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Starrett Last Word Indicator Repair Manual


We are a do-it-yourself nation. We install our own flooring, our own plumbing, our own doorbells, and when something breaks, we fix it ourselves. Over the years, local hardware stores have provided us with tools, nuts and bolts, glues and paint, and it was a good place to share experiences and know-how. YouTube is now a preferred resource of practical information and the mega stores peppered throughout the States have made it almost unnecessary to obtain the help of professionals in any field… or has it?

Most of us no longer bother trying to fix a toaster that no longer toasts, or a vacuum cleaner that leaves dust bunnies safe and sound. We run out and support the economy, even if it is an Asian one, and simply replace with the latest and the greatest.

American made Starrett Last Word indicators have been around longer than most people who are alive today. Why are we so determined to repair these gages when a new one is only a click away at Amazon? It’s our do-it-yourself nature resurfacing. We like to fix things.

My father taught me to repair the Last Word indicator in 1980 after he had already had 20 years of experience himself. His first demonstration included all the possible problems I could run into. As a result, it took me six hours to repair my first indicator when he could do one in 15 minutes. Naturally, I looked for every one of those possible problems when, in fact, I would rarely run into even one complication.

On Starrett indicators, the real trouble begins when you have to replace a part. I like to think that Starrett never heard of the Interchangeable Parts Theory of Henry Ford. You will find yourself having to custom fit many replacement parts. A time consuming prospect. Keep in mind that sometimes, as far as the Last Word indicator is concerned, less is more.

And so, I take my place at the counter of a local hardware store of bygone days, and share my experiences with Last Word repairs and, just as my father did, I will tell you way more than you probably need to know.

Let’s get started…

Our 77-page fully illustrated repair manual for the Starrett Last Word indicator is now available: Starrett 711 Last Word Indicator Repair Manual

Table of Contents

  • Introduction … 4
  • Tools you will need … 5
  • Can it be fixed? … 6
  • Disassembly … 7
  • How to remove the bezel and crystal … 9
  • Cleaning … 16
  • Reassembly … 19
  • Replacing a broken jewel … 25
  • Replacing the hair spring … 32
  • When there is no up and down clearance in the spiral pinion … 38
  • Installing the lever assembly … 40
  • When the pivot screw is loose … 42
  • When the contact point is loose … 43
  • Checking the engagement of the lever assembly … 45
  • What happens if the jewel is too far down … 45
  • Setting the hair spring tension … 46
  • Reshaping a damaged dial … 48
  • Repairing a damaged bezel … 53
  • Congratulations! Your repair is complete … 59
  • What does it cost? … 59
  • Calibration … 60
  • The Professional Touch … 61
  • Spare parts breakdown … 62
  • Illustrated Spare Parts … 65
  • Other books which you will find useful … 77

What readers have said:

"Your books are very well written. I was able to repair five Last Word Indicators here at the shop thanks to you! These would have been trashed otherwise. Can't thank you enough. I can see your point in bringing life back to something made in the 60's and 70's as these were, and the fun in using them again as if they are new. I used the old dials and polished the plastic lenses to like new condition and the patina metal looks boss. Without your help, would have never happened!" [Ralph F., New Jersey]

Companion Reference Guide for Test Indicators
$19.50 Now available at


Caution if buying from Amazon: their product images sometimes do not match the product description. Read carefully!

Companion Reference Guide for Test Indicators
$19.50 Now available at

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