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Sep 29

Fait Accompli – The Masters Degree is Done!

Amazing!  After a full year and a month we are finally complete with the job we came to do!

Last Friday a week ago, I turned in my thesis for the Master’s degree.  A whole bunch of work and it was fairly intense for the last month or so with the completion of testing and then much research as well as of course, the writing, oh yes, the writing.  The requirement was 10,000 words plus/minus 20%.  In the end I had 11,897 words and 71 pages.  Then there was the Appendices with another 3,868 words and another 98 pages.

Along with three copies of the paper we also had to turn in the evidence of practical work-in my case, it was all the mainsprings that I tested.

Along with three copies of the paper we also had to turn in the evidence of practical work-in my case, it was all the mainsprings that I tested.

It is a great relief to be done and I am very glad to have done it–I might even say it was fun, certainly enjoyable and fulfilling work.  And the time in England has been glorious–such an amazing adjunct to the work of learning.  We visited many places, made good friends, enjoyed the incredible countryside, and even got used to driving on the left side of the road.  The day after turn in day we took a nice hike up what they call Kingley Vale–a nice hill with a view of the surrounding countryside and a large grove of ancient yew trees–some as old as 2000 years.

Old yew trees at Kingley Vale.

Old yew trees at Kingley Vale.

We then went up to Reading to see my sister for the last time and enjoyed a lovely rowing trip at Henley-on-Thames the site of the first Cambridge vs Oxford rowing race in 1829.  That race has since been moved to elsewhere on the Thames but they still have a huge regatta there every year- the place is steeped in the rowing tradition.  It was a typically English overcast day but we just missed the rain by an hour and had a lovely picnic lunch.

The beautiful river Thames.

The beautiful river Thames.

Following Reading we went on a last trip to London.  We went to Greenwich observatory and the Royal Maritime Museum–yet another place full of history, in this case the history of timekeeping. Just in case you are wondering, the idea of going to Greenwich was Debbie’s not mine.  In the evening we attended the Michaelmas dinner of the Clockmakers’ Company–this is the guild of clockmakers that was established in London in 1631 to which I was invited last year at the same time.  Last year I had to attend without Debbie because she was still waiting for her visa to come through.  This year was so much better because she was able to enjoy it with me.

And now the task is packing up all our stuff and heading home.  Packing is never fun except for the anticipation of the end results–coming home!  Fortunately, we have found a direct flight from Gatwick to LAX making the trip to the airport from here much easier than leaving from Heathrow.  Just an hour’s ride on the train from Chichester and we are there.

The house is a mess but we are on our way soon.

The house is a mess but we are on our way soon.

As fun as it is to be coming home, we will miss this special place and the special friends that we have made.

see you in Santa Barbara,

 

Sep 04

Exactly 30 days left, well – when I wrote this it was Sept. 1st!

Hi All,

In exactly one month our feet will be leaving England and returning to Santa Barbara soil.  Not sure of what the next 30 days will be like, though our lists are long and I’m thinking this may end up being our last blog entry from Chichester.

Mostyn is ‘cranking’ (his words) on completing his 10,000 word thesis and though the pressure is on, he is confident that the finished product will pass muster.  DUH!  This summer term at West Dean has proven an excellent environment to research, study, and write.  There is only one other Masters horology student (Tabea our ‘adopted’ German daughter) so the ‘workshop’ has been quiet and access to Matthew’s (tutor) time easy. He is certain the timing of this year has been truly providential as next year the class will be at capacity and the ability to do what he has in one year will no longer be possible.  So we thank God once again for  confirming that our year here is all part of His plan for us and for Mostyn’s future career in clocks and conservation.

We had a whirlwind trip to Scotland last month.  Spent lovely time with my family in Dunoon and Dumfries and also visited the Isle of Arran a wonderfully unexpected treat made possible by dear friends the Archer’s (assistant clock tutor) vacationing there themselves.

Scotland was at it’s finest: warm weather, pristine blue sky, heather on the hills, wildlife in abundance, good food and fun with friends and family.  A delayed flight from Glasgow our only glitch.  The highlight of the trip was the Edinburgh Tattoo!  A bucket list item fulfulled for me thanks to cousins Gordon and Janet.  Once again my guts were stirred when 250 pipers entered the venue through the gates of Edinburgh Castle.  Anyone visiting Edinburgh in August must make it a priority to attend this 66 year old tradition.  It is beyond description.  Dancing, drumming, piping, fiddling, fireworks, precision drills with real guns and much more!!

Impressive!

It is hard not to be impressed by this many pipers in one place!

The weather has taken an autumnal turn.  Noticeably  chillier and more showers of late.  Will take it for now as we see it’s really hot and continues to be very dry in California. May even need to turn on the heater before we cast off!

Thes coast view from Selsey.

The coast view from Selsey.

We are preparing ourselves for the transition back to US life.  The repairs on the house were about to be completed when the renters found yet another leak upstairs just as the carpet was about to be replaced.  We do hope all is sorted and back in place so our adjustments to 601 is seamless.  Though we joke about not being able to find each other.  Our wee cottage here is quite compact compared to our home.  We were discussing the other day over a great pub lunch at the shore in Selsey, that we are returning to what we know, but we have changed, so we wonder how it will feel and will we ‘remain changed’ or fall right back into our previous routine?  Some things schedule wise will stay consistent i.e. my work schedule, child minding Ryan Lily on Tuesdays, and church on Sundays, etc.  But we do hope to keep things a bit simpler, time to enjoy things and people more and maintain a less stressful pace.  Will give it a try with one car, though have no idea yet what to buy??  Mostyn has decided to send home his trusty steed, the foldable Brompton bike and use that for alternate transportation when needed.  So those of you living in Santa Barbara may see him biking on his wee funky looking bicycle.

The bicycle has now traveled over 1000 miles.

The bicycle has now traveled over 1000 miles.

The most difficult part is still facing us.  Packing, but more difficult still is saying our goodbyes.  Knowing we may return briefly next summer helps, but ‘this home’ has greatly captured our hearts and we will truly miss all our dear friends here.

So that’s the news from here.  Looking forward to seeing friends and family soon!:)

Cheers,

Debbie

Aug 10

Bits and bobs, visitors, and one bummer

Dear Friends and Family,

I will start with the bummer, as the rest is all good news!!  We learned via our renters last month that there was a leak in our house in Santa Barbara that was coming from our bedroom/bathroom upstairs and made it’s way down through the floor to the garage.  Long story short we have had to call in help from our dear son Nathaniel and QuikResponse to deal with the damage and get insurance involved as the damage is extensive due to the leak not being spotted soon enough.  So we are dishing out lots of money and trusting that the work is being done properly and efficiently all while being thousands of miles away.  Enough said about that!

The time is fast approaching when we will be packing our things here in beloved Chichester and flying back to the States.  At this time it is hard to call Santa Barbara home as we have so loved and appreciated our sojourn here that home feels here for the present.  I know we will make the transition back to feeling at home in Santa Barbara, but it will take TIME!  The very reason we came here, for Mostyn to study clocks, which he has done and excelled at, I might add. Mostyn did share in last blog post about graduation and his awards, so suffice it say I am one proud wifey!:)  We will likely return next July when his Master’s degree will be awarded.

It has been fun to receive some visitors recently.  Friends we’ve known for over 30 years, Kurt and Debi Winrich, came down for the day from a business trip in London. We so appreciated their effort to see how we are living life here and making a memory together for future remembrance.  Mostyn’s brother Norm, wife Donna, and youngest, Anna came to stay for a few days after holiday making in Wales with sister Nancy and brother in law Peter.  We toured the usual haunts here, which included Evensong at Chichester Cathedral, a day at the Weald and Downland Museum, in addition to charity shop shopping, of which there are tons here!

This past week we have had our dear friends Tim and Debi Harold visiting from Newport Beach, and yes they are also Heather’s in laws.  We both feel so blessed that over the last 15 years of our kids relationship we have become very close friends, so it was a real treat that they made the trip to visit us here.  We filled their time with all our favorite places to see and eat and then spent three fun packed busy days in London before transporting them to a lovely equestrian resort in Hampshire, where they will conclude their trip.

Tim & Debi enjoying London from the top of the double-decker bus.

Tim & Debi enjoying London from the top of the double-decker bus.

We enjoyed a lovely B&B on the river Thames.

We enjoyed a lovely B&B on the river Thames.

During the recent visit to London I was reminded again of how accustomed we have become to negotiating  what they call ‘town’.  There was a tube strike so we had to find alternative modes of transport. We had secured a lovely holiday let in Putney on the Thames, but a significant distance from central London. So trains, taxis, tour buses and feet were used, with ease. The train and tube the following day however were the busiest and most crowded we had ever seen.  One must wear plenty of deodorant on those days for the good of all!!  What most impressed me this trip however was Mostyn’s driving.  We wanted to visit Abbey Road for Tim, a huge Beatle’s fan, which required driving right through the city. You would have thought he was a London cabbie.  Well done Mostyn.

Tim & Debi walk the black and whites at Abbey Road.

Tim & Debi walk the black and whites at Abbey Road.

Three things that I most enjoyed as tourists in ‘town’ this trip were the changing of the Queen’s Horse Guard at Whitehall, the Sky Garden on the top floor (35th) of the Walkie-Talkie building (nicknamed for shape) with a 360 degree view of London, and the tour guides information while touring the Tower of London.  I was very touched emotionally by the Crown Jewels, not for the jewels themselves, though incredibly beautiful, but for their religious significance.  What I had missed on a previous visit was how much the royalty of present and past, are well aware of the role God plays in assisting their ruling of the country.  The church has always been an integral part in all significant events regarding the royals.  I can’t explain well in words, but when moved to my core by something like those priceless jewels and the meaning behind the use of each piece, I cry.  Certainly not the typical tourist response to the Crown Jewels, but likely just another indication that I have bonded with this nation and will greatly miss all we have learned to love here.  FYI for any wanting to visit the Tower the best advise we received was to go directly to the Jewels first thing in the morning, arriving at opening time.  Tim and Debi went back 4 times to view them, it was so not crowded at that time!  Later in the day a very different story with queues like Disneyland.

Unbelievable views from the Skygarden atop the Walkie-talkie building.

Unbelievable views from the Skygarden atop the Walkie-talkie building.

The changing of the horse guards at Whitehall.

The changing of the horse guards at Whitehall.

So for the next 51 days we will be enjoying all things English and preparing our hearts to leave a place we have come to love dearly.

Love and best wishes to all,

Debbie

P.S.  Mostyn apologizes for not doing more blogging about his clock stuff but he has been too busy — 4,000 words down, 6,000 more to go.

Of course we had to go by Big Ben.  We look forward to seeing you soon.

Of course we had to go by Big Ben. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Jul 12

Graduation … not really … sort of

Hi again,

This last week has been busy but not with the usual things in the workshop.  For all the students, except those of us who are in the Master’s degree program, this was the last week of the year.  We spent several days preparing the workshops for visitors–cleaning up and putting out our work for all to see.  Then Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we had visitors in the workshops to see all the interesting work that people have done this year.

There was an awards day on Wednesday for all the students who had won special awards.  I was surprised by winning the Geoffrey Moss prize for making the greatest contribution to the clocks programme over the year.  The award was given by the British Antique Dealers Association.

Saturday was the normal graduation day.  Even though I have not finished my Masters work, I was still awarded a Post-graduate degree for the work that I have completed so far.  The post-graduate degree is sort of like a Bachelor’s degree.  I guess that if I fail my Masters work somehow, I will at least come home with something.

Now the hard work continues for another 10 weeks.  Plenty of testing, research, and writing to go.  Next July, I will come back to get my Masters degree certificate.

cheers,

The Graduation Marquee on the front lawn.

The Graduation Marquee on the front lawn.

There is a sense of accomplishment even though we are not quite done yet.

There is a sense of accomplishment even though we are not quite done yet.

 

GM Prize

PG Diploma

Jul 02

Survey has been repaired

My apologies to everyone that has tried to take my survey and found that they could not submit it.  I have corrected the problem (I think) so it should be good now.

Please give it another try – thanks,

Mostyn

Jul 01

Clock Practices Survey

Thank you for coming to my survey page –

As part of my Master’s Degree research at West Dean College I am doing a very limited investigation of knowledge, opinion, and practice regarding repair, restoration, and conservation procedures for clocks.

If you are involved with horology and clocks and would like to help me with my research just click the link below.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1qI2WmDtt84fhi_9b5d60EJ7TQfXwUrHXjBYDqTNbItk/viewform

 

THANK YOU!

If you know anyone else who might be interested in helping me with my research, please feel free to forward the link above to them or send them this blog page, http://saving-time.org/clock-practices-survey/

Cheers,

Mostyn

Jun 21

How to make a Desk Tidy

Hi Friends,

It has been a very long time since I have posted but I hope that you can appreciate how busy things have been and cut me some slack for that.  In addition to having our kids here for a month–which Debbie described for you in the last post–I have had a 4000 word essay, two presentations, research, testing and a lot of bench work to do.  It has been extremely busy but fun all the same.

In addition to learning about clock work, we are privileged to learn some of the related skills.  In the last month we have had two, two-day classes on gilding and engraving.  These are very fun and worthwhile classes taught by world experts.  During the engraving class we learned many other little things as well just “on the side”.  One of the extras was how to make a “desk tidy.”  This word, Desk Tidy, is both a noun and a description of what the item does for you, it makes your desk tidy!  So get a blank piece of paper and here we go –

First, lightly fold the paper in half in both directions and then open it back up again.  These are just creases to help guide future folds, so don’t crease them very hard.

Fold the paper in half both ways.

Fold the paper in half both ways.

Next, fold the left and right ends into the middle.  These are final folds so give them a good crease.

Fold the left and right ends in to the middle.

Fold the left and right ends into the middle.

Now, fold the top and bottom into the middle.  Give them a good crease as well.

Fold the Bottom and top to the middle.  Give them a good crease.

Fold the Bottom and top into the middle. Give them a good crease.

Next, open the top and bottom and fold the corners in.

Fold the corners in like this.

Fold the corners in like this.

Here's what it should look like with all four corners folded.

Here’s what it should look like with all four corners folded.

Now, take the center flaps and fold them back over the corners.  Give these a good crease.

Fold the center flaps over the corners.

Fold the center flaps over the corners.

Finally, (almost there) pull those center folds up and out to the sides.  You should start to see your box take shape.

Pull the center flaps up and out to the side.

Pull the center flaps up and out to the side.

Keep pulling these and shaping the box–you’ll have to crease the corners.  Give some extra creases to get it to form nicely and – there’s your desk tidy!  Now put all that junk that you have laying on your desk into the box and keep your desk tidy!

Keep your desk tidy!

Keep your desk tidy!

Next time, I will get you up to speed on my clock project.

cheers,

Jun 14

Post Family Visit Thoughts and Recap

Well the kids have come and gone and many tears were shed with the goodbyes.  Many sweet and wonderful memories were made, lots of photos taken to remember those cherished times and the days flew by way too fast.

I think it is safe to say that they all fell madly in love with England and all things British.  From tea time to long ambling walks through sheep filled pastures and treasures unexpected, like making friends on the zipline at our favorite Priory Park, a block from us.  Orchard Barn, the fabulous holiday let the kids rented in Up Marden, was a haven for us all, complete with a fully stocked huge kitchen dining area, 4 bedrooms all en suite and a totally fenced safe yard with ‘sheepies’ on the other side of the fence.  There were a few rainy days and they were happily spent at the barn playing with the many borrowed toys that our friends lent us.  We are so grateful for that perfect house and all its amenities.  We even had an American style barbecue for 20 friends there without feeling crowded!

Bluebells growing wild among the trees.

Bluebells growing wild among the trees.

Nathaniel hides in the rafters of the Orchard Barn.

Nathaniel hides in the rafters of the Orchard Barn.

Owen loved the zip line and Heather relied on her teacher skills to make sure everyone was happy.

Owen loved the zip line at Priory Park and Heather relied on her teacher skills to make sure everyone was happy.

Owne rides daddy's shoulders during a casual walk in the fields near the Orchard Barn.

Owen rides daddy’s shoulders during a casual walk in the fields near the Orchard Barn.

After Nathaniel and Hilary went home, it was quite a different experience having Tim and Heather and their kids here at our wee flat in Chichester.  There was hardly a square inch of floor space unoccupied, but we made it work and though cozy, it was memorable!  My biggest concern was our steep narrow stairs and Faye falling.  We had a secure baby gate and she seemed to intuitively glean the danger and we had no mishaps, thankfully.

Some of the places and things we were able to do included: Two National Trust properties, Claremont Landscape Gardens and Petworth House.  We caught crabs at the beach on a blustery day at West Wittering, threw rocks at Bracklesham Bay, took a canal boat in the Chichester Canal, visited Arundel Castle, spent hours on the playground at Priory Park and Stansted Park, visited West Dean and the Gardens and tea room many times and ‘did’ London for a day, took a steam train ride in Alton and ate in many good pubs.

Eating together at a local pub.

Eating together at a local pub.

The guys did a motorcycle trip to Wales and Tim and Heather spent 4 days in Spain alone together, celebrating 11 years of marriage.  Owen turned 5, Mostyn turned 63, the girls and I had a spa day to celebrate Mother’s Day and we spent time with extended family and some of our friends too.  Though it was not a chill relaxing vacation, it was certainly full of many good times.  There were challenges too, but thankfully they were discussed and worked through to resolution and we all moved on to enjoy many hours of precious family time and deeper connection.

Getting together with the cousins from Reading.

Getting together with Tim (and Ali, Jessica, & Hew), the cousin from Reading.

Now for the last innings of our time in Chichester.  Mostyn is extremely busy with school.  He worked ahead on his Masters work and was able to join us for a few days out and evenings for dinner and family time.  But now its nose to the grindstone and intentional planning to finish all the writing and course work required before graduation in July, then all summer honing and completing the thesis for the Master’s degree.

We are also looking forward to visits from friends from California, Mostyn’s brother and family from Austria, and Tim’s parents in August. It will be fun to show them around here and then spend a few days together in London exploring, to include a Let It Be concert.

I will continue with my Knit and Natter group, the ladies have all been so sweet to me, and expressed delight when I returned this week.  I will miss them when we leave.  The Women’s Bible study will continue till mid July, then will break for the summer.  I may get a few weeks with them again in September, but they too will be greatly missed as women who have embraced me completely and whole-heartedly.

We are looking forward to getting back to our routine at home, not because we want to leave England, but we are excited to see where the fruits of this year will lead us and what the future hold for us next on our journey.

Enough nattering from me,

Best to all of you,

Debbie

May 08

Family reunion in 5 days!!!:)

Greetings Friends,
Thought I’d better jot down a few thoughts before I am totally absorbed and delighted to be hosting all our kids and grandkids here for the next month!:) We have not seen them except on FaceTime for 7 months. I have great empathy now for grandparents who have kids living so far away that annual visits are all that is possible. It is just wrenching to be apart so long. I know I will be a blubbering idiot the first few days they are here and again when they leave. We have some really fun things planned as well as plenty of time to just relax and be together. You will hear all about it after they leave! Mostyn will need to continue with his course, joining us as time permits and for weekend outings. He has been diligently writing, trying to get ahead on assignments for his master class, so that he won’t stress out thinking about it whilst they are here. I am so proud of him. This is no slouchy course he is undertaking and adding the acquisition and writing of a Master’s thesis on top of it, is extremely daunting. He is handling it like a pro and maintaining a positive attitude, though bone tired most nights. He is also continuing to ride his bike to school and back daily, a 35 minute ride each way. Not bad for a 63 year old, two time cancer survivor!

Lots of little lambs in the fields along the bike trail these days,

Lots of little lambs in the fields along the bike trail these days,

The little ones are sticking pretty close to "home" but learning to get around on their own as well.

The little ones are sticking pretty close to “home” but learning to get around on their own as well.

Our three week spring break vacation seems like ages ago now. I developed a really nasty respiratory infection during the first week, and am just now regaining strength and have finally stopped coughing till my ribs ache. Mostyn recapped the first 2 weeks already. The first to Vienna, the second to Bath, so I will recap the third week in Spain.  Because of my bug and nasty weather our time there the first few days was not ideal. The small village where we booked a vacation rental in San Jose, was quaint, but since it was off season, it was very sleepy. We did a lot of relaxing in the house, reading and watching the rain and wind, and watching Netflix. We ventured out trying to find places to eat, and had a couple good meals of fresh fish, but one night ended up with bread and cheese for dinner from a bakery.

Sunrise from our holiday let in San Jose.  It was a beautiful, sleepy little town at this time of year.

Sunrise from our holiday let in San Jose. It was a beautiful, sleepy little town at this time of year.

In contrast our time in Malaga with our nephew Dan Pringle and his family was perfect. They were fabulous hosts and the weather cooperated, so I actually got my feet in the Med, as well as seeing some of the sights in and around Malaga.

Debbie said the water wasn't too cold.  It has been many years since we gout our feet wet in the Mediterranean,

Debbie said the water wasn’t too cold. It has been many years since we gout our feet wet in the Mediterranean,

Though I appreciate very much the privilege we have had to travel and enjoy new experiences and cultures, the best part for me has been time spent with our family in Vienna and Malaga. Nothing compares to re-uniting after many years with those you love and re-kindling the connection and making memories to tide you over till you meet again. So, many thanks and much love to the Heinrichs-Gale’s, Schodterer’s, and Pringles for making time for us, feeding us, and welcoming us so warmly.
Reality hit upon return to Chichester and transitioning back to a normal schedule took a full week. Because I was down with the URI, most of my time was spent resting, though chomping at the bit wanting to prepare for the kids visit. Thankfully our church friends have been overwhelmingly helpful and our wee cottage is bursting with borrowed cots, toys, baby gates, and highchairs. This week I have spent cooking, planning, and shopping. I will end the week cleaning and resting up some more, so I can chase my grandchildren through the bluebells and baby lambs!!:)

The bluebells seemed to go on forever!

The bluebells seemed to go on among the trees forever!

Bluebell CloseWe have booked flights home for October 1st. I found a good deal through Norwegian Air from Gatwick direct to LAX which was too good to pass up. The nominal plan is to head south to OC, look to buy a car and then head home to Santa Barbara probably around the 5th. I have patients scheduled in November so reality will hit again for me then!
Still lovin life here, but also very happy to think about seeing all of you again in a few short months.
Best,
Debbie

Apr 15

Verge Re-conversion Part 4

In Part 2 of my blog about this project, “What’s a Potence?“, I described making some of the important supporting parts for the wheels.  In this blog I have completed two of the wheels to the point that I can put them in the clock and test to makes sure they are going to work correctly.  This clock has a center wheel, a second wheel, known as a contrate wheel, and an escape wheel, known as a crown wheel.

The center wheel needed a new pivot, that I described in a previous blog, A Precision Operation, it also needed a new wheel because the reconversion needed a wheel with different number of teeth and a somewhat different shape–that I described in Part 3, Making a Center Wheel.

The contrate wheel is so named because the teeth point sideways instead of radially outwards as they do on a normal wheel.  For this wheel I had to make every part; the arbor which contains the pinion and the wheel.

Align the pinion cutter by cutting a slot in the top of a brass cone.  Then turn the cone 180 degrees and cut again.  If the slots line up perfectly, you are ready to cut the pinion leaves in steel.

Align the pinion cutter by cutting a slot in the top of a brass cone. Then turn the cone 180 degrees and cut again. If the slots line up perfectly, you are ready to cut the pinion leaves in steel.

Here's the brass cone from the end.  The slots line up pretty well but perhaps not good enough in this case.

Here’s the brass cone from the end. The slots line up pretty well but perhaps not good enough in this case.

To make a pinion you first take a blank piece of steel rod and cut it to the diameter of the finished pinion.  Then there is a careful alignment step where you make sure that the pinion cutter is exactly at the top center of the steel rod.  Having that aligned, you can cut the pinion teeth, or leaves as they are correctly called.

The finished pinion - well not quite finished, it will still need to be polished but it is finished enough to test.

The finished pinion – well not quite finished, it will still need to be polished but it is finished enough to test.

After cutting the pinion, the next step is to check and make sure that it mates correctly with the wheel that drives it.  In this case the center wheel drives the pinion of the contrate wheel.  The best tool for this is something called a depthing tool.  You could put the wheels between the clock plates but many times the holes in the plates are either too large (sloppy) or in the wrong place (improper depthing).  The depthing tool allows you to adjust the distance between the two arbors very precisely so that you can find the best distance apart. When I did this I found that the wheel turned nicley in one direction but not the other and of course it was the direction I needed it to turn that didn’t work out so well.  So I went to work with a stone taking very small amounts of metal off the leaves in order to reshape them.  Apparently, what happened is that when I cut the pinion leaves they were not exactly in the top center of the steel rod.  Those slots in the brass cone were not exactly lined up–this is very hard to get exact.  After about three hours of stoning and checking I got it perfect.  This operation is made more difficult because the pieces are small–the pinion is about 1/4 inch in diameter and the teeth are about 1 mm wide. (By the way, I have gotten really good as switching back and forth between mm and inches).

The contrate arbor and the center wheel in the depthing tool

The contrate arbor and the center wheel in the depthing tool.

Finally the depthing and tooth shape are just right.

Finally the depthing and tooth shape are just right.

After feeling good about how the center wheel mates with the contrate pinion, the next step is to make and mount a collet; that’s a holder for the wheel.  The collet is made from cast brass because that is what would have been used when this clock was originally made.  I turned a collet to rough size and drilled a hole in the middle to fit the arbor.  Then, after checking my drawing to determine the location of the collet on the arbor, I soft soldered the collet in place.  One of the tricks with these collets is to leave them a big large at first, then you can turn them down to correct size once you get them on the arbor.  They have to hold the wheel in exactly concentric position and the only way to do that is to turn them after they are soldered in place.

The contrate wheel with the collet solder in place.

The contrate wheel with the collet soldered in place.  Looks a little messy here but no worries, it will all get cleaned up.

In this photos you can see that i have hammered around the edges of the cast brass because they are thicker than the middle.  I also hammered on the faces of the piece around the edges both sides.

In this photos you can see that I have hammered around the edges of the cast brass because they are thicker than the middle. I also hammered on the faces of the piece around the edges both sides.

Face it off both sides.

Face it off both sides.

After getting the collet in place, it is time to start turning it down to fit the wheel.   But first let’s take a step back and look at the wheel making process.  Start with a piece of cast brass that is hammered hard.  That does not mean hammered with a lot of strength, it means hammered (sort of lightly) until the brass itself gets harder.

The next step is to cut it to the exact diameter that you want, then hollow out the middle, cut the teeth and finally finish hollowing out the middle.

Cut the disc to diameter and hollow out the middle.

Cut the disc to diameter and hollow out the middle.

Cut the teeth.  Sorry I don't have a photo of this operation.

Cut the teeth. Sorry I don’t have a photo of this operation.

Hollow out the rest of the middle.  This is not the finished wheel at this point but it is enough to allow me to put it on the collet and test it.

Hollow out the rest of the middle. This is not the finished wheel at this point but it is enough to allow me to put it on the collet and test it.

Here are all three parts of the wheel ready to go together.

Here are all three parts of the wheel ready to go together.

Now start cutting down the collet to fit the wheel on.  This is done carefully so that the wheel fits tightly on the collet.  That way you can both test the wheel in position before riveting it in place and you also ensure that it will remain tight and secure after riveting.  First, make a cone on the end of the collet until the wheel just fits on.  That way you have a good visual gauge for the proper size.  Then, start making the cone more and more like a column allowing the wheel to fit closer and closer to the seat that it has to mount against.

The contrate wheel sliding onto the collet with a finger tight fit.

The contrate wheel just fitting onto the collet. Now I’ll start making that cone more like a cylinder so that the wheel slips further and further down.

Now the wheel is almost sitting down tight.

Now the wheel is almost sitting down tight.

It takes several tries of fitting the wheel then taking off a tiny bit more of the collet until you get this just right.  Finally it fits on completely but still snuggly to the collet–that’s where you want it.  Now you can try it in position to see how it mates with the next wheel up the train.

So put the wheels in the plates and check it out.

The contrate wheel meshes properly with the pinion of the crown wheel.

The contrate wheel meshes properly with the pinion of the crown wheel.

This worked out very well–the contrate wheel was just a bit too close to the crown wheel pinion–better too close than too far away.  As my tutor says it is easier to take brass off but hard to put it back on.  So now I was able to take off about a half mm from the collet and that put the contrate wheel in the perfect position.

In this view, you can see the center wheel meshing with the contrate wheel which meshes with the crown wheel pinion.

In this view, you can see the center wheel (bottom one) meshing with the contrate wheel which meshes with the crown wheel pinion.

Here's another view from the top.

Here’s another view from the top.

Now I have checked out two wheels and their mating pinions–time to move on to the next items in the train–that’s the crown wheel, the verge and the back-cock that holds the verge in position.

cheers,

 

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