Often underestimated and overlooked, pegwood is an invaluable asset in the hands of a skilled watchmaker. Pegwood is an indispensable tool in watchmaking and one that you will use regularly throughout your watchmaking journey. Pegwood is an essential tool for watchmakers. It allows you to remove dirt, oil and debris from intricate components and perform delicate tasks with precision and care.
Pegwood is a surprisingly powerful tool that makes an incredible addition to your watchmaking toolkit. It is highly versatile and ideal for performing intricate tasks that require extreme precision. From cleaning jewel pivot holes to manipulating delicate components, pegwood performs a diverse range of tasks making it an incredible tool to have.
What is Pegwood?
Pegwood is a special type of wooden stick used regularly by watchmakers. It is made from dried orangewood and shaped into a pointed thin dowel. They are similar to a toothpick but are thicker, larger, harder and more durable. It works well because the wood is hard enough to remove dirt but not too hard that it will damage the movement.
Available in various diameters ranging from 2mm to 6mm, there is a size for every task. For my needs, I have found that a 3mm diameter is the most suitable. However, smaller sizes like 2mm or 2.5mm are better suited for tasks involving cap jewel springs. Typically, pegwood comes in lengths of 150mm making them suitable for a range of watchmaking tasks.
In terms of material and quality, pegwood options vary. At the budget end, there is pegwood made from Indian orangewood. They offer satisfactory performance but may not exhibit the same durability as higher quality alternatives.
German orangewood pegwood offers a slight improvement in quality while Swiss beech or hornbeam pegwood is considered top-tier due to their superior craftsmanship and durability. These high-end options ensure precision and reliability during delicate watchmaking procedures.
In addition to traditional pegwood, there are also plastic variants available. These pre-shaped pegwoods offer convenience and are designed for specific tasks. However, they may not offer the same level of versatility and customization as their wooden counterparts.
What is Pegwood Used For?
Pegwood is an essential tool in the watchmaking process used for a variety of tasks that require precision. Throughout my own watchmaking experience, I have identified five main uses for pegwood.
Firstly, it is ideal for cleaning jewel and non-jewel pivot holes effectively removing debris, dirt or oil residue to ensure smooth movement. Secondly, pegwood excels at scraping off oil and grime from watch parts. It is great for both during manual cleaning and in preparation for using cleaning machines or ultrasonic cleaners.
Additionally, pegwood is useful for holding down parts, particularly springs, during disassembly and reassembly. This is because it ensures stability and control during intricate tasks.
It is also great for the delicate process of removing and reinserting cap jewel springs. Plus, when tweezers may not be suitable, pegwood comes to the rescue. It an be used to gently nudge parts into place with care and accuracy.
To cater to these diverse tasks, it is advisable to have 2-3 different shaped pegwood sticks. For this, a suitable pen knife is also an essential watchmaking toolkit addition. It can be used for adapting and shaping the end of each pegwood stick which may require a pointed or flat edge. Whenever the tip becomes dirty or worn, a quick reshape will rejuvenate its functionality ensuring continued efficiency throughout the watchmaking process.
Pegwood is very affordable with basic and branded options within a similar price range. You can expect to pay around $5 for a pack of basic watchmaker’s pegwood or up to $15 for a premium brand of the same size pack. This price will fluctuate depending on how many pieces of pegwood are in the pack. Packs usually come in packs of 10 or 24.
Pegwood is an essential tool that you will use regularly. As the price tag is similar for branded as it is for basic, I would recommend opting for the higher quality option.
Tips for Using Watchmakers Pegwood
Some watchmakers recommend using toothpicks instead. However, toothpicks are softer and less durable than pegwood.
Ensure your pegwood is clean and free of dirt or debris before using it. If the tip becomes dirty during use, slice off a few layers with a pen knife to expose a fresh, clean surface.
Use a pen knife or similar tool to shape the end of the pegwood stick to match the task at hand. A pointed tip is suitable for cleaning and precision work whilst a flat tip can provide broader contact for holding or nudging parts.
You will likely need 2-3 pegwood sticks in rotation at any one time. These pegwood sticks should be shaped differently to perform different tasks and saves you having to reshape a stick for each task.
Whilst a 3mm pegwood stick is typically suitable for performing the widest range of watchmaking tasks, it is also advised to have some smaller sizes in your toolkit for my intricate tasks.
Watchmakers Pegwood FAQ
Watchmakers pegwood is typically made from specially selected and dried orangewood that is shaped into a pointed, thin dowel. Higher quality alternatives are made from Swiss beech or hornbeam and provided enhanced durability.ordion content.
Pegwood is a versatile tool that can be used for multiple tasks in watchmaking. Predominantly, it is used for cleaning by clearing dirt and debris. However, it can also be used for holding, positioning and other watchmaking tasks.
There are a wide variety of different types of pegwood and whilst they all perform the same task, more premium options offer greater durability. As there is only a small price difference between basic and premium types of pegwood, a higher-quality branded option is typically the best to buy.
German orangewood has an advantage over Indian orangewood however, the highest quality pegwood is made from Swiss beech or hornbeam.
If you think I’ve missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.