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Making a balance staff.

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

I made another balance staff! The great thing about this one is I finally got the finish as I wanted it. Mine is on the right. The blue around the middle is leftover from the type of steel used. A hardened blue steel, which is perfect for this type of work.

You can see the tip (pivot) of the one on the left is missing, which is why a whole piece needs to be made.

This particular staff is for a Smiths 8 day instrument of an airplane.

A balance staff is a critical component of a mechanical watch movement that holds the balance wheel and allows it to rotate with precision. Making a balance staff is a complex process that requires specialized tools and expertise. However, here are some general steps involved in making a balance staff:

  1. Obtain the necessary materials: A balance staff is typically made of a high-grade steel or other durable material. You'll need to select the appropriate type and size of material based on the specifications of the watch movement.

  2. Cut the material to size: Using a lathe or similar tool, you'll need to cut the material to the correct length and diameter to fit the watch movement.

  3. Shape the staff: The next step is to shape the staff into the correct form. This involves turning and polishing the staff to create the pivots, collets, and other necessary features.

  4. Harden the staff: Once the staff is shaped, it needs to be hardened to increase its durability and resistance to wear. This typically involves heating the staff to a specific temperature and then cooling it rapidly.

  5. Finish the staff: After the staff has been hardened, it needs to be polished and finished to a high degree of precision. This involves removing any rough spots or imperfections and ensuring that the staff is perfectly straight.

  6. Install the staff: Finally, the staff can be installed into the watch movement, where it will hold the balance wheel and allow it to rotate with precision.

Please note that making a balance staff requires a high level of skill and experience, and it's not recommended for beginners or hobbyists. If you need a balance staff for a watch repair or restoration project, it's best to seek out a professional watchmaker who can provide this service for you.

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