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Lc130

Cleaning balance pivots

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Hi all

I’m a beginner.  I clean parts in a cheap ultrasound.  I usually suffer low amplitude.  I came across a method for cleaning balance pivots that involves scrubbing them with a jewelers rouge coated stick.  Described here https://adjustingvintagewatches.com/cleaning-balance-pivots/

is this generally a recommended cleaning step?  

Thank you

Charlie

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Hi all
I’m a beginner.  I clean parts in a cheap ultrasound.  I usually suffer low amplitude.  I came across a method for cleaning balance pivots that involves scrubbing them with a jewelers rouge coated stick.  Described here https://adjustingvintagewatches.com/cleaning-balance-pivots/
is this generally a recommended cleaning step?  
Thank you
Charlie

I usually clean vintage watch parts in lighter fluid with an art brush. Then I finish it off by tapping the pivot ends with pith wood. Never had an issue. I did look up the method in the web and it would be ok if you didn’t use the lighter fluid at all.


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21 minutes ago, jdrichard said:

I usually clean vintage watch parts in lighter fluid with an art brush. 

What about switching to petroleum ether (naptha) which is basically the same, but cheaper and free of oils, perfumes and other additives that do nothing good in cleaning? 

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Wood cleans pivots real well. You can also put some avgas, lighter fluid or paint thinner on pivots, stick the pivot into a toothpick(  embed the pivot inside  the toothpick)  turn the toothpick, repeat, ready for the ultrasonic bath.   

 

 

 

 

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What about switching to petroleum ether (naptha) which is basically the same, but cheaper and free of oils, perfumes and other additives that do nothing good in cleaning? 

Didn’t think last lighter fluid had oils, perfumes and other additives. I do have a large container of naphtha...just afraid of it.


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Wood cleans pivots real well. You can also put some avgas, lighter fluid or paint thinner on pivots, stick the pivot into a toothpick(  embed the pivot inside  the toothpick)  turn the toothpick, repeat, ready for the ultrasonic bath.   
 
 
 
 

A toothpick could bend the pivot. Pith Wood is the best.


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13 hours ago, jdrichard said:


Didn’t think last lighter fluid had oils, perfumes and other additives. I do have a large container of naphtha...just afraid of it.


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Don't fear it, just respect it.  Its flammable, but that's not a problem if you remember that.  Get some small glass jars with lids that seal and use it.


RMD

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Don't fear it, just respect it.  Its flammable, but that's not a problem if you remember that.  Get some small glass jars with lids that seal and use it.

RMD

Still scarred. I used to use this stuff to clean my guns when I was in the army. No gloves either, naphtha bath they called it.


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20 hours ago, Lc130 said:

scrubbing them with a jewelers rouge coated stick

Your link is very misleading and the description is not quite appropriate. Scrubbing isn't exactly the proper word and cleaning isn't exactly valid either.  Unfortunately you have to read almost to the very end to get this sentence that I'm exactly quoting " To mount the balance, you can place it in a balloon chuck in a lathe or set it in a pivot polisher ".

Then I'm attaching a sort of helpful link to a YouTube video. The video is not entirely correct either sort of but does show a balloon Chuck. So a balloon Chuck allows you to hold the balance wheel in the lathe with only the pivot sticking out so you can work on it. Working on it would mean polishing which is exactly what is described that your link. Possibly reshaping the pivots but hopefully not as aggressive as in the video. Or Reshaping the end of the pivot. Simplistically it's a way of holding a balance wheel to allow you to work on the pivot without destroying the rest of the balance wheel. Then yes if it's a really big American pocket watch you can usually leave the hairspring on as it doesn't seem to bother it.

https://youtu.be/9K0-DVmZjrg

 

In this next link scroll down to "Joseph School of Watch Making" Click on "Unit 4 - Burnishing Balance Pivots"  This also shows the balloon Chuck.

https://www.mybulova.com/vintage-bulova-catalogs

So now go back to the original link read carefully instead of heavy burnishing instead you're going to polish the pivot. So sometimes aggressive burnishing is not required only polishing. 

 

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Your link is very misleading and the description is not quite appropriate. Scrubbing isn't exactly the proper word and cleaning isn't exactly valid either.  Unfortunately you have to read almost to the very end to get this sentence that I'm exactly quoting " To mount the balance, you can place it in a balloon chuck in a lathe or set it in a pivot polisher ".
Then I'm attaching a sort of helpful link to a YouTube video. The video is not entirely correct either sort of but does show a balloon Chuck. So a balloon Chuck allows you to hold the balance wheel in the lathe with only the pivot sticking out so you can work on it. Working on it would mean polishing which is exactly what is described that your link. Possibly reshaping the pivots but hopefully not as aggressive as in the video. Or Reshaping the end of the pivot. Simplistically it's a way of holding a balance wheel to allow you to work on the pivot without destroying the rest of the balance wheel. Then yes if it's a really big American pocket watch you can usually leave the hairspring on as it doesn't seem to bother it.

 
In this next link scroll down to "Joseph School of Watch Making" Click on "Unit 4 - Burnishing Balance Pivots"  This also shows the balloon Chuck.
https://www.mybulova.com/vintage-bulova-catalogs
So now go back to the original link read carefully instead of heavy burnishing instead you're going to polish the pivot. So sometimes aggressive burnishing is not required only polishing. 
 

Hey, thanks for referring my video:)


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18 hours ago, jdrichard said:


A toothpick could bend the pivot. Pith Wood is the best.


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I. stick a tooth pick into the jewel housing to embed the pivot. It pith wood comes or you don,t mind shaving it to a shape that can enter the jewel housing. It is offcourse  better.

To reduce the risk, you can give the tooth pick a few:seconds soak in lighter fluid. 

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1 hour ago, Lc130 said:

I envisioned holding the balance shaft in a pin vise and turning it against the stick.  Won't work?  I'm a beginner:(

Perhaps as a new person we should take a different approach? The first approach would be what is the problem?

So from the a question above you not specify a specific watch it helps if we know exactly what watch were talking about. That's because every single watch is different there like human beings they're all different one approached is not necessarily work for every single one. Then once we find out which watch your having problems with then we look at why do you have low amplitude because it could be a whole variety of things probably not the balance pivots.

Then Spinning the balance in a pin vice against your buffing stick is probably going to not have the desired results depending upon the size of the balance wheel etc. So I really think we should concentrate on where the problem really is. I'm not saying it's not 100% the pivots but we really should look at the individual watch and see what's going on.

 

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Thank you.  The one giving me trouble at the moment is an Orient H9 which I had posted here when I first got it. 

 

After a clean and rebuild, the amplitude is about 180.  When given a puff of air the balance will swing for a few seconds and stop rather quickly.  I've tried recleaning and the jewels look ok to my untrained eye.  I did ensure that the cap jewels are not upside down.

Edited by Lc130

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12 hours ago, Lc130 said:

I envisioned holding the balance shaft in a pin vise and turning it against the stick.  Won't work?  I'm a beginner:(

 

On 10/15/2019 at 1:44 AM, jdrichard said:


Didn’t think last lighter fluid had oils, perfumes and other additives. I do have a large container of naphtha...just afraid of it.


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Flammble or posioneous gases are mixed with bad smelling gases mostly to stink, an  effective warning and copied from nature. A life saver.

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16 hours ago, rduckwor said:

Don't fear it, just respect it.  Its flammable, but that's not a problem if you remember that.  Get some small glass jars with lids that seal and use it.


RMD

Fear is your minds natural warning to danger. Why not remove the unneccesary portion of dangerous stuff from garage. 

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8 hours ago, Lc130 said:

After a clean and rebuild, the amplitude is about 180.  When given a puff of air the balance will swing for a few seconds and stop rather quickly.  I've tried recleaning and the jewels look ok to my untrained eye.  I did ensure that the cap jewels are not upside down.

Cleaning has nothing to do with that, you have a too thigh endshake, or other balance / escapement fault.

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On ‎10‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 5:13 PM, JohnR725 said:

Your link is very misleading and the description is not quite appropriate. Scrubbing isn't exactly the proper word and cleaning isn't exactly valid either.  Unfortunately you have to read almost to the very end to get this sentence that I'm exactly quoting " To mount the balance, you can place it in a balloon chuck in a lathe or set it in a pivot polisher ".

….

So now go back to the original link read carefully instead of heavy burnishing instead you're going to polish the pivot. So sometimes aggressive burnishing is not required only polishing. 

 

I'm a big fan of the adjustingvintagewatches blog. I learned a lot by reading the posts there, especially about poising, and I rate his writing highly. In my opinion, he expresses himself very carefully and precisely (he's a scientist by trade), and seems to know his stuff when it comes to watches, so it would be a surprise to me if he wrote something misleading. I'd really like to understand if what he says about jeweller's rouge is correct or not. To quote the very next sentence after the one in which he mentions the balloon chuck - "But you can also simply freehand it: the wood is soft, and you won’t reshape the pivot with rouge on a stick." He also refers to Fried's "Watch Repairer's Manual", and I checked the reference. In my copy (2nd. edition) he writes about using pegwood charged with rouge to polish pivots. His illustration shows the staff mounted in the split chuck, not a balloon chuck, and he states "A very high luster and polish may be given this pivot without reducing its thickness perceptibly by using a piece of pegwood charged with a mixture of oil and jewelers' rouge." He makes a clear distinction between the effect of rouge and the effect of "active abrasive" or burnishing on the pivot dimensions and shape.

So Paul from AVW is clear that he's using rouge and soft wood to avoid reducing or reshaping the pivots, and only to remove stubborn crusted-on dirt which cleaning solutions and pithwood won't touch. He refers to Fried who says the same. So why do you interpret the suggested use of a balloon chuck, soft wood and rouge as an instruction to impart heavy burnishing? Or am I reading you incorrectly? If it's the use of the term "scrubbing" you object to, then I agree, it's not accurate. But I don't think it's misleading in the context. "Cleaning" seems to be a perfectly appropriate term.

Oh, and I also agree, dirty balance pivots is unlikely to be the cause of Charlie's recurring low amplitude.

After all that, the question I really want to ask is, can you or can you not reduce or re-shape a (steel) balance staff pivot using jeweler's rouge (iron oxide) embedded in wood?

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13 minutes ago, Klassiker said:

After all that, the question I really want to ask is, can you or can you not reduce or re-shape a (steel) balance staff pivot using jeweler's rouge (iron oxide) embedded in wood?

I don't know the answer but may I ask you a question also, my sincere curiosity, have you done any pivot work before (Jacot tool)?
I never did but hope to get at that point of excellence in the future. With or without rouge and wood.

Edited by jdm

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27 minutes ago, Klassiker said:

I'm a big fan of the adjustingvintagewatches blog. I learned a lot by reading the posts there, especially about poising, and I rate his writing highly. In my opinion, he expresses himself very carefully and precisely (he's a scientist by trade), and seems to know his stuff when it comes to watches, so it would be a surprise to me if he wrote something misleading. I'd really like to understand if what he says about jeweller's rouge is correct or not. To quote the very next sentence after the one in which he mentions the balloon chuck - "But you can also simply freehand it: the wood is soft, and you won’t reshape the pivot with rouge on a stick." He also refers to Fried's "Watch Repairer's Manual", and I checked the reference. In my copy (2nd. edition) he writes about using pegwood charged with rouge to polish pivots. His illustration shows the staff mounted in the split chuck, not a balloon chuck, and he states "A very high luster and polish may be given this pivot without reducing its thickness perceptibly by using a piece of pegwood charged with a mixture of oil and jewelers' rouge." He makes a clear distinction between the effect of rouge and the effect of "active abrasive" or burnishing on the pivot dimensions and shape.

So Paul from AVW is clear that he's using rouge and soft wood to avoid reducing or reshaping the pivots, and only to remove stubborn crusted-on dirt which cleaning solutions and pithwood won't touch. He refers to Fried who says the same. So why do you interpret the suggested use of a balloon chuck, soft wood and rouge as an instruction to impart heavy burnishing? Or am I reading you incorrectly? If it's the use of the term "scrubbing" you object to, then I agree, it's not accurate. But I don't think it's misleading in the context. "Cleaning" seems to be a perfectly appropriate term.

Oh, and I also agree, dirty balance pivots is unlikely to be the cause of Charlie's recurring low amplitude.

After all that, the question I really want to ask is, can you or can you not reduce or re-shape a (steel) balance staff pivot using jeweler's rouge (iron oxide) embedded in wood?

I had recurring low amplitude problem, found out the oil I was using on escape teeth is either fake or older than Mr moebius himself. So @Lc130 what oil or amount are you lubiing escape teeth- pallets with?

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Most balance pivots I've worked on are usually clean and since I don't usually dismount the balance from its cock I just install it back in the movement after cleaning.  Just before installing the balance jewels I give them a dab with Rodico to remove any dust and any other stuff and then install the balance jewels. Inspection is very important, any score marks or deformation will require further action.

Anilv

Edited by anilv

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I don't know the answer but may I ask you a question also, my sincere curiosity, have you done any pivot work before (Jacot tool)?
I never did but hope to get at that point of excellence in the future. With or without rouge and wood.

I have.


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9 hours ago, jdm said:

I don't know the answer but may I ask you a question also, my sincere curiosity, have you done any pivot work before (Jacot tool)?
I never did but hope to get at that point of excellence in the future. With or without rouge and wood.

Hi jdm - no I haven't, but in the near future I will. I have a jacot tool, just need to find the time and a few willing victims. I am curious about the original question, which was restricted to cleaning the pivots, not working them in the sense of cutting or burnishing.

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13 hours ago, Klassiker said:

I'm a big fan of the adjustingvintagewatches blog. I learned a lot by reading the posts there, especially about poising, and I rate his writing highly. In my opinion, he expresses himself very carefully and precisely (he's a scientist by trade), and seems to know his stuff when it comes to watches, so it would be a surprise to me if he wrote something misleading. I'd really like to understand if what he says about jeweller's rouge is correct or not. To quote the very next sentence after the one in which he mentions the balloon chuck - "But you can also simply freehand it: the wood is soft, and you won’t reshape the pivot with rouge on a stick." He also refers to Fried's "Watch Repairer's Manual", and I checked the reference. In my copy (2nd. edition) he writes about using pegwood charged with rouge to polish pivots. His illustration shows the staff mounted in the split chuck, not a balloon chuck, and he states "A very high luster and polish may be given this pivot without reducing its thickness perceptibly by using a piece of pegwood charged with a mixture of oil and jewelers' rouge." He makes a clear distinction between the effect of rouge and the effect of "active abrasive" or burnishing on the pivot dimensions and shape.

So Paul from AVW is clear that he's using rouge and soft wood to avoid reducing or reshaping the pivots, and only to remove stubborn crusted-on dirt which cleaning solutions and pithwood won't touch. He refers to Fried who says the same. So why do you interpret the suggested use of a balloon chuck, soft wood and rouge as an instruction to impart heavy burnishing? Or am I reading you incorrectly? If it's the use of the term "scrubbing" you object to, then I agree, it's not accurate. But I don't think it's misleading in the context. "Cleaning" seems to be a perfectly appropriate term.

Oh, and I also agree, dirty balance pivots is unlikely to be the cause of Charlie's recurring low amplitude.

After all that, the question I really want to ask is, can you or can you not reduce or re-shape a (steel) balance staff pivot using jeweler's rouge (iron oxide) embedded in wood?

First off to avoid any complications I've seen his website I like his website I just have problems with this particular page and in relationship to this particular discussion.

Then quoting your text above is a problem in that you're commenting about a whole bunch of things at the same time which is going to make for a very confusing answer possibly and hopefully no one will quote this mess as it will be super complicated it be better to break this up into simple questions and answers.

So this discussion is on "Cleaning balance pivots" .The website is on "Cleaning Balance Staff Pivots"  Then quoting again from his website "But sometimes we need to kick it up a notch. Crusty pivots, like crusty jewels, need a thorough scrubbing. In The Watch Repairer’s Manual (4th ed., 156-157), Fried describes a useful method for scrubbing pivots to a clean and shiny polish without removing metal or changing a pivot’s shape." Then minor nitpicky complaints when quoting from a book that was printed in multiple additions giving the title of the chapter would be helpful for us that have a different addition of the book.

Let's see if I can summarize crusty pivots could someone give me a definition of that? What he is described in your quote on the webpage and Henry's book is a wonderful method of polishing a pivot. My objection is crusty and polishing does not usually turn out well. Polishing is more of a final step when you have a clean pivot.

Then I see I need to improve my reading skills? I see at the very end he does comment you can freehand doing and if he says you can I'm not going to object that he can but I wouldn't. Then it would be really nice if he had shown a picture of the blue and Chuck and the pivot polisher because most people probably have never seen these before.

Then this answer is too long and I don't think I covered everything in your huge quote so I'm going to start another answer

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13 hours ago, Klassiker said:

So Paul from AVW is clear that he's using rouge and soft wood to avoid reducing or reshaping the pivots, and only to remove stubborn crusted-on dirt which cleaning solutions and pithwood won't touch. He refers to Fried who says the same. So why do you interpret the suggested use of a balloon chuck, soft wood and rouge as an instruction to impart heavy burnishing? Or am I reading you incorrectly? If it's the use of the term "scrubbing" you object to, then I agree, it's not accurate. But I don't think it's misleading in the context. "Cleaning" seems to be a perfectly appropriate term.

I should've extracted out each section of your reply like this it might make it easier to read. Polishing in general does not change the shape I have no objection to the method only polishing usually doesn't remove crusty stuff and is a final step not the only step.

Then the reference to the Balloon chock and heavy burnishing? That is in reference to the video in the video the burnishing tool appears to be a clock pivot burnishing tool. A clock burnishing tool is in general way too aggressive on a watch pivot.

 

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As we appear to be somewhat going off subject I will continue with that. The jacot tool mentioned above is an interesting tool. As a young watch student one of the older watchmakers showed me how to use it. So this is what I got out of it to be good you need to practice every day. If you know how to use the tool like he did the polish produced is outstanding and that's a gross understatement. In the absence of that tool and the practice of every day a balloon Chuck works fine.

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