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Cleaning Solutions, UltraSonic and not

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I tried using water and it had two big issues. First, water melted the shellac. I couldn't believe it and thought it was heat. But I ran the same pallet fork in mineral spirits and it was fine. It could be the detergent and ammonia solution I used, but again I need to confirm it.

Edit: turns out it was the detergent and ammonia I was using. This woodworker dissolved shellac in water using borax which is a common detergent. Since I also added ammonia, it probably made te situation worse. Learn new things everyday...

Edit2:  Another thread. A chemist mentioned using ammonia would dissolve shellac.

Second, sometimes I leaves parts in the cleaner for long periods of time because I forget or need to do something. Turns out mineral spirit and water separate each other. You end up with a pool of water at the bottom and you end up rusting parts because of that.

Acetone dissolves water since they are both polar. Seems like that's a better choice for a rinse if you want to use water based cleaners.

Edited by dieale2

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On 8/29/2018 at 8:30 AM, Watchtime said:

a friend of mine who is a professional watchmaker in germany uses isopropanol for mvts, nothing else.

 

I haven't followed this thread in detail but in my experience isopropanol dissolves the shellac pretty quickly. I've ruined a few pallet forks that way forgetting to pick'em up quickly enough from my final rinse.

BTW, is the correct terminology "shellac" or "resin"? I believe Mark Lovick uses the term resin.

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I know this thread is about cleaning solutions, but I'd just like to chip in that in my (limited) experience mechanical cleaning is an absolute must as a complement to reach a clinical state. To this end, my fibreglass scratch brush is my most valued tool. I'm always amazed by how effective, still gentle, it is, for example removing rust, hard to remove dirt, and corrosion from wheel pinions, arbors, teeth, and pivots. After my US cleaning (chemically pure gasoline, isopropanyl, etc.) I'm often surprised to see how unclean certain parts are through my stereo microscope, especially the train wheels.

Edited by VWatchie

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+1 to that. Ultrasonic and chemical cleaning will remove a heck of a lot of "stuff", but there are times when a bit of manual intervention is necessary. I have a brass, steel and fiberglass scratch pen set (cheap 'n Chinese, from ebay,  as is everything these days it seems). The brass pen works well on stainless cases, as it is softer than the steel, so doesn't scratch the finish, but will remove even the most stubborn bits of ancient DNA and fossilized chicken soup.

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