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B3stia

- Look mommy I made a mainspring flower.

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"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4... take a deep breath and exhale." Ok, I've calmed down, stopped swearing and I promise not to punch and walls.

Mainspring, my mortal enemy why do you keep taunting me?!

I feel fairly confident when it comes to disassembling and assembling any type of watch (not including chronos yet). But when I sit staring at that mainspring barrel a voice always whispers in my ear "- Let it be. It's probably fine. No need to disturb what need not be awaken." But I always ignore that voice, I'm a capable man after all, right? Oh the lies, the lies I keep telling myself..

I have acquired a set of three K&d mainspring winders type 123. They usually do the trick when it has come to old Hamilton movements such as the 980, 770 etc. The t-end mainsprings found in these movements are easy enough to reinstall with said winder (most of the times anyway). Automatics however, seems to be a different beast entirely. I have in the last week completely destroyed two mainsprings while trying to restore a Seiko Sealion. I mean, what's the problem? What is so different with the automatic mainsprings? You hook it up, roll it in, and pop it out in to the barrel. But no no, these mainsprings does not want to play ball. They twist and turn and eventually explode. Is anybody else using similar winders with automatic mainsprings? If so, how do you get it to work? What am I missing? Or should I just leave the mainsprings be? Only open Pandora's box when I know it's broken? What do you suggest?

Here's the mainspring flower I picked this morning.

IMG_20160726_132618-01_zpspl71ca8a.jpeg

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18 minutes ago, B3stia said:

Here's the mainspring flower I picked this morning.

I can't help on the auto mainspring issue, :unsure: pretty sure someone here will help. Just wanted to say your humor is spot on!

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I fought for a good 30 min trying to wind it in by hand. But I couldn't get the last 5 cm in. When I unwound it I also noticed the mainspring had taken quite a beating from my on hands approach. So not sure I want to give that another go.

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I have that style of winder + a Bergeon style the same as Mark uses. I found that with both of these winders the issue is releasing the arbour once wound. If the spring is a bit tight around the winding arbour then if not careful it will pop the spring out with the flower.

I found what really helps is to give the winding arbour a thin coating of either barrel grease or Vaseline. Then this really helps when removing.  Also slowly does it I have a very thin pair of tweezers that I use to keep poking the centre of the spring back as it tries to pop out when releasing.

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I have that style of winder + a Bergeon style the same as Mark uses. I found that with both of these winders the issue is releasing the arbour once wound. If the spring is a bit tight around the winding arbour then if not careful it will pop the spring out with the flower.

I found what really helps is to give the winding arbour a thin coating of either barrel grease or Vaseline. Then this really helps when removing.  Also slowly does it I have a very thin pair of tweezers that I use to keep poking the centre of the spring back as it tries to pop out when releasing.

There's a always that nervous moment when the mainspring is fully in the winder and you have to make sure it doesn't pop out when removing the arbour. But the problems start even before that. I am experiencing the mainspring twisting and turning while winding it. It doesn't wind up in a perfect circle like the others, it moves around between the walls of the arbour and the winder.

Could it be that the mainspring is not high enough for the winder? That the mainspring doesn't fit tight enough between the arbour and the inside of winder (not talking diameter).

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I used to pull every spring out of its barrel, clean then refit by hand, as I could never afford the tools at the time, and didnt ever have any issue, even with auto-springs--Except one time-

A Smiths Enfield Clock-spring got away from me during installation and slashed my finger open quite badly down to the bone...

Havent done one for years, as I tend to collect Accutrons now so no Dangerous Mainsprings!...

Edited by Alastair

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I have not encountered that issue. I find as you wind the spring you have to un-twist sometimes especially as it gets towards the end of it,s length.
Winding by hand I always found difficult & if wearing finger cots the finger cot would try and get in on the act so I just purchased the winder.

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I'm really surprised how bad my experience with these last two mainsprings has been. I am ordering a new one and will just pop it in the barrel.

The next watch on my to do list is a Seiko cal 6139. I have already bought a new mainspring just in case. If I can't re-wind the old one I must clearly be doing something wrong.

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5 hours ago, B3stia said:

What is so different with the automatic mainsprings? You hook it up, roll it in, and pop it out in to the barrel. But no no, these mainsprings does not want to play ball. They twist and turn and eventually explode. Is anybody else using similar winders with automatic mainsprings?

I don't know about winders but if you place the spring into the barrel, and go around holding the coils in place with the flat of the tweezers, possibly using finger coats in the right hand, it will go in without much effort.

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I don't know about winders but if you place the spring into the barrel, and go around holding the coils in place with the flat of the tweezers, possibly using finger coats in the right hand, it will go in without much effort.

I tried winding it in by hand (without having watched any videos on it beforehand I might add). I couldn't do it today. I might give it another go in the future. I would much rather spare my fingers and use the winders though.

What type of winders are you guys using?

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3 minutes ago, B3stia said:

I tried winding it in by hand (without having watched any videos on it beforehand I might add). I couldn't do it today. I might give it another go in the future. I would much rather spare my fingers and use the winders though.

Trust me the spring won't jump. You only have to be careful placing the first coil, all the rest is straightforward. Seiko barrels have their own sizes and you many not find a winder that fits perfectly.

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Trust me the spring won't jump. You only have to be careful placing the first coil, all the rest is straightforward. Seiko barrels have their own sizes and you many not find a winder that fits perfectly.

I didn't face any problems with the spring jumping, it just got too hard winding it around. I'm probably missing something with the technique. I'll see if I can find a video on how to do it.

The good thing about the k&d winders is that you can adjust the diameter. So the non-standard sizes is not an issue.

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I watched a video about inserting a mainspring by hand. I can clearly see where I went wrong... 

I hope Mark can cover this in one of his upcoming Watch Repair videos. I'm going to sign up. 

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3 hours ago, B3stia said:

Here it is.

That's what I was telling you, first coil firmly in then others will follow. But let the flat of the tweezers do the holding work with the barrel on the mat, no need to hold iit hand.

Edited by jdm

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That's what I was telling you, first coil firmly in then others will follow. But let the flat of the tweezers do the holding work with the barrel on the mat, no need to hold iit hand.

I'll give it a go next time if the new mainspring doesn't pop right in. Thanks for the tips.

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On 27 July 2016 at 1:55 PM, B3stia said:

Here it is.

 

I'm fairly new to horological adventures but a recently retired 72 year old with all the hassles of a shaky hand I didn't know I had and old age dim eye sight. In six months of learning I have removed and replaced two main springs in exactly this method. Whilst the first took a lot of patience to get started, it was thicker than the one demonstrated here, but it actually gets easier towards the end.

thanks a lot for those discussions and videos. I owe you a lot. Nearly gave up a few times.

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41 minutes ago, vinn3 said:

thumbs are the way to go,  if you are thin skined or  bleed easly;  use leather gloves.  i forgot to mention "acidic hands"  it could be a problem.   vinn

Try not to use thumbs, it's easy. Left hand keeps coils pressed in the barrel with the flat of the tweezers, right hand (with gloves or finger coats) puts in the spring, and the tweezers follows. Let the tool do the hard contact, not your skin.

 

 

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