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From The American Horologist and Jeweler magazine, April, 1942


]S: - 1 have been a subscriber to the American Horologist for several years and enjoy reading questions and Answers. Here is one I have not seen answered yet: I sometimes find a cannon pinion that is tight all the way down; until it just gets to place then it is loose. Please advise how to remedy this trouble. 


Ans: - The illustration shows a center arbor with a groove, or relief. As you state the cannon pinion goes down tight part way and then becomes loose when finally seated. If is it a cannon pinion that is not slitted for tongue tension, you will have to insert a brass wire into cannon pinion, laying the cannon pinion on small V-block and with center punch, create a bulge inside the pinion high enough so it just goes over the edge of recess in center arbor. In other words, the bulge, or tongue in cannon pinion tube must come down just below the slanted, or tapered groove of center pinion. If this does not remedy your trouble, I would advise procuring a new center arbor. The illustration shows, one side of the cannon pinion Fig No.1, where the bulge of the cannon pinion rides free in the recess and Fig. No. 2 where the bulge in cannon pinion rides below the edge of groove of center arbor. The February issue of American Horologist also. deals with this subject.

FS: - Occasionally I want to remove engraving from inside of rings, also from top of signet rings. How can I do this easily and quickly?

Ans: - For removing engraving from the inside of rings, first use half round file to cut dawn the engraving. Then use round ring buff or emery stick in lathe to smooth off file marks. Follow this up with a felt buff charged with rouge.

Far facing off signet, make a wooden wheel about 4" in diameter and 1/2 to 3/4" thick. One that will fit the arbor of your polishing lathe. Charge one side of wheel with tripoli, the other side with rouge. File out engraving from signet ring, press signet ring against side of lap that is charged with tripoli. This operation will remove the file marks and leave the surface flat, when you can finish the job by polishing the surface of the ring an the apposite side of lap which is charged with rouge. Use a moderate speed in polishing which will bring excellent results. Where a quantity of rings is to be faced, a lead lap is used.

RW: - 1 have a fine French clack with an Onyx case. The onyx is very dirty and somewhat discolored. Can you tell me how I can clean and restore the onyx to. its original appearance?

Ans: - Make a paste of plaster of paris and benzene. Apply a coating of this aver the surface of the onyx. As the benzene evaporates, the grease and dirt will be drawn into the plaster of paris, which is then rubbed off. If there is considerable grease in the onyx, the process may have to be repeated. To polish the case, dissolve beeswax in benzene. Apply and polish vigorously, using a flannel cloth.

WO: - At a meeting, one of the speakers referred to a "Clock Watch."' Is this a trade term for some special timepiece?

Ans: - The term "clock watch" takes its name from similarity of construction to our common alarm clock. That is, the clock, which is non-jewelled and in many cases, has lantern pinions, and the balance unit is supported by a balance arbor with cone pivots running in hollow steel screws.
We might say a "clock watch" is a clock reduced to pocket size.

PL: - A friend of mine has an antique verge watch, key wind, chain drive. He says it has a Shagreen case. Please tell what a Shagreen case is made of?

Ans: - Shagreen is a leather made from skin of sharks. By wetting the leather, it becomes soft and pliable and was used to cover the outside of watch cases and many other articles. It was dyed in various colors, watch cases were usually covered with dark brown, dark green or black leather. 

HA: - I recently made a trade and secured an old American Clock, something I have always wished for. After setting it up to run, it continually gains time. I have lengthened the pendulum to the limit, added weight to pendulum, but to no avail, it still gains time. Can you suggest what I can do to make this clock keep time?

Ans: - In building wooden clocks, the wheels were pressed and glued fast to the arbor. Some of the wheels were merely pressed into place without glue and with age, they sometimes work loose. If you will examine each wheel, it is very likely you will find one or more of the wheels loose on their arbors. Sometimes, we have found the small pin that holds the escape wheel fast to it's arbor, has fallen out, allowing the escape wheel to slip. This should solve your problem.

PD: - The watchmaker who held the place before I came here, held the position for some 25 years and he I evidently never threw away a thing. He left a lot of worn out files, drills, broken punches, etc. Is there anything I can do with them. 

Ans: - There is. Broken gravers, too short for turning may be just right for engraving, carving, chasing or stone setting, by slightly altering their shape. The files may be softened by heating red hot and allowing them to cool off slowly by burying them in ashes. You will then have the finest steel for making springs and various other parts of the watch or pallets for clocks or other clock work. Broken punches may be softened by heating to dull reel. When cooled, they may be redrilled, hardened and tempered to a dark straw.

No doubt many of your drills could be resharpened and used, or they could be annealed to a rich blue color and used for turning staffs. The old man saved them because he knew all this and of the value to use the old files, punches, etc., for other purposes, where they would again be useful.



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