the fitting of the wheel and repeat the procedure checking after each tap.  It’s not sufficient to set it up and give it a biff trying to close it in one shot as the results nearly always lead the the hole is over closed and will need broaching, there is an in slightly indent on the plate , or in some cases the bridge or plate is bent causing major problems with the end shake and alignment.    So it all leads to being careful knowing what you are doing and what you are trying to achieve and having the right tools for the job. These jobs should be approached with caution and with the right advise not GUNG HO.

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I just never understood hole closing with a domed punch. If the hole is worn and egg shaped, wouldn't punching it in the centre of the hole result in migrating the hole even more?

I would think the proper way of repairing a worn hole is to centre the hole first, then rebush it.

The only time I would consider closing a hole is if I over-reamed the hole for the new bush and the bush is loose. Even then, I would probably use a proper hole closing punch, which constricts the hole from all around. I know @oldhippy would probably frown on this too. He'd say "what's so hard about turning a new bush from a brass rod? It only takes a couple of minutes!" 😂

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On 10/29/2023 at 9:58 AM, HectorLooi said:

I just never understood hole closing with a domed punch. If the hole is worn and egg shaped, wouldn't punching it in the centre of the hole result in migrating the hole even more?

I would think the proper way of repairing a worn hole is to centre the hole first, then rebush it.

The only time I would consider closing a hole is if I over-reamed the hole for the new bush and the bush is loose. Even then, I would probably use a proper hole closing punch, which constricts the hole from all around. I know @oldhippy would probably frown on this too. He'd say "what's so hard about turning a new bush from a brass rod? It only takes a couple of minutes!" 😂

If this is done enough times throughout the life of the watch, you will definitely have to put in a bushing or jewel because you will run out of material to pinch, but many collectors frown on that since it is not the original watch's construction.  

Bushing it certainly works too, and probably keeps the sideshake in check for much longer.  It just depends on if you (or the client) want to keep the watch as close to 'original' as possible.

EDIT:  In hindsight, looks like the OP was asking about wheel holes, so I clearly didn't read close enough.  I'm specifically referring to unbushed holes like in the main barrel bridge.  For other holes that are already bushed, then I agree, bushing replacement would be the better route.

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It was common practice to punch and close holes in watches and in clocks way back. Materials were not around like they are today, watch and clock makers were not around in villages or towns, blacksmiths were always about, it was not uncommon to take your watch or clock to the blacksmith.  I don't recommend closing holes by punching, re-bushing is the way, you can do a lot of damage by trying to close holes by punching and it certainly doesn't do the pivots any good.  

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