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Clock Depthing Tool Plans and Advice?

Discussion in 'CLOCKS & HOROLOGY' started by craynerd, May 27, 2014.

  1. craynerd

    craynerd United Kingdom Iron Registered Member

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    Hi guys
    Before I start, NO PICTURES ON THIS FIRST POST ARE MY OWN - they are from the net for reference only. I`ve been collecting pictures for years - if I can reference, I will do. I am posting for inspiration and ideas.
    For many years I have wanted a clock wheel depthing tool. I expect being in this forum most will know but just incase, this tool allows you to correctly distance a wheel and pinion and then scribe the correct distance onto the frame.
    This is commercial clock depthing tool:
    dept1a.jpg
    The runners sticking out of the end are then used to scribe a line to correct depth by turning the device vertical:
    Depth_check.jpg
    A cheap simple depthing tool can be made by plans described in several books I own, specifically by John Wilding and Colin Thorne. This is good for the majority of jobs, but at 30 years old, I`d like to keep this for a good time and would like to invest more time in to making a more traditional and more versatile tool.
    From Dean and Deans Photographica:
    23depthingplate.jpg

    There are loads and loads of homebrew depthing tools on the internet. My issue is that they rarely describe the machining process to ensure they maintain parallelism between the two split runners. Also, I`m not clear how the hinge is made or designed to ensure the two parts are held firmly without wobble but lose enough to be moved. I also don`t know how the spring is being applied to force the two halves together!!
    Taking madmodding to the limits, here is a Perspex tool with elastic band as the spring. Made by John Prevatte:
    dt7.JPG
    And another, this one made from a door hinge by Jay Fortner:
    dt9.JPG
    This homemade design, unfortunately I don`t know the maker, has a slightly different clamp down top, rather than the V groove style holder for the runners:
    dt2.JPG
    Aluminium body, again I don`t know the maker but has a more homemade feel about it - no idea how it being sprung
    dt6.JPG
    This is smart spring method - I can clearly see how this is working but would you need to have a spring on each side to ensure even pressure is put on both sides otherswise the frame could twist, depending on the rigidy of the hinge:
    dt5.JPG
    Lots of food for thought! If you have any ideas or suggestions as to how to make one, I`d appreciate your input. The key is getting the runners parallel and a solid hinge between the two parts but allowing you to fine adjust the two.
    I believe there is a full article: MEW no 8 Dec 91 jan 92 - if anyone has a copy of this article, I`d be really grateful!
    I look forward to replies.
    Chris
    [/quote]
     
  2. Marco Bernardini

    Marco Bernardini Active User Active Member

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    How much space do you need between the supports of every axis?
    Generally clock wheels are not very thick, and a short tool would be less prone to torsion.
     
  3. atlas ten

    atlas ten Canada Active Member Active Member

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    Have you checked youtube? I recently seen video making whole tool. Check out clickspring.
    Jack

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
     
  4. omni_dilletante

    omni_dilletante somewhat active H-M Supporter-Premium

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    The hinge appears to be a ground and polished rod sitting in a groove. The rods holding the gears are also sitting in grooves.

    Parallelism is maintained by cutting the hinge and gear holding grooves in parallel in a single setup.

    A spring is used to hold the plates in contact with the hinge pin.

    It looks like an elegantly simple tool. So long as the rods are straight and the grooves parallel everything should work.

    I have a project in the queue that uses gears and plan on making a pinion head depthing tool similar to the third picture. This link is to the first of a three part Clickspring Video showing how to build one.
     
  5. Jcl

    Jcl United States Iron Registered Member

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    Depthing tool images


    Cranerd, the sixth Depthing tool from the top of your page of illustrations is my depthing tool. At some point I must have posted a picture of it on the internet. I did not make it. It was made by the now very late Ernest Taylor, a watch and clock maker in Waltham, Mass. I think he made it around 1930, or earlier. He was a close friend of W. H. Nichols, who founded the Nichols Machine Co., makers of the Nichols Milling Machine, among numerous other things. They worked together on a number of projects, and I suspect that Mr. Nichols helped Ernest make the depthing tool. Its fabrication requires a milling machine, and Ernest did not have one in his shop, at least when I knew him in the 50’s.


    Ernest Taylor died around 1963 at the age of 96. His last four years were spent confined to his room, and I used to visit him every two or three weeks. We discussed horology at length. His remaining prized possessions were in his closet. He pulled out his sectoring tool (proportional gauge), which he had made, and asked me to explain its use. I did to his satisfaction. He said, “But there is an easier way to plant wheels.” He then dug out his depthing tool and said, “You should have this.” It still sits at the back of my clock bench even though most of the tools in my shop are kept in drawers or cabinets: a reminder of his kindness, and my youth.


    I have forgotten when I added the sector that can be used to lock the depthing tool. I used the tool one time and realized that it was possible to spring the frame while using it. For that reason I determined that the “business end” of the tool should be locked when it is marking clock plates. Incidentally, the runners are actually resting in ‘V” grooves milled into the tops of the main frames of the tool, thus below the caps that clamp the runners.


    Some time beginning around 1960 I wrote a lengthy series of articles published in the NAWCC Bulletin on aspects of clock repair. I was still in my 20’s and very full of myself. There were about a dozen articles, and in my dotage I have to admit they were written in a very pompous manner. There is a three part series on making a copy of the depthing tool shown on your page. Cocky as it was, a number of people made depthing tools from my instruction. I believe the article is on line from the NAWCC webpage. I don’t have a link to it, but I will look for it if there is any interest, and readers can’t find it.


    Several people made depthing tools based on Ernest Taylor’s design, but they simplified the procedure by putting the V groove on the side of the frames instead of the top. The fact is, that the “Taylor” depthing tool is based on the French design found in Diderot’s Encyclopedia. Ernest Taylor spoke and read French, and had studied French horology for reasons that make a long and different story about an intellectually curious man. If you can’t tell, he is one of my modern heroes.


    John Losch, sometimes found on the internet as Jcl
     
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  6. craynerd

    craynerd United Kingdom Iron Registered Member

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    JCl, great post, I appreciate your reply and interesting story. I wish I had someone like that to talk to about watch and clockmaking!

    Chris
     
  7. craynerd

    craynerd United Kingdom Iron Registered Member

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    Well it may very well have been 2014 when I created this thread and I`ve been moving forward at a snail pace as well as moving house, jobs and many other things! Anyway, finally its been made. The concept works and the project is finally finished.
    Thanks to everyone who chipped in on here. Appreciate the video may not be to everyone's taste but I enjoy putting them together and each to their own. Certainly shows the build and final product!

     

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