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Help with opening barrel on an st36


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I'm a rookie and have signed up for Mark's course.  I am most of the way through disassembly of the ST36 and it's been going well (lots of pictures 🙂 ) until I got to the barrel.  For the life of me I cannot see an easy way to get the lid off.  Marks video shows him pushing on the bottom (arbor?) on a staking anvil and the lid just sort of tilted.  I can't get that to happen at all.  Does anybody have advice on the best way to do this?

And the next question is should I even attempt this at this point, specifically take the mainspring out by hand and then insert it by hand.  I saw in one forum that inserting by hand has the risk of deforming the spring in some way.  I guess people eventually buy winders but they're pricey and I'd at least like to learn to do it manually.

Edited by linux
add info, fix typo
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No matter whether you have the best tool for this or handwinding there is a risk of it all going terribly wrong. At this stage of your education it is probably good to do the hand wind for the experience, you learn what to do and what not to do and the bonus is it doesn’t cost you lots of money.

 

Tom

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Many beginners are tempted to use a tweezer to grip the edge of the barrel and press down on a hard surface. DO DO THAT!

That would end up damaging the teeth of the barrel.

The trick in opening a barrel is to press on the edges of the barrel, without putting any pressure on the lid. It helps if you have thick skin on the tips of your fingers.

Some people use their fingernails to press on the teeth of the barrel. I have also read of people who get a thick piece of perspex and drill a hole to fit the barrel in it. I also saw a video on YouTube recently, where compressed air was used to pop the lid off.

Winding by hand is something that every watchmaker must learn. I have five different sets of winders but there will always be some deviant mainspring that won't fit any winder. I just had to hand wind a mainspring 2 days ago.

Winding by hand can be painful. For a professional watchmaker who services 5 watches a day, that can really take a toll on the fingers. But for a hobbyist, that shouldn't be a problem.

Good luck and press on!

 

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13 hours ago, tomh207 said:

No matter whether you have the best tool for this or handwinding there is a risk of it all going terribly wrong.

Mainsprings can always be a problem no matter what. Hand winding tends to be frowned upon because of the risk of distortion of the mainspring. Also if your hand winding especially if it's a blued steel spring you risk getting things on the mainspring that shouldn't be there you probably should wear gloves. In other words blued steel Springs that have been handled by human hands have a much greater likelihood of breaking. Not that they won't break all by themselves just because they feel like it.

On the other hand mainspring winders if you try to squeeze a spring in that should go into something that small gets distorted.

But for limited quantity of mainsprings you can hand wind again if you have enough hands strength I usually just find it inconvenient so I use the winders because I have them. But I of people who will eagerly hand wind the spring in because I don't want to mess with the winders.

So no matter what mainsprings can be an issue. Also a removing the arbor and the mainspring ideally it should be in something like a towel works as it helps to dissipate the energy of the mainspring. It's always an amusement in the shop when the other watchmaker occasionally has a barrel go flying away and usually it's a very expensive barrel. But don't worry in both cases they were found several days later. So it's always important to contain your mainspring after the lid is off and you removing either the spring or the arbor to prevent it from disappearing and never being seen again.

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@linux I'm not a pro but I have used the technique shown by Mark in course video C2.1.8 ever since saw the video some five years ago and it has worked flawlessly. 

18 hours ago, linux said:

Marks video shows him pushing on the bottom (arbor?) on a staking anvil and the lid just sort of tilted.  I can't get that to happen at all. 

So, what happens? Don't you get the lid off at all or does the spring and arbor fly out of the barrel? Mark is pressing on the teeth on both sides of the barrel, lid up, while the arbor rests on the staking block.

12 hours ago, HectorLooi said:

Many beginners are tempted to use a tweezer to grip the edge of the barrel and press down on a hard surface. DO DO THAT!

That would end up damaging the teeth of the barrel.

That's exactly how I do it, although I use brass tweezers, and I never noticed any damage to the teeth. Perhaps I have just been lucky or it is the brass tweezers that have been key to avoid damage.

Edited by VWatchie
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20 minutes ago, VWatchie said:

That's exactly how I do it, although I use brass tweezers, and I never noticed any damage to the teeth. Perhaps I have just been lucky or it is the brass tweezers that have been key to avoid damage.

I was told off for doing that on the first day i joined the forum by whom shall remain anonymous 🤣. I just use my fingernails to press down on the teeth now, Its a good idea to check that the lid is straight when you put it back on especially if some force was needed to pop it off.

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1 hour ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

I just use my fingernails to press down on the teeth

I'm not sure (you can never be in this business) but I really don't think it matters whether we use our fingernails or brass tweezers. The lid seldom sits very hard, and the metal the barrel is made of is considerably harder than both fingernails and brass. Furthermore, when using tweezers we're really pressing on the base (not the tip) of the teeth closest to the barrel.

Edited by VWatchie
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14 hours ago, HectorLooi said:

Many beginners are tempted to use a tweezer to grip the edge of the barrel and press down on a hard surface. DO DO THAT!

That would end up damaging the teeth of the barrel.

The trick in opening a barrel is to press on the edges of the barrel, without putting any pressure on the lid. It helps if you have thick skin on the tips of your fingers.

Some people use their fingernails to press on the teeth of the barrel. I have also read of people who get a thick piece of perspex and drill a hole to fit the barrel in it. I also saw a video on YouTube recently, where compressed air was used to pop the lid off.

Winding by hand is something that every watchmaker must learn. I have five different sets of winders but there will always be some deviant mainspring that won't fit any winder. I just had to hand wind a mainspring 2 days ago.

Winding by hand can be painful. For a professional watchmaker who services 5 watches a day, that can really take a toll on the fingers. But for a hobbyist, that shouldn't be a problem.

Good luck and press on!

 

Ha ha, encouraging video 🙂  At least he got the lid off.  I'll try that...

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7 hours ago, VWatchie said:

I'm not sure (you can never be in this business) but I really don't think it matters whether we use our fingernails or brass tweezers. The lid seldom sits very hard, and the metal the barrel is made of is considerably harder than both fingernails and brass. Furthermore, when using tweezers we're really pressing on the base (not the tip) of the teeth closest to the barrel.

I was using the sides of the tweezers straddled over the barrel so resting across a few teeth on each side. I still got told off and have never done it since 🤣

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22 hours ago, HectorLooi said:

For a professional watchmaker who services 5 watches a day

30 minutes ago, Klassiker said:

,,,should be earning a very good living!

Yes, those must be the Master Watchmakers mentioned in most Ukrainian listings on eBay.

1 hour ago, watchweasol said:

Hi use your thumb nails. They break before the teeth and are easier to repair.

So, when the thumbnails break, what is plan B? B as in Brass tweezers?

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23 hours ago, HectorLooi said:

I also saw a video on YouTube recently, where compressed air was used to pop the lid off.

I've seen that mentions in the AWCI horological times magazine then explain how to make the or modify the tip on mechanic compressed air to do that.

Here's something amusing I thought it was removing the lid but it looks like it's removing the mainspring with compressed air or removing something I don't feel like reading the entire thing it just looks amusing. Then the bottom of the pages interesting yes I skipped over all the details other than as a can of air in the mainspring. So he does not recommend that you do this instead recommends sending your watch to certified Watch repair shop. Then if you click on the link you get to his shop where he doesn't explain how is shop became certified or why we should care about a certified shop I'd be more concerned about a certified watchmaker but what do I know about the things they case it was good for a laugh. Oh and then basically from what I'm seeing it have to make one of these for each this different sizes of mainsprings are doing and it seems well amusing

https://www.bobswatches.com/watch-resources/rolex-mainspring-barrel

Then I'd be really curious if the method you using in this discussion is what you would use to remove a pocket watch mainspring lid as they usually have way more force to come off. I was going to describe it but I found a nice video and even though it's 4 o'clock basically on pocket watches all of what he says applies especially if it's an 18 size pocket watch. This is where you want to pay attention to which way the arbor goes in often times it doesn't have a screw I could find on the newer watch for the ratchet wheel usually on 18 size the UN backwards the mainspring so you always do want to pay attention pocket watch. The only difference from the video is I use a small brass hammer. Then yes sharp whack and 90 some percent of the time the lid is free if it's not free then you do not want to continue to whack then you get stuck trying to pry it up which is not a big fan of doing consumer markup the edge of the barrel.

 

1 hour ago, VWatchie said:

Yes, those must be the Master Watchmakers mentioned in most Ukrainian listings on eBay.

I don't think I've seen those advertisements although I tend to stay clear of Ukrainian watches especially if there a bargain price. I once purchased a Russian watch very cheap I'm reasonably sure it said it was working and wasn't working when I got it. To me it looked like it was a ball of rust but it was super super cheap not worth the time and effort to send it back unfortunately. Which is probably what the seller was counting on.

Then expanding master watchmaker to serve wristwatch on eBay I always find that amusing. Always have to wonder how well the watch was serviced of its being sold on eBay at a bargain price. Occasionally people even show a timing machine results of luck I service to see how nice it looks and a lot of times the timing machine does not look that nice.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

for older models I just hold between thumb and pointer finger and push on mainspring arbor towards the lid, then it can not fly apart, it is still between fingers, some barrels have a different lid with sides and a different method should be used for removal, one should invest in a mainspring winder [ or replace with new spring ], hand winding distorts the mainspring, when you have an automatic mainspring you will be thankful...

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