First Tasks

With Hand Tools for an Apprentice

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These aren't exactly showpieces such as, say, a Cube-and-Plate, but still they're useful exercises for an apprentice just starting out - and no doubt they would be judged just as strictly.

1. 21st Century Watchmaking

J. Peter, who conducts the "Tick Talk" watchmaking blog ( attended the Lititz Watch Technicum, a (very prestigious) school participating in the (equally prestigious) WOSTEP program. He documented a number of the beginning projects assigned to students in that program (

(Although these were assigned as a part of a watchmaking program, they have to do entirely with the general use of hand tools. I'm therefore covering them here rather than in my technical horology Notebooks.)

On his blog, he has photographs of these projects (which you should look at). I'll just summarize them here, based on his photographs and descriptions.

They were asked to cut and file four 6mm diameter brass rods to length. Lengths were 10, 20, 30, and 40 mm. Length tolerances were 10 percent (0.10mm, 0.20mm, 0.30mm, 0.40mm). Ends had to be square, with bevels (chamfers) at 45 degrees between the end and the diameter. They did nothing with the diameters, but there could be no marks upon them (made, for example, by the vise).

They were asked to make a brass die (that is, one of a pair of dice), primarily by filing. It had to be 10.0 mm square (they were given oversize stock, of course). The cubes had to be acceptably cubic (I'm not quite sure what the standards were); file marks were to be visible but "straight" and "even." The dots of the die were laid out by scribing (scribe marks left visible), centerpunched, countersunk, and deburred. Tolerances of either the cube or the dot positions or both (I'm not quite sure) were 0.10 mm.

They were asked to file square the ends of steel rods (diameters not state), to a tolerance of +/- 0.05 mm.

They were asked to file a sphere ("spheroid") that was symmetrical but of unspecified dimensions. (You'll have to view the photograph on his blog to get a sense of this.)

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