Pegwood - The Essential Basic Tools of Watchmaking
Pegwood is a special type of wooden stick used regularly by watchmakers. It works well because the wood is hard enough to remove dirt but not too hard that it will damage the movement.
Pegwood is used for a number of tasks within the watchmaking process, but the five main uses I've found are:
cleaning out jewel/non-jewel pivot holes;
scraping off oil/gunk from watch parts if cleaning parts manually and/or before putting parts through a watch cleaning machine or ultrasonic cleaner;
holding down parts, especially springs during disassembly and reassembly;
removing and reinserting cap jewel springs;
gently nudging parts into place where tweezers are not a suitable option.
Like me, you will probably find you need 2-3 differently shaped pegwood sticks for all of the above purposes. A suitable pen knife is essential to adapt and shape the end of each pegwood stick; the two most common shapes are a pointed edge and a flat edge. As the end becomes dirty you simply use the pen knife to slice off a few layers and re-shape.
Some watchmakers compromise and use toothpicks instead, but these are not as hard and durable as pegwood.
Pegwood can be purchased in different diameters of 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5 or 6mm. I've found that a 3mm diameter is the most suitable for my needs, although 2 or 2.5mm may be more suitable for removing and reinserting cap jewel springs. They tend to always come in 150mm lengths.
They are also available in different materials and qualities, Indian orangewood being at the budget end, followed by German orangewood, then Swiss beech or hornbeam at the higher end. I've also seen plastic variants that come pre-shaped.
Rough Cost: Basic Variety = from £3 for a pack of 24
Branded Variety = from £5.50 for a pack of 10
Recommendation: These are most definitely an essential tool that you will use regularly and that last for a long time, so go for a branded quality option.
If you think I've missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.