Sunday, 18 September 2016

Stakes, Staking Tools & Jewel Setting Tools.

A modern Staking Tool and a modest selection of
Punches and Stakes by premium Swiss maker
Bergeon, £420 from Cousinsuk.com 
A stake in watchmaking (and jewellery) is a form of anvil used with a punch for riveting and other operations, simple ones are held in a vice and the punch, which is hand held, is hit with a hammer or pressed down by hand. Whilst a number of things can be done this way it was literally rather hit and miss on delicate jobs, especially when the stake, work (usually in 2 pieces) and punch has to be perfectly aligned.

To make things easier a device known as a “Staking Tool” was developed, this included a mount for the stake and an accurately machined tube for the punch aligned above it.

A hammer or the hand are still generally used to perform the required operation but more precise positioning is possible.
These are still made and with a comprehensive set of punches retails for between about £200 (Indian made) and £800 (Swiss made).
My old lever operated Staking Tool which could, at some
 risk due to the lack of micrometre adjusted limiting,
 be used for jewel setting and other delicate tasks. Otherwise
it is an excellent tool and has a particularly wide range
 of anvils and good screw on solid and drilled pushers.
A refinement of the standard Staking tool, which appears not to be available on modern staking tools but is on Jewel setting tools, added a lever arrangement to force the punch or other tool down, this made it much more controllable and easier for operations such as jewelling, work on balance assemblies, etc..
The major limitation was the lack of a device to limit the movement when pressure is applied so that it was very easy to push things too hard and too deep, so the next development was the Jewel Setting (or Jewelling) Tool which does, with the right accessories, some of the things the “Staking Tool” can do but which includes lever actuation and a micrometre measuring and limiting device and
My somewhat later Boley & Leinen combined Staking
and Jewelling set with an extensive range of punches that can
also be used as stakes. Modern Bergeon Punches will fit so some
damaged pieces have been replaced. Purchased (fortunately
 at a bargain price) to extend the range of my original staking set
 shown above. The rather worn jewelling tools are generally
not used as I also have the modern Seitz set shown below. 
usually made with more precise tolerances generally.


It is claimed that work with the modern Seitz tool can be done to within 0.005mm, the down side is that it is smaller both in the diameter of the punches and more importantly in the depth of the hole drilled into some punches and stakes which is not big or long enough to take some pocket watch components so, for instance,  it is not possible to use a jewel setting tool to rivet a centre wheel back on to the centre arbour of a pocket watch if it has been loosened by a breaking mainspring (Watches without a Safety Pinion often have the wheel weakly riveted on so that this fails to prevent damage further down the train).
A modern Seitz Jewelling Outfit with a good number of
pieces, most of which can be used as a Stake or as
an anvil. £1,050, also from Cousinsuk.com.
The Bergeon / Seitz set I have just purchase cost over £1k, it might not pay for itself in cash terms compared to just having my previous tools, but it should make delicate operations rather less stressful and will allow me to do jobs such as Lanterning Cannon Pinions (nipping them in to prevent slipping) more accurately and to reduce hour hand holes to fit which was not possible before. And of course to reset or replace jewels with a greater chance of success.

It will hopefully also reduce accidents, cursing and swearing somewhat.

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