Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

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Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby cannon pinion » Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:43 am

Some things are best done late, when the buzz quiets down and one is alone with the task at hand. In this case, it was a first attempt to replace a roller jewel on an 18s Hampden full plate. Here is how I the balance looked when I took it apart:
rjm.JPG
.
I expected the process to be nerve racking, but it was actually quite relaxing. I had read up, and Freid sugguested wetting the tweezers to retain the jewel. A very good thing to know, because when you tighten down on these little devils they have the habit of twitching off into space.
I used spit. Spit was my second best friend thru this process, after patience. At first I had trouble with the jewel slipping off the roller table while I tried to upright it into the hole. So I annointed the roller table with a coating of spit, which helped a lot. The jewel sort of floats on the top of the liquid, and wont drop off the roller. I used an old clock oiler with a bent point to ease it into the hole.
Melting the shellac was easy enuf, but I used too much. I have flake shellac and found it hard to get a small enuf piece. Anyway, here is the jewel after the first try:

rj2.JPG
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby cannon pinion » Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:50 am

Yes, the jewel is tilted and twisted out of it's correct position. So I heated up the tweezers, held the jewel a bit until the shellac softened and turned it into the correct position. At which point, once I released the tweezers, the jewel dropped right thru the roller plate.
The second time around was a little quicker, and now it looks like this:
rjf.JPG

Which I'm thinking looks like it ought to be good to go.
After the spit, comes the polish. I plan to remove the excess shellac, give it a quick run thru the unheated ultrasonic, and then check it for poise.
But thats for the morning. Around 2PM.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby Marty101 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:44 am

This is the first roller jewel repair I remember seeing-nice pics by the way. I can see the spit thing working and I can see oil not,too. Very neat Andy. This repair is one of my more common problems.
Keep winding things,
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby 4brokenow » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:12 pm

Andrew,

I applaud your efforts in doing your watch repair as I have had many 2-3am nights as well. Now for the sticky question that I am going to apologize in advance for as both reactions could leave you feeling not to good at me, but is the Flat side of the Roller jewel towards the notch in the safety table? It should be, and I can't tell from your picture. If it isn't it shouldn't be too bad to get it turned around now that you have it set in there.

Phil
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby cannon pinion » Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:34 pm

You are right, Phil, and the only reaction I have is gratitude for your help. It's hard to tell even under the loupe which side is flat on this jewel. I will turn it around and hope it doesnt throw it out of wack again - I just finished poising it, which involved removing tiny bits of shellac from the underside of the roller table with a heated needle.
Practice, as they say, makes perfect.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby Neilywatch » Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:31 pm

Why Spit?

How about lite watch oil? I don't recommend spit because it is acidic and can attack the bright parts and steel parts unless you clean the parts right away.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby cannon pinion » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:00 pm

Spit because I licked my finger to pick up the jewel and it stuck good, so when the jewel was falling off the roller table, I thought : "Let me put some spit on it."
But next time I will try watch oil, because I have not been able to remove all the dried spit residue even after two runs thru the ultrasonic. I no longer have that brilliant shine on the roller table and I regret this.
Actually I'm hoping to find a roller jewel pliers or one of the specialized jewel setting tools I recall seeing in old catalogues from the 50s or maybe I will try to file a notch in a beat pair of tweezers. Then I won't have to resort to either spit or oil.
AVOID SPIT.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby Neilywatch » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:36 pm

Andy just take the balance and dip it in a small cup of clean Windex. Swish it around a bit then blow it dry. IT should be squeeky clean of spit. IF it is, then run the balance through the cleaning machine to drive out all the Windex fluid since it is mostly water.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby 4brokenow » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:33 pm

I like to use liquid shellac for setting roller jewels. I picked up a pint of Zinsser's at the Home depot (which is a life time supply). Use a needle to apply enough within the hole on the roller table to coat the insides. Take your roller jewel with the same needle that still has a bit of shellac on the end and touch the end of the jewel which causes the jewel to stick to the needle through the surface tension. Start it in the hole carefully and the shellac in the hole will pull it in. I put the roller table under a 100 watt lamp for about 15 seconds to set up the shellac partially. Make any corrections then put it back under the lamp for about another 30- 45 seconds to set it up hard.

Once the shellac is full set up you can clean off the jewel carefully with a new razor blade where you need to.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby cannon pinion » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:10 am

Thanks for the techniques, Neil and Phil. One question, tho - Windex has isopropyl alcohol in it - will that dissolve the shellac or is it just a question of getting it in and out quick? As to Zissner's, I have a can of it here for woodworking, but its old, so I'm going to get a new can dedicated to watch work.
That said, I went to turn the jewel, using a heated pliers, which quickly softened the shellac. But the jewel would not turn so the flat faced front. Many trials, jewel out and back in , and a closer look at the roller table revealed what I think the problem to be: square peg, round hole. Roller table hole is round, and the jewel is D shaped. I had mistaken the hole for a D shape, because there was some residual shellac in it after I removed the broken jewel.
Now I will look and see if I have any round jewels - or will order a couple and try again.
No spit this time, watch oil.
Glynn, you can close her up cuz I'm sure people are sick of looking at this thread.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby 4brokenow » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:04 pm

Andrew,

Just my two cents..

Shellac doesn't go bad in the can fast enough to worry about it unless it has turned into a rock. You should clean the hole in the table out carefully as it is surely round. The shellac blob stuck in there in this case is so old it won't probably soften again. It will crumble if you poke at it though. Not enough alcohol in Windex to do anything to the hardened shellac. Its generally important to get the flat face facing out so the jewel clears the corners of the fork slot. You could try it as is though for the heck of it. Like other adjustments of the lever escapement it may be forgiving especially if the jewel happens to be tilted back towards the staff a fraction

Try it with just a bit of tension on the main spring and see if the watch will run without hanging up.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby cannon pinion » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:38 pm

Thanks, Phil - the hole is round, the jewel is D shaped. I tried it with 2 different jewels and neither would turn with the flat to the lever fork. They hang up with the flat at an angle to the fork. It doesn't make sense to me, so I will give it another shot.
I've cleaned the hole out carefully with a pivot broach. If this attempt doesnt work, I will try a round jewel.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby Neilywatch » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:39 pm

Good luck finding a round roller - most replacement rollers are D shaped.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby Stephan » Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:05 am

I have done a few roller replacements and even made some steel rollers for rough movements when I didn't want to use up a ruby one.
Sounds rough but that is what all the dollar watches and some low end watches had in them from new and it works fine.

I know the "ping" sound well and went away from using regular tweezers.
For a while I used a tiny bit of brass rod with a blind hole up the end sized to suit the jewel.
Not perfect but avoids the "ping".

Then found a proper pair of jewel tweezers and they do make life a lot easier.

Went through the same learning and experimenting stage with melting the shellac.
For a while I used shellac dissolved in meths. It works but takes a while to harden.
Eventually got a proper tool to hold and heat the roller table and it makes life way easier.

I have some flake shellac but prefer the stick stuff now. I use a sharp blade to shave a bit off the end the size I need.
Put it in place and apply the heating tool.
Clean off any excess with a nice fine sharp scalpel.
Learning all the time.
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Re: Roller Jewels - A Late Night Diversion.

New postby cannon pinion » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:43 pm

Thanks Stephen. Take a look at Phil's post earlier in this thread. He uses liquid shellac. I tried it as an experiment and it's a much easier roat to travel.
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