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Thread: A complete watch.

  1. #1

    A complete watch.

    I'll play.

    Over the next few weeks, I'm going to put together a complete watch, picking the movement, overhauling it, deciding on a case, making a dial, printing the dial, and putting the whole thing together. I'll do my best to document the whole process. If someone sees where I could be doing something in a better way, I would be please to be told.

    Today, since I'm going out to dinner shortly, I just tidied up some tools. In particular, my screwdrivers and tweezers.

    You want your tweezers to close at the very tips. Otherwise things go shooting off. (They might anyway, but you want to reduce the chances.)

    Here is a picture of my main working tweezers. I keep them in pretty good shape by using ultra-fine diamond stone on the inside. These didn't need anything, I think.



    Here is a pair of tweezers that show what you want to avoid at the very tip.




    Here is the very tip of my 1.2mm screwdriver. It needed some work, as did a few others.



    I took it to a stone, getting the end to an even, sharpish tip. Then I put a bit of a flat on the very end of the tip. There are tools that can be used to keep the screwdriver tip at a constant angle. I have one, but prefer to do things by look and feel.



    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:01.

  2. #2
    Master lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.



    These can be fixed by taking a piece of rather course sandpaper an folding it half, so there is grit in contact with both sides and sanding the tip faces parallel.

  3. #3
    Grand Master
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Looking forward to seeing the report, Bob. :D

  4. #4
    Master doug darter's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.

    A very intriguing post Bob, I look forward to the project with anticipation.

  5. #5

    Re: A complete watch.

    This is the movement I'll use. (Although I will prepare another, just in case all goes pear shaped.)





    I think that I'll not make use of the date ring, although I'll replace everything so that the next person who recycles the movement will have it available.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:02.

  6. #6
    Master
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    Re: A complete watch.

    This looks to be an enthralling thread, looking forward to it, and a great little subforum, too :)

    Best wishes,
    AP :)

  7. #7
    Grand Master
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Those old Omega movements are great to work on. :D

  8. #8
    Grand Master Dave E's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.

    I doubt I'll be able to add anything, but I'm fascinated to watch!
    Dave E

    Skating away on the thin ice of a new day

  9. #9

    Re: A complete watch.

    Superb thread! Cant wait for the next installment....

  10. #10
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    Re: A complete watch.

    I want to follow this one, it looks promising!

  11. #11
    Craftsman
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Bob,

    Excellent stuff - having already broken one watch myself (cheap chinese movement, bought to practise on) I'm keen to learn as much as possible before trying to work on something I'd like to keep. Can't wait for the first instalment!
    Thanks,

    Grant

  12. #12
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.

    I too am eagerly anticipating this.

    I saw in another place an interesting alternative to tweezers - a blob of Rodico on the end of a stick. In this particular instance, it was being used to hold a hand for fitting. It looked a lot easier than using tweezers.

  13. #13
    Master
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Thanks, Bob. This should be very educational for all. I am very much looking forward to this.

  14. #14

    Re: A complete watch.

    Here's the setup for taking the movement apart. I put things directly in wire baskets for cleaning. Four little baskets for various sections of the movement (the four steel ones), two tiny baskets for stones and little screws (one for the top, and one for the bottom), and one larger basket for plates and other things too big to fit into the little ones.



    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:03.

  15. #15

    Re: A complete watch.

    I start on the back (dial side). Since I'm none too steady of hand, I always brace my screwdriver against a finger, especially when starting the screw. Also, I make sure that each part is somewhere safe before I move on to the next one. If it is a movement that I'm not entirely familiar with, and of which I don't already have pictures, I take them as I go along. (It also makes me stop and think.)

    Here's where I start.


    Here is with the center plate off, which gives a pretty good view of things.


    Here's with a bit more removed, including the set bridge, which means that I have good pictures of it all.


    Here's the bare back. A few things to note. 1. You've got to be careful after you take of the setbridge to make sure that the set spring doesn't shoot. I put a sharpish bit of pegwood at an angle in the screw hole it goes around before I remove it. 2. I use a fine hand remover to take off the cannon pinion. You can do it with tweezers as well. 3. I use very fine tweezers braced against a finger to open up the shock spring. 4. I use a bit of Rodico stuck against the bench to separate the bottom stone from the housing for it. 5. I put an item from this side in the tiny basket with the stone and stone housing to differentiate it from the ones on the other side (in this case the set lever).


    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:04.

  16. #16

    Re: A complete watch.

    Now the front.

    Here it is to start.


    The first think I do on the front is let down the mainspring. (Tricky here, as I don't have a stem for the movement.) Then I take off the balance. On this movement, I'm also taking the balance wheel off the rest of the balance assembly. So, (1) remove stone and stone housing; (2) turn screw on regulator arm to free the hairspring from the regulator assembly; and (3) loosen screw on the stud carrier to free the stud.

    If you look closely, you can see that I've done that in this picture.


    Off with the pallet stuff.


    Since some of the wheels sit on top of the barrel bridge, it is the wheel train next.


    Now for the mainspring system (and main wheel, which is at the bottom). The rachet wheel comes off first, then the click and clickspring. The click spring is another that is happy to fly. I wanted a picture of it, since it is unusual (to me).


    The crown wheel is often held on with a left-hand threaded (reverse) screw. But this one is held on with two standard screws. So, off they come, and then the barrel bridge.

    I wanted a picture of the barrel in place.


    Open the barrel. (I do it by pushing firmly, but gently on the bit of the barrel with the teeth with the barrel arbor against the bench. The top pops right off.

    I also wanted a picture of the mainspring in the barrel. Just to make orientation easier.


    I took out the mainspring, and it didn't look too bad, but I'm ordering a new one anyway.

    Okay, everything is apart, and basket cases. From top left to right: balance stone and housing; barrel, and rest of of mainspring system; wheel train; escapement (except for balance wheel, which I clean with one-dip). The larger basket contains plates and the like. (The bits from the dial side are out of the picture.)


    Everything is ready to be cleaned. (Which I'll probably hold off on until the mainspring and stem have arrived.)


    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:04.

  17. #17

    Re: A complete watch.

    For the dial design, I'm altering one I've already done. I only needed to enlarge it from 30.7 to 31.2, and make it non-lume. So no problem there. I used Inkscape, a SVG drawing program/editor, for the design. When I can make time, I'm going to try a 2D CAD program, I think.

    Here is the design.


    In order to use the design, I need to mirror it, then print it. I'll print the mirrored image on WH Smith A4 Tracing Paper with a HP 4100N Laserjet printer.

    I've tried all sorts paper, including some very expensive specialist paper, and the stuff from WH Smith works the best. What you want is paper that holds fine lines, holds the toner, and lets through plenty of UVA light (in the 380--450nm range, especially). This paper holds the lines and toner about as well as any other I've tried. And, according to my UVA light meter, it lets through as much UVA as does clear acetate. (And it is dead cheap.) The only problem with the paper is that it shrinks from the heat in the laser printer. But scaling the image by 1.011 compensates for that.

    This is about as far as I'll get on this until the weekend, I suspect.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

    PS An aside about fonts. There are thousands of fonts out there, and many are free. However, there are many fewer really nice ones. Many of the free fonts are optimized for computer display, rather than print. Many don't scale well, and quite a few are pretty crummy. I'm particularly keen on Electronic Font Foundry fonts, a UK font company. The above is another from a well established foundry: Linotype DIN 1451 Mittelschrift Alternative. (Central writing? Middle writing? An idiom?)
    But, this does mean that I end up paying for many of the fonts that I use, anywhere from 10 to 20 quid per font.
    RLF
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:05.

  18. #18
    Grand Master
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Excellent work & tutorial .. wish I had both the time & skill to do likewise.
    /vince ..


  19. #19

    Re: A complete watch.

    This is great so far. I'm really looking forward to seeing the next step.

  20. #20

    Re: A complete watch.

    That was a good read - I'm looking forward to the next installment (sic) :)

  21. #21
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Good stuff, this is what i aspire to be able to do one day.

  22. #22
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Hi Bob,

    are you using steel or polymer Cliché's?

    Cheers,

    Mark

  23. #23

    Re: A complete watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by smashie
    Hi Bob,

    are you using steel or polymer Cliché's?

    Cheers,

    Mark
    Polymer. I was using some that required an exposure with a screen (using 300 lpi), but I've got some made for open etch on order.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  24. #24
    Master Karl's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Great read 8) what is used to clean all the parts Bob.

    karl

  25. #25

    Re: A complete watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl
    Great read 8) what is used to clean all the parts Bob.

    karl
    You'll see on Friday (I think).

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  26. #26

    Re: A complete watch.

    So far today, I'e only cleaned the bench.



    This included cleaning out old oil and grease from the oil pots. I use watch paper and holological essence.

    From left to right. Staking base (in the corner -- I just didn't want to put it away). Six compartment container for a disassembled movement (only holding the balance right now). Movement holder/pad. Red container with pegwood. Eyeglass (4x Bausch & Lomb). Eyeglass (Bergeon 1a). .5mm screwdriver (in a hole in the back edge behind the Bergeon screwdriver). Oil pot for water proof grease (Bergeon KT 22 -- winding stuff). Four pot oil stand with each pot labelled (Moebius 8300 -- grease; D-5 -- heavy oil; 9010/2 -- light oil; 9415 -- pallet grease). Black and red oilers on oil stand. Screwdrivers. Pithwood for cleaning screwdrivers, etc. One-dip for the balance wheel. Horological essence for cleaning anything else that gets dirty in the process. Automatic oiler in a synthetic cork, with the cork jammed into a plastic movement holder. Steel tub for any part lying about. Wine glasses for temporary cover.

    I've cleaned the lot. I also cleaned all surfaces. This includes the light. Lots of dust accumulates on the light, and when you adjust it, some of that dust comes off. The light is a beast, from a dental surgery, I think. Two daylight lamps. With waffles to soften the light.

    The thing in the front is a holder for a removable clamp.

    I'm not always quite so fastidious about cleaning, but at least once a month I go whole hog.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:05.

  27. #27
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    Re: A complete watch.

    I used to make silver jewellery as a hobby but my bench was never that good. Horological Essence, sounds wonderful, like a magic potion giving watch mending abilities :)

  28. #28
    Master Karl's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by emmak
    Horological Essence, sounds wonderful, like a magic potion giving watch mending abilities :)
    i agree what a nice name 8) i want to drink it :D thanks for the update Bob :thumbright:


    karl

  29. #29

    Re: A complete watch.

    It is too late to do any ultrasonic stuff, so it looks like I won't get any cleaning done today. I allowed non-watch stuff to distract me. But, I did get done something that needed to be done before cleaning.

    Although most of the screws looked okay, some needed a bit of tidying-up, in particular, the screws for ratchet wheel and crown wheel.

    So, here are the tools I use for this.


    The above image shows a screw polishing frog, and two lengths of stock with lapping film on them. The stock is just stuff that is handy. The lapping film is 3M. Either wide side of each length of stock has a strip glued to it. Since there wasn't any major surgery to be done on any screw, I didn't need to get out other grades of abrasives. So, I used the following.

    Yellow, 12 microns.
    Blue, 9 microns.
    Pink, 3 microns.
    White, .3 microns.

    Here's a picture of the frog on the stock. What you do is put the screw in the front bit, head at the bottom, then tighten it up. Then you see whether the head is riding flat. You adjust left/right and front/back with the screws at the back of the frog, which go all of the way through. If you screw them in, the front of the screw head goes down. Etc.


    Once the screw head is flat, you just run it along the lapping film. I do it 10 times each grade. The whole thing only takes a minute or so each screw.


    It is hard to picture the shininess, so I had to get angle pictures, which will give you some idea of the difference in the surface.

    Before.


    After


    I also used a small file to clean the screw slots.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:06.

  30. #30

    Re: A complete watch.

    Before cleaning, I had a couple of more things to do. The first was to remove the dial screws from the base plate. I overlooked them when taking down the movement. The second was to take a picture of the dial side of the plate which was adequate for making a dial outline for marking out the center hole and the holes for the dial feet.

    I first had to get the camera square on copy stand. Although I squared it up with it much closer to the bottom board, for the photograph I got the camera as far away as possible, so to have a flatter perspective on the dial.



    Then I took a snap of the dial. I'll mark the relevant locations with white, then printed it up at 1:1 scale.



    Here's the stuff I use for cleaning watches.



    The ultrasonic cleaner is in the background. It is 6L and has a heater and a timer. I put the heater on about 80C, but help it along by adding hot water. I usually fill it to about 2L, as any more makes the beakers float.

    From left to right, the beakers are (1) ammoniate cleaning fluid (L&R 111), 1st rinse (L&R No3), and 2nd rinse (L&R No3). When the 2nd rinse looks a bit dodgy, it becomes the first rinse.

    The white item on the right is a chemically resistant insert containing the baskets. It makes getting the stuff out of the beakers much easier.

    Two beakers can fit, so I could do 4 watch movements at a time (2 in each beaker). I seldom do more than 2, however. One reason is that those little baskets are pretty dear.

    Here is a better look at the basket in the insert.



    Here is the insert in the the cleaning beaker.



    I usually go for 10 minutes clean and 12 minutes each rinse.



    After all is done, get as much of the rinse off as possible, then let the bits air dry on acid free paper. It is best to keep them in groups, and not to allow any parts to touch. Also, from this point on, I don't touch anything with my skin, if I can help it.



    I put covers on to keep dust off, but the covers allow air circulation.



    Unless I've done a part count before cleaning (while taking the movement down), and checked the numbers on the paper, I do a double check of all the little baskets before I put them away to make sure nothing has been missed.

    To improve things, I really need to make a dryer that uses heat, and and a bit of forced air.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

    PS I usually do this out in the shed, but my wife is away at her mother's, and said that the house was mine for watchmaking stuff. But, I was to try to avoid making explosions. :)
    RLF

    PPS And, now, time for a pizza.
    RLF
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:06.

  31. #31
    Craftsman
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Very useful and informative tutorial :)

    Jim.

  32. #32

    Re: A complete watch.

    The last bit of the cleaning. It is cleaning the balance in One Dip. The pictures I'm showing of such cleaning aren't of the actual Omega balance. It is another balance, one with a broken staff. The reason I'm not showing my cleaning the Omega one is that I had to take some of the pictures with my left hand (and I'm right handed) while using my right hand messing with the balance. I wanted to concentrate on the balance for the real cleaning. But, this should give you an idea of what's what anyway.

    One DIP is a special, quick dry, hairspring/balance cleaner and degreaser. (Horological essence would work as well.) You just slosh the balance around in One Dip.

    Here is how I hold the balance. Notice that it is being held where there is an arm. This makes it less likely that holding it will distort it.



    After I slosh it around a bit, I take it out and put it on paper with the stud up. It is wet, and the coils of the hair spring are sticking together.



    One needs to make sure that the coils don't dry like that. So, what I do is grasp the hairspring by the stud, and (gently) lift the spring so that the coils separate. Sort of giving it the old boing, boing.



    After doing this a few times, the coils are dry, and separate.



    And, now the movement is ready for assembly, as I have an OEM mainspring and stem for it.



    I think that's it for today.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:06.

  33. #33
    Master Karl's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.

    8) :)

  34. #34

    Re: A complete watch.

    It pretty amazing how much taking pictures, etc., slows things down.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  35. #35
    Master JC180's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.

    I'm really enjoying this Bob!

    Fancy calling it a day when its all there, clean and waiting to be put back together :lol:

    Really looking forward to following this to completion.

    Cheers

    Jacob

  36. #36

    Re: A complete watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by JC180
    I'm really enjoying this Bob!

    Fancy calling it a day when its all there, clean and waiting to be put back together :lol:

    Really looking forward to following this to completion.

    Cheers

    Jacob
    Thanks. Best not to work on it when I'm tired. Instead, I'll go out into the shed and smoke a cigar or two while listening to Henry IV Part I and doing some light machining and filing. (I want to make a tool that will help when putting it back together.)

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  37. #37
    Craftsman
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Hi Bob,

    A suggestion on drying the parts after cleaning.

    A few years ago they heater element on my cleaning machine died (the thing needs a lot of maintenance, I should really get a new one) I spoke to my sister who is a very talented diamond mounter and she came up with what I thought was a brilliant (sorry) solution.

    All I did was get a large metal biscuit tin, gave the biscuits away, cut a hole in the side to accept a standard pendant lamp holder and got some mesh. The kind of mesh used for car body repair.

    That was all it was, a very efficient drying box. All I did was to add some kitchen paper to stop the small parts falling through. Oh and I got a 40w light bulb after the paper caught fire .

    Cheers,

    Mark

  38. #38

    Re: A complete watch.

    Thanks Mark. That sounds like something to try.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  39. #39

    Re: A complete watch.

    Excellent thread, Bob. Once it is finished I suggest we make it sticky. And yes, making pictures is a pain....but that´s why we should double thank Bob!

  40. #40
    Master JC180's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Bump!

    ....for the next installment :mrgreen:

    How about you take and post a video of you putting it back together!

    Maybe post it on Youtube :wink:

  41. #41

    Re: A complete watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by JC180
    Bump!

    ....for the next installment :mrgreen:

    How about you take and post a video of you putting it back together!

    Maybe post it on Youtube :wink:
    No Youtube. Also, it looks like it may be that I won't have time to put it back together until next weekend.

    Today I took it pretty easy. I meant to make a little tool last night, but had some difficulties with the fine feed on my mill. So, this morning I fixed that (by taking off a part that is supposed to be there ;)). And, later, I leisurely made the tool.

    First, I had to prepare the work environment in the shed.




    The tool is a holder for upside down balances, especially for screwing in the stud screw. But, it is really a general pupose holder thingie.

    So, first I cut some stock with a hacksaw.


    Next I needed to face it (make it regular shape, and flat on the ends). If you want to do it precisely, a lathe is best.


    But, you can do a pretty good, and much faster job using a mill.


    So, I just put it in a vice on the mill, and used a 10mm end mill taking pretty big cuts (.1mm) every 2.5mm.

    Here's what I started with.


    After I finished the first side (which is the bottom of the tool, I smoothed the edges. (I don't want any sharp edges for this).


    The I did the other side, but also making a ledge about 1mm high, against which I can place the balance and which provides resistance when screwing in the stud screw. (A finicky little screw, which takes a .5mm screwdriver head.)

    Then I cut and filed a bit of brass plate. This is screwed down on top of the balance to hold it firm. After cutting the brass, it is a bit curly, so I had to get out the planishing block and hammer to make it flat.


    Then I drilled a couple of holes and used a small tap to make them suitable for 1.6mm screws.

    Here's the tool, with a balance in it. It really needs longer screws, and a spacer for the near side. (I've had to order the longer screws.) But, it looks like it will work.


    Then I needed some place for it on the bench, so I cut an indentation in the top for it to fit. It is a crummy indentation, as I'm not very good working with wood. But, I'll tidy it up a bit.


    So, here's how it will look.


    If I need other small tools, I've got a lot of the stock still available that fits this hole.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Last edited by rfrazier; 9th November 2014 at 03:07.

  42. #42

    Re: A complete watch.

    This is starting to be depressing. Bob´s abilities are as far from me as Ming´s or Jocke´s photos... :cry: :cry: :cry:

  43. #43

    Re: A complete watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by angeche
    This is starting to be depressing. Bob´s abilities are as far from me as Ming´s or Jocke´s photos... :cry: :cry: :cry:
    There's no reason to think that. I just have a go. And, eventually, things start to click.

    Best wishes,
    bob

  44. #44

    Re: A complete watch.

    Bob, you're my kind of philosopher :D

    Men in sheds eh :wink: :lol:

  45. #45
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Fantastic stuff Bob. I look forward to the bit where you decorate your movement with some Geneva stripes :-)

  46. #46
    Master westy's Avatar
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    Re: A complete watch.

    :shock: :shock:
    Brilliant stuff.:!: :!:
    I'm hooked....can't wait for the next installment!
    :lol: :lol:

  47. #47
    Master
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    Re: A complete watch.

    Hello Bob,
    Thank you, I am totally enthralled.
    It makes the watch I made for my son seem a little blue Peter.
    All the best
    Steve

  48. #48

    Re: A complete watch.

    Great work Bob,

    Thanks for this tutorial as we know it slows down your actual work on the watch, taking all those pictures.

    With the right tools for the job, it doesn't look completely daunting .

    regards

    siggy

  49. #49
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    Re: A complete watch.

    This is great stuff Bob, really inspiring. Thankyou.

  50. #50

    Re: A complete watch.

    Amazing work Bob. For most of us I guess what you've done so far already seems like an impossibility. Seeing your pics remind me how important it is to have the right tools for the job.

    Several times I have had a go at projects that require the correct tools and have tried to make do with what was available. Never really works :D

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