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Member postings for Sam Stones

Here is a list of all the postings Sam Stones has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Hieroglyphics on a Wehlen & Co clock face
03/09/2019 22:50:34

Yes, that's it Michael.

I did wonder if the corners of the square were a continuation of the diameter. A clock/watchmaker showed me how to hammer out a pivot oiler from a tiny piece of wire was my first experience of forging at that level.

Impressive work especially if the hole is both square and tapered.

Finding too many bent (cotter?) pins around the assembly, the thought of a complete strip-down to find out, is no longer an attraction.


Maybe I will one day.


03/09/2019 20:14:09

A bit further to the right, Michael.

It was the hole through the pallet piece which looks round. But on closer inspection, what I'm seeing could be a lead-in chamfer.


How curious too that the edges of the square have had their corner removed, yet appear sharp in the hole and beyond.

Nick, many thanks for your valued input. From now on, the clock will be treated with even more respect. I intend to lean on the local library to locate/purchase a copy of your book.

As before, many thanks to members for your interest and help.


PS Please remind me to blow the dust off before moving in for a tight shot embarrassed

03/09/2019 01:18:00

Are my eyes deceiving me but is that a square arbor going into a round hole?


03/09/2019 01:09:45

It would be helpful if I could close this thread with a clear conclusion. However, despite the many useful comments, links, and various ideas, there is still no clear resolution.

I certainly found it an interesting excursion with several entertaining distractions. It has been a clear learning curve for me. I’d never heard of rubrication, ashler walls, and until I pulled the clock apart, I hadn’t realised that the dial was enamelled. Sorry Michael.

There were questions as to whether Gustav Paul (& Co) Wehlen was one person, a father and son, or brothers. The company, listed as importers, raised other questions. Were they also clockmakers, did they just assemble the main parts, or did they just sell them? Some of the marks on the back of the dial appear to be a close (colour) match to the hieroglyphs on the front. Could this be coincidental? The same substance (paint or ink?) and flourish appear to link the letter ‘G’ of Gustav and the ‘9’ of the number 9664.

Having seen some of its development in the plastics industry, I never realised that the pad method of printing was so old. Closer images reveal certain unrepeated irregularities suggesting hand painting, guided by some addition device, ‘ … and nerves of steel … ‘.

In closing and assuming that the clock is a middle-of-the-road standard, could it pass as a French marble clock?

My thanks to all eighteen of you for your input.


Edited By Sam Stones on 03/09/2019 01:11:27

Thread: Piston/Cylinder Materials
21/08/2019 03:00:01

Following Nick’s remark about dissimilar materials, I’m certainly no tribologist, but … since Steve’s engine is ‘just a demonstration project’, does life expectancy really matter?

Clearly, it shouldn’t seize during operation, and as with ‘normal’ practice, the two materials should be dissimilar or at least dissimilar in (surface) hardness.

Not that this has been suggested, but for new comers, the very worst situation in my opinion is fitting an aluminium piston into an aluminium cylinder. Once it grabs, forget it!

I’d probably be correct in assuming that the topic addressing ‘dissimilar materials’ has arisen many times before, and that those ‘in the know’ will come to my aid or … ?

However, here are a couple of ten bobs worth …

When I removed the substantially worn and scored gudgeon pin from a small 2-stroke petrol engine years ago, the replacement pin was a near perfect fit in the small end (bronze?) bearing.

In a similar vein, tests on a lawn mower spur gear made from high density, polyethylene meshing with a similar steel gear resulted in the steel gear wearing out.

Also, we used custom-made expandable brass laps for opening up holes a smidgen.

Let us know how you go Steve.




Edited By Sam Stones on 21/08/2019 03:01:23

Thread: Hieroglyphics on a Wehlen & Co clock face
17/08/2019 22:31:17

Thanks Roy,

Your advice is most welcome and much appreciated. I have a faint memory of a member telling me that some time ago. Was it your good self?

Can I presume that moving the 'collet' in this case is how the pellets (anchor?) would rotate on the arbor? I can only see this as requiring removal of the mechanism, and (perhaps) setting it in an upright condition on the bench or similar.

With declining patience, increasing clumsiness, and only an office desk, removing the mechanism has lost its charm.

Thanks again,



Edited By Sam Stones on 17/08/2019 22:39:09

17/08/2019 00:24:22

I pondered whether to open a new thread about clock dials, but …

It had been suggested elsewhere that I investigate the clock for any other marks on the movement that could indicate who made the clock. While this is potentially heading away from identifying the ‘strange’ hieroglyphs, it opened another aspect - the dial itself.

What I was very reluctant to do was pull the clock apart and remove the dial. I ain't as steady as I used to be.

However, it turned out to be an opportunity to add a very tiny drop of clock oil to those pivots I chose to leave on a previous occasion. There was also a slight issue that the escapement wouldn’t work with the mechanism (and therefore the dial) truly vertical. Twisted a few degrees ACW and it would tick merrily. Otherwise, it would stop. The fault lay with either the crutch (and/or the fork) being out of line with the pendulum, see here ...


and here ...


With the mechanism back in place, judicious bending of the crutch arm restored most of the misalignment.

As for the dial itself, I found evidence of traditional enamelled copper methods used during its construction. A very shallow copper ‘dish’ retains the glazing powder during firing, similar to that seen in this video …


… and (presumably) provides better control of glaze thickness, especially at the edges.

On the back was the number 9664. It’s the same number stamped on the back plate of the mechanism. Perhaps of greater interest was to find Gustave written on the back. Was it his writing or simply a means of identifying that the dial was for him?


Several possibilities come to mind. What do you think?


PS - For a closer look, there are now three photo albums applicable to this thread and marked - Wehlen A, B, and C .


Edited By Sam Stones on 17/08/2019 00:26:42

15/08/2019 21:59:45

John Robey’s biographical notes are an excellent source of historic information, Michael.

I’m now exploring another direction which needs me to remove the clock's mechanism, and expose the false plate if there is one, and perhaps determine what material was used for the dial.


13/08/2019 03:01:36

Like a clock pendulum, the dialogue has swung back and forth.

With little to add other than my appreciation for all the interest and direction, I decided to move on to (SOD) Dave’s comments about the method used to apply the Roman (Latin?) numerals. There was a possibility too that the outcome may prove useful to modellers who are keen to embellish their work with a high level of realism.

Here's my latest clock face ...

crw_7392 - whole dial.jpg

And a composite of four numerals ...


Here are some extra details …

Detectable by touch and from my earlier (flash illuminated) picture, the characters appear to have been painted. For scaling purposes, the numerals are 7/16" (11mm) in height.

  1. The black lines vary in width.
  2. Spacing’s between some black lines vary.
  3. The pointed ends of the V’s come close to a sharp point.
  4. The ends of black lines (X’s in particular) are at an angle, not perpendicular.
  5. The edges of some black lines are irregular.
  6. There is no real evidence of rubber stamp usage.
  7. The thin faint strokes around the face have the appearance of brush strokes.

What method(s) did they use?


Re Silicon Zoo – I’m looking forward to the exploration Michael. It look fabulous.

11/08/2019 03:45:16

Phew! Who do I thank the most?

Before I go on, I thought it worth mentioning, that other than the tiniest drop of (clock) oil where needed, the clock mechanism received no attention since I inherited it in December 1989. The marble case had been broken in several places, so I pulled that apart before gluing it back together. I can add nothing more as to its history.

Thanks for your insight Bill (Phinn). Having never known or heard of rubrication, I thought it was a typo. The appearance of the characters suggests to me that the person who applied them was not particularly skilful, or applied the characters in a hurry. Then again the letter 'W' is little more than 2.5mm wide.

Dave (SOD) - I like your ideas. A hint of graffiti perhaps? The paint has rubbed off at some stage, and what looks like Fr is actually a capital ‘G’.

34046 - Yes, I found it, thank you. The number of clock and watchmakers is overwhelming.

Thanks Brian (H). Your comments and MichaelG’s ‘revelation’ as to the possible connection with ‘sign-writer’s shorthand’ both come very close to a solution.

Nick - That’s a very helpful insight. I’m sure too, your book will be a valuable addition to anyone’s personal library. I’d love to find and read it. Meanwhile, I searched the public library catalogue, but it didn’t show. Could you guess an age for the clock please?

AdrianR - Thanks for your efforts in searching those categories.

Brian (S) - Thanks for throwing extra light on this challenge. I had a quick shufti through the symbol list of MS Word (>2800). There were tantalising similarities but nothing positive.

Michael G - Many thanks for your ‘stacking’ offer. If only Photoshop CS3 would work. For several broad ranging reasons, I have contemplated buying Zerene or Helicon Focus but … I’ve entered into the process of downsizing most of my stuff, and unlikely to get there.

Also Michael – I googled Signwriter Shorthand and found these …


They are even more alluring than the MS Word list.

Thanks again for your contributions.

Best wishes,


Edited By Sam Stones on 11/08/2019 03:46:52

10/08/2019 02:40:49

Here are a couple of the other files via the bellows set up ...


The clock face is slightly spherical, and with limited DOF, focus isn't the best.


This last one suggests (to me), that the cross lines and serifs were either the originals, a guide, and/or the black lines were added later.

Do the edges of the black lines suggest they were printed? I can't tell.


10/08/2019 02:32:04

To get even closer to the hieroglyphics, I decided to use my Noveflex bellows and a macro lens (Canon EF100mm f/2.8 USM).

Just for fun I turned on the camera flash for the first shot, and was presented with this ...


Paint contours !!!

Having turned off the flash because the lens was throwing a shadow, I only discovered the contours upon opening the few files in Photoshop CS3.

As for the real purpose of this thread, I'm still working through it.

Meanwhile, thanks for all your replies.


Thanks Michael. I knew I'd tried before but my memory ain't what it used to be.

09/08/2019 00:11:00

I may have asked this before, but can anyone identify the faint markings about the name of this clock?

Thanking you in anticipation.



img_0382---wehlen-&-co - ed.jpg


By the way, that's not my soldering, although back in the 70's I did glue the marble case back together. Not as good a job as Kirsten or Steve of 'Repair Shop' might have done.


Thread: Clock #1
08/08/2019 05:25:02

You are so welcome David.

It has been a pleasant journey and a privilege to work with you.

I should add that were it not for all the help I got from members of this forum commencing in about 2010, I'd have little if anything to contribute.

All the very best.


Shivering in cold, cold Melbourne.

Thread: Surplus subjects learnt at school.
22/07/2019 02:06:59

Slightly off topic Bill, but …

One subject surplus to requirements was my earliest wake-up call. It was soon to follow my 11+ failure. The specific moment was when I became partly responsibility for the breakage of two 12" wooden rules.

Clenched together in her fist, Miss Pickford swung them down hard while the knuckles of my left hand got in the way. Both pieces of wood broke in two. Cleverly, she avoided my ‘write’ hand, although clearly, she was unaware of sweet spots, angular velocity, the distribution of mass, or even fibre strength.

The reason for my involvement … ?

I was a dreamer, and during an arithmetic exercise of long division (of Lsd*) having, in contemplation, chewed most of the wood off my pen, I had completed just one ‘sum’ for the whole morning. Where had the time (and tasty wood) gone?

Did such common vehemence of the day guide me later in life when I was awarded “Fellow of Institutes X & Y”?


(*) Pounds, shillings, and pence.

Edited By Sam Stones on 22/07/2019 02:09:27

Thread: An electrostatic mystery ...
16/07/2019 00:44:53

Prompted by the various ideas above, with hardly any correlation to model engineering, I can offer no connection between static charges and travel sickness. Indeed, this 1st part of my contribution mentions nothing of the subject. Escape here smile p

However, crossing the Bay of Biscay in a troopship (The Empire Ken) late February ’57, I was the only one of our group of eleven who had not ‘been to the side’.

Determined to test my endurance at the risk of being ‘clapped in irons’, and in near total darkness I stepped over the barrier marked ‘Out of Bounds’, and eased myself around to the very stern of the ship.

It was pitching to a level where (I suspect from the vibrations) the propeller was emerging from the ocean; perhaps pitching as much as 30 feet (say 10 metres). After five minutes or more, I was satisfied at my endurance, and concluded this rather foolish experiment.

Having thus confirmed my previous experiences (the IoM ferry from Fleetwood a couple of times, and a ‘pleasure’ cruise off the Scarborough Head, complete with a generous encouragement to be seasick), I was convinced that I was immune to travel sickness.

Not so!

A few years later, I was obliged to ‘accept’ a car lift from my boss with the promise of a ‘chicken and chips’ supper, followed by homemade apple pie with cream, if I would navigate us across London.

That was when I discovered that I wasn’t immune to travel sickness. Head down to read the map in relative darkness was apparently the perfect combination. Fortunately, I didn’t disgrace myself, and have learned since from a friend who navigated during car rallies, that it was the heads down thing while being tossed around willy nilly.

So as not to jeopardise their chances of a good result he told me that, under those circumstances, he would hold open the car door and lean out to release his last meal.

Foot note:

We crossed London without incident, and I managed to enjoy the ‘chicken and chips’ supper, with homemade apple pie and cream, thus avoiding embarrassment.


Thread: How to use a round column mill
03/07/2019 01:53:26

Machine issues aside, it's great to see such clear photographs chaps.

OH for a workshop Gray! crying


Thread: How to machine Acetal
15/06/2019 01:24:38

Adrian, I sent you a PM.

Sam smiley

Thread: The Putter
27/05/2019 00:57:15


You SODcrying, you have the negative back to front!!!


clogging it.jpg

26/05/2019 21:52:00

Frances IoM said

'Clogs were still readily available during my childhood in NW England for operatives in cotton mills'

... and kids like me in primary and the first few months of secondary school. I was banned from the slides on the frozen playground. The irons apparently tearing up the nice smooth surface the older kids had produced.

Clogs were lovely and warm, and could make sparks by kicking the concrete a glancing blow.

The co-op was always busy in the clog-repair shop.

Someone in the toolroom was not impressed when he caught me winding a 0-1 around by gripping the thimble in my fist - "... and stop swinging it around like a clog iron", he yelled.

Another pass-time, although I never saw one was 'clug feytin o'rt moss'.



Edited By Sam Stones on 26/05/2019 21:52:25

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