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My watch workshop

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ProfessorGuy

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#1
I am taking 20 years out to build a pocketwatch. The first 6 years of the project involved building a workshop. I designed it, sunk every nail and screw, did the wiring (even dug the trench from the house to the shop for the underground feeder), and painted it... all with my own two hands. I'll admit, my dad helped one morning every week. This is what 6 years of my life looks like:
,
workshop10.jpg

Then I put my watchmaker's bench in the clean room (8' x 9') which is for assembly, inspection, timing and cleaning:

eastview7.jpg

I wanted everything painted white so I can find those little tiny watch parts that are sure to bounce around the rooms. The large windows (they go from 4 feet to 9 feet above the floor) are south-facing, a shop no-no in most parts of the country. Here, there are only 60 days of sun per year and our thick forest mitigates even those few so I wanted lots of natural light. The combination of sun and white walls can be blinding, so any part of the wall where sun can touch has been dulled with a matte dark blue paint. Notice even the window casements are dulled at the bottom and sides, the tops are still white since sun can't get there.

On the other side of that central pocket door is the 'dirty' room (12' x 9'). Manufacturing on the lathe and mill, and metal treatment (hardening, tempering, etc) is done on the main bench. Grinding and polishing is done on the white bench opposite. The big bench is a single white pine board more than 2 feet wide and more than 11 feet long. I bolted it through slots so it could move with the weather. A forgiving and pretty work surface.

fin2.jpg

Then I installed my tabletop lathe and mill (metric Sherlines), which are mounted onto white-painted plywood bases. Notice the base cutouts so I can get my big mitts on the lower handwheels. You can just see a bit of my little 2 gallon shop vac, which is my entire dust-collection/air-handling system, hanging on the wall under the lathe:

fin4.jpg

So far, I've built a necklace for my wife (to thank her for allowing household resources to go to the workshop) and my first brass mainplate and bridge. Next up, my first steel screw!
 

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Boswell

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#2
What a great shop. And what a great back-story for your watch.
 

Surprman

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#3
That is one neat workspace. I would live there :)
 

ortho

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#4
Very nice shop. I like the layout with lots of natural light.:))
---Joe
 

nightowl499

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#5
Very nice shop. I like the layout with lots of natural light.:))
---Joe
Great shop , now would love a picture or two of the things you do in it!
Gary
 

bpratl

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#6
Very nice design, inside and out, you did a great job in setting your shop up. Bob
 

CoopVA

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#7
Well done!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Aardvark

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#8
Very nice. How is your space working out now?
 

BGHansen

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#9
Very nice! Heating with electricity or seasonal use? Gonna be tough to keep focused on the work at the bench with the view you have out the windows!

Bruce
 

Smithdoor

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#10
Nice shop and great size

Dave
 

ProfessorGuy

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#11
Very nice. How is your space working out now?
The space has proven effective. So far, I've been able to perform all the actions I've needed to.

Here are some updated photos showing how the tools and storage has settled. First, the main bench, with lathe, mill, and vice:

usedshop1.jpg

usedshop2.jpg

On the other side of the manufacturing room is tooling and materials storage, and the grinding and polishing station. I use an old silverware chest for my files, buffing sticks and various stones and polishes. Also, a desk for calculation and sketching:

usedshop4.jpg

The clean room has my watchdesk under the windows:

usedshop3.jpg

The other side has my horology library, a cleaning station, and various current projects strewn about:

usedshop5.jpg

It's working!
 

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rrjohnso2000

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#12
Thanks for the tour!
 

ProfessorGuy

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#13
Some additional details you workshop geeks might enjoy:

I did the electric wiring myself--I even dug the 150' trench for the feed as well. The blue electric panel you can see in the last picture above is a subpanel of our house's main panel (hence the trench from the house). It has two 20A circuits, one for the front wall (includes the main bench), one for the back wall (polishing, timing, cleaning, etc). There's a separate 15A circuit for the overhead lights. If you trip a breaker with a tool at the bench, the lights do NOT go out. This is important!

There's heavy 8 gauge wire already in the walls from the shop panel (which has room for a 220V breaker) to 2 outlets in the manufacturing room: 1 on the main bench and one in the corner where any large equipment would go. There's no circuit breaker or outlets installed yet because I have no 220V equipment so why spend the money, but it's a simple trip to the hardware store to get some big outlets up and running.

I have a simple portable electric heater set to 50* which keeps it above freezing all winter. There's no plumbing, just portable water jugs and a dishpan, so I can let it freeze, but I use it often enough to justify keeping it at working temps (above 40).

The flooring is the most recent addition. It is very thick, heavy vinyl and the entire shop (both rooms) is a single piece. I had it professionally installed (about $4/sq.ft., $2 each for material & labor) because keeping it seamless was tricky. This was the only step of the workshop construction I didn't do with my own hands.
 

thomas s

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Great job on your shop. thomas s
 

kvt

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Nice shop. It looks like woods out side the windows.
 

TommyD

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#16
Nice and neat shop.
 

chips&more

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#17
Very nice space and I commend your enthusiasm!! To clean and oil a wrist or pocket watch does not need a room full of hand tools and machines. It can be done with a good screwdriver(s), tweezers, eye loupe, staking set and a few more misc stuff items. To truly “make” a pocket watch and I mean every part of it, requires some very elaborate and dedicated tooling/machinery. I do a lot of micro machining and have made many many watch parts. It’s not for everyone. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the proper equipment if one intends on making a watch from scratch. And the knowledge and finesse to carry out the dream …Good Luck, Dave.
 
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Ulma Doctor

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#18
great shop!
i can't fathom the intricacy it would take to construct a watch from scratch.
what an challenging undertaking it would be, nonetheless. :D
i can't wait to see the progression!
all the best
 

itsme_Bernie

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#19
All kidding aside, you are really inspiring me to get my shop into operation with room for guests
 

ProfessorGuy

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#20
To truly “make” a pocket watch and I mean every part of it, requires some very elaborate and dedicated tooling/machinery.... I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the proper equipment if one intends on making a watch from scratch.
I must disagree here. I think what you are saying is to make a watch to modern standards requires elaborate machinery.

Back in the 1700's, farmers would hole up in the workshop for the winter and crank out watches with only the crudest of tools--and certainly no mill. Of course, their watches were simple (usually verges) and had such poor timekeeping you were lucky to stay within 30 minutes per day. The materials used were not always ideal or long-lasting. And because of manufacturing irregularities, the watches were finicky and would stop at any provocation. All this would be completely unacceptable in a modern watch.

But it's fine with me!
 

chips&more

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I must disagree here. I think what you are saying is to make a watch to modern standards requires elaborate machinery.

Back in the 1700's, farmers would hole up in the workshop for the winter and crank out watches with only the crudest of tools--and certainly no mill. Of course, their watches were simple (usually verges) and had such poor timekeeping you were lucky to stay within 30 minutes per day. The materials used were not always ideal or long-lasting. And because of manufacturing irregularities, the watches were finicky and would stop at any provocation. All this would be completely unacceptable in a modern watch.

But it's fine with me!
The farmers back then when in the winter and could not grow food outside did indeed construct time pieces. But were clocks like Wags and was from a kit of parts made elsewhere. Even the Watchmakers back then did not make every part. The art of making watches back then was divided up into trades of experience. Each had a mastered talent/art. There were a few true Watchmakers back then that made the whole watch but not many. The horological time pieces made by our ancestors are truly works of art. I will never get tired of looking at the craftsmanship that was done back then. Sadly, it’s a lost art.


And I do have a few pocket watches from the 1700’s. It blows my mind that this kind of craftsmanship came from that period of time. All they had was candle light and a rock axe (kinda kidding)…True Masters!
 
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FOMOGO

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A beautiful space you have there. Makes me realize I could make do with a lot less space and equipment if I had just chose hobbies that involved smaller objects as the point of focus. Of course you understand you will have to add on considerable square footage when you start working on the clock tower pieces. :) Mike
 

Ulma Doctor

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#23
Don't ever underestimate the power of will and skill!
 

Chip Hacket

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#24
You have done a great job. Having built it all yourself I'm sure makes it all the more comfortable. Blue paint where the sun shines. Clever!

--Chip


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itsme_Bernie

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I must disagree here. I think what you are saying is to make a watch to modern standards requires elaborate machinery.

Back in the 1700's, farmers would hole up in the workshop for the winter and crank out watches with only the crudest of tools--and certainly no mill. Of course, their watches were simple (usually verges) and had such poor timekeeping you were lucky to stay within 30 minutes per day. The materials used were not always ideal or long-lasting. And because of manufacturing irregularities, the watches were finicky and would stop at any provocation. All this would be completely unacceptable in a modern watch.

But it's fine with me!
Very very very very intriguing Professor Guy! Hmmmmm

Bernie
 

ProfessorGuy

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#26
Even the Watchmakers back then did not make every part. The art of making watches back then was divided up into trades of experience. Each had a mastered talent/art.
Yes. I recognize that there were a series of traditional watchmaking trades which provided the specialty parts:

Hairspring
Jewels
Mainspring
Dial
Hands
Watchglass
and Case

Yes, you got me. I'll admit I did not really intend to build the parts on this list for a host of technical and practical reasons. The parts of a watch missing on the list above, what is traditionally called an "ebauche," that is what I am interested in.

But now that you've lauded the old masters, maybe I should reconsider. Perhaps I can grind my own jewels after all. And I thought a store-bought flat hairspring, but maybe a homemade blued-steel helix is called for. Hmmmm....
 

Ulma Doctor

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#27
I like your thinking!
 

TakeDeadAim

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#28
Looks like a very nice well thought out space. I would love to see some photos of your work. I love older watches, something about the mechanical aspects to keep time and the skill to build and repair them.
 

uncle harry

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Yes. I recognize that there were a series of traditional watchmaking trades which provided the specialty parts:

Hairspring
Jewels
Mainspring
Dial
Hands
Watchglass
and Case

Yes, you got me. I'll admit I did not really intend to build the parts on this list for a host of technical and practical reasons. The parts of a watch missing on the list above, what is traditionally called an "ebauche," that is what I am interested in.

But now that you've lauded the old masters, maybe I should reconsider. Perhaps I can grind my own jewels after all. And I thought a store-bought flat hairspring, but maybe a homemade blued-steel helix is called for. Hmmmm....
I used to call them "make or buy decisions"....gets the job finished in the best possible way (for me).
 

Tony Wells

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