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kmcderm133

Rusty New York Standard from Ebay...

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So, while waiting to fix the Seiko misadventures of my youth, I went looking for broken pocket watch movements on ebay. (I had read somewhere that a good way to start is clocks for their larger parts, then pocket watches as an intermediate stage and then wristwatches for the smallest movements and parts.) After losing several auctions for promising non-working pocket watches I found a New York Standard possibly "Model 11". It was mostly disassembled and there is much rust/corrosion. I think it's missing at least the clutch, for example. It needs new hands, but this isn't impossible. The main problem here is the rust. It looks like someone disassembled this watch on purpose but I don't know how it came to be so rusted. (Maybe it was parted out? It would be nice to have a tech book on this watch.) 

So I've been looking over rust removal methods. One video says to use water and baking soda with a brush. Many advocate the use of a "solvent" without being very specific. I have a .pdf of a 1940's War Dept. Technical Manual for watch repair. (you know, for when you're in a trench and taking fire and need to know what time it is but your watch is broken) Among other things this book recommends using pith and I think maybe pegwood as well as solvents or the like that are only referred to by what I think are military requisition numbers.

 My circumstances are such that I can't afford a sonic jewelry cleaner, and I don't have a dedicated work area and limited storage for tools. The baking soda method appeals to me but I think this works mostly by abrasion, the baking soda being gritty. I'm afraid this could damage smaller parts. I could upload pictures if anyone's interested. 

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i dont think  a sonic cleaner is going to do much with rust or pitting.  i use isopropel  alcohol and elbow grease.    the military repair manual sounds VERY inreresting !!  what is the volume number - if i may ask?  "watches in the trench",   when you run out of ammo,   throw the watch at um.  vin

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vinegar takes the rust out down to the pits.it is actually a very weak acid. it might take a few days . change the vinegar  about twice a day lightly brushing the parts when you do. no elbow grease required. try it out on something else first , see if you like the results.

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3 hours ago, vinn3 said:

i dont think  a sonic cleaner is going to do much with rust or pitting.  i use isopropel  alcohol and elbow grease.    the military repair manual sounds VERY inreresting !!  what is the volume number - if i may ask?  "watches in the trench",   when you run out of ammo,   throw the watch at um.  vin

I might try the alcohol on at least one piece, see what happens. In fact I have some 99% isopropyl alcohol that I use for cleaning electronics. There's a minimum of water in it and I have an old toothbrush dedicated to that use.

The military repair manual has a couple of alphanumerics on the front page, the more prominent being "TM 9-1575" and the second being "TO 05-35A--22". I'm pretty sure it's in the public domain both from being a non-classified military handbook (about watch repair, no less) and being published in 1945. I don't remember where I downloaded it from, is there a place on this website where I can upload it?

2 hours ago, yankeedog said:

vinegar takes the rust out down to the pits.it is actually a very weak acid. it might take a few days . change the vinegar  about twice a day lightly brushing the parts when you do. no elbow grease required. try it out on something else first , see if you like the results.

I might select a piece and try the vinegar on it. I have reservations about that though: I've used vinegar to etch a sword blade, and part of what this did was remove the edge as it was removing metal. With precision watch parts I'm a bit worried that they'll be eroded to a point where they don't fit anymore. Is there a chance that could happen here?

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  thanks for the manual number.  there is a Gov.  site just for manuals ! havent used the site for years,  last time i got optics repairs ( binocular repair)  and a full  manual on valve seat grinding.  cheers,  vin

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I think if the parts are sufficiently rusted, they could be ruined any way, there,s not way of telling for sure until the rust is removed.there will be a change in the finish of the part, thats for sure, the appearance will be altered.but it will not be rusty. rust removal has to be either mechanical or chemical in either process there will be some unavoidable removal of base metal. I just think that vinegar removal is the mildest and least damaging. however,Your concerns of excess erosion are well founded. perhaps a two pronged approach is in order. on any rusty piece you are bound to have some rust that is loose and some that is still bound to the surface.maybe a soak in wd 40 or some other penetrating oil will loosen it to the point where most of it can be brushed away. then do a vinegar dip,or maybe cut the vinegar 50% with distilled water to reduce it's acidity.

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another possibility is  to phosphate the parts. there is a product called ospho.which contains phosphoric acid.. which is found in coke and pepsi.it binds with iron oxide to form iron phosphate and allows no further oxidation.the parts come out blackish, something like parkerizing. your parts might look like they belong on an M14, but they shouldn't rust. its just something to consider. I have not tried it on watch parts, but I have used it on gun parts, admittedly parts fit is not as critical.it is sometimes called cold bluing.

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I think for now I'm going to wait until after a family event this weekend and then try one piece in vinegar and try the alcohol on another made from a similar metal. I'll take before and after photos. 

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