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Pop! Goes the Arbor

by J.Edwards

The short video above demonstrates a simple and efficient means of removing the arbor from the mainspring of a watch barrel, using a riveting stake and a sturdy pair of tweezers. This particular technique isn’t one that was ever shown to me during my years spent training to be a watchmaker, rather, it’s one that I picked up along the way and have quite grown to like. From giant pocket watch barrels to dainty, ultra-slim Pateks, it has proven failsafe for me time and time again. Simply select a hole in the riveting stake that’s slightly larger than the diameter of the barrel arbor, flip the open barrel over, with the mainspring facing down towards the stake, and press the arbor out with your tweezers.

I’ve seen plenty of watch technicians struggle to yank the the arbor from the grips of the mainspring with a pair of tweezers – sometimes marring the barrel wall or kinking the mainspring in the process – and I have heard many a story of a watchmaker who’s lost a barrel by unintentionally extracting the mainspring with the arbor. Using the technique above, none of this is an issue. Clean. Simple. Effective. Hopefully, this is a technique you already use. If not, I’m happy I could share it with you. Feel free to pass it along and, most of all, enjoy.

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  1. Andrew
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this tip ! So simple – it’s a wonder I’ve never run across it before.

    I had struggled a little in the past with cleanly & neatly inserting and removing mainsprings and barrel arbors – I’ve previously sorted out the inserting side of things, and this tip of yours is perfect for removing the arbors. Thanks again …

  2. Posted January 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    You’re most welcome, Andrew. I’m glad I could share with you. It’s real timesaver and excellent for preventing potential headaches.

  3. MikeTheWatchGuy
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant!! It’s a step that is always so dicey for me.

  4. Posted January 29, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I’m happy I could help make the process a little less dicey for you, Mike.

  5. Peter G
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    I was delighted to see this tip on your blog. I’m following watchmaking in evening class & we learned this trick from our teacher. For me it is a rather good indication of the quality of the course I’m following.

  6. Posted February 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    That’s excellent, Peter. I wish you the best of success in your course.

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  1. […] short while back we shared a video tip here on the blog about how to remove the barrel arbor from a watch barrel quickly and easily. […]

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