By "Old Fogy."

Before proceeding with what I consider the best methods in this department of the watch and jewelry business, I will say that I do not, by any means, consider that my way is the best, for although I have been in the business quite a while, yet I find that I learn something new almost every day that I live, and expect to do so, so long as I continue in the business. Be very particular in selecting your tools; about three widths of screwdrivers, and keep them in the best of order, square across the point of blade, and never use a screwdriver too narrow nor too wide for the screw, and in using be careful not to let it slip, and thus mar the plates or bridges of a watch. I also recommend that the handles of these screwdrivers be of different shapes or styles, so as to save time in picking up the one you want (and just here I will say that every device or method that saves time will be of great value to the operator); then have about the same number of tweezers (3), one of good, solid, heavy points, say 1/16 inch wide at the points, for taking down a watch, and handling the heavier parts, and then one a little finer, and one very fine to work in about the train, hairspring, etc., and always keep these tweezers in perfect order at the points, so that whatever you handle, you will not mar or drop the things you are handling.

Right in this connection I will say that I cannot find tweezers that suit me. So I make my own, and you can do the same if you will by selecting some nice steel. Then a good assortment of pliers, cutting, flat, and round. In selecting brushes, you will have to be very particular and secure the open and straight bristle brushes, which are also hard to find these latter years. Take all the coarser brushes and hold them on a coarse grindstone, running them whole length, both ways; this takes off the new rough end of the bristles before using first time. Then there are punches, broaches, drills, calipers, countersinks, files, etc., etc. Besides this, I have adopted the plan of making any tool I happen to need for any special purpose, so that by making these at the time I happen to want a tool that I cannot purchase, I have accumulated quite a variety of odd tools; among them are a varied lot of millers, for milling and raising jewels, and deepening the countersink holes for jewel settings and screw heads, also a tool for holding a roller, to set the jewel pin, and one for holding the hair spring collet, and a pair of tweezers for holding jewels while cleaning, etc., etc.

As to lathes, I have found that there is a necessity of about two lathes; one a Swiss, light running lathe for cementing any pivot work, and I prefer these because they run much lighter and easier than those heavier American lathes; and yet if confined to but one lathe, I would use a small sized American lathe, with a good assortment of split chucks, particularly those with the smaller sized holes, for holding balance staffs, wheel arbors, etc., which come in use almost everyday, for taking off the burr from the point of a balance pivot, which has come from a collapse of the case; driving the end stones down on the end of pivots, even sometimes to the extent of heading them over inside of the hole jewel. These small size split chucks I have found extremely useful for the last named purpose, and I am not so "sentimental" but that I oftener use these split chucks, even for setting fine balance pivots, rather than take time to cement them; and while I do not advise the use of a split chuck for this purpose in every case, yet with a little experience one can tell when a staff is held so that the new pivot when set will "line" and be true, and of a clear beat or swing.

To make a very nice pivot the cementing process is preferable, and yet, for nearly a year, my old No. 1 American lathe was not set up (for reasons I need not take space to explain), and during that time I employed a very skillful workman to do my pivoting, and this man would not think of ever doing a nice job unless he cemented it, and I can assure you that he put in more pivots out of line, and out of true, in the course of those few months, than I had done badly in my life. Speaking of "sentiment," I will say that too many young workmen use the lathe too much, and seem to depend on a fine looking lathe and handsome tools, and spend too much time in using the lathe and in decorating their bench with a fine display. But don't construe this as meaning that one can do nice work with a jack knife and handsaw, for I most certainly believe in a good and substantial set of tools, or I would not have taken so much space in speaking of them. Next, one must have a good bench, wide and of good length: and if no other drawers, a shallow depth drawer, exactly in center of the bench, with no knob in front, but rather a lip running its whole length, underneath. So that wherever you place your hand you can pull it out.

This drawer I would have large and roomy (wide and long and extending back as far as the depth of the bench will allow, but shallow, not deep down in), and then partition it off by narrow slats, diagonally across it, running these slats from the extreme near right hand corner to the further and extreme left hand corner, so that as you reach your right hand in to take out a tool, you can grasp it naturally without twisting or cramping your hand. About eight inches below the top of the bench, I would place a skin drawer (the name comes from the practice at watch factories, formerly using sheepskins for the bottoms), which is made with a square frame (say like a picture frame), sliding on slats or a groove, so that it can be drawn out toward the operator, and when so drawn, the elbows will rest on this frame, with the wrists resting on the edge of the top of the bench, thus giving a firm support for both arms and hands, and this frame having stretched across its bottom a skin or canvas, will catch and retain anything that drops or rolls from the bench. This latter drawer I consider almost an indispensable article to doing good and successful work. At the right hand of these two drawers named, running down to floor if need be, there can be a series of drawers for tools and materials.