Jump to content
Legarm

Cleaning Solutions, UltraSonic and not

Recommended Posts

I clean the balance and hairspring mounted on the main plate. I rinse off the cleaner by submerging the plate in a basin of water at 50 degrees centigrade for about ten seconds, then blow off the excess water with a puffer. The plate is then placed in a container with alcohol and agitated with the puffer for about thirty seconds. I then remove the plate and place the plate onto a folded piece of kitchen roll to absorb the majority of the alcohol and gently use the puffer to blow air on the balance until it starts to swing correctly. At this point I remove the balance from the plate and store it separately until assembly. It is only at the point of assembly that I remove the balance jewels and clean them separately in lighter fuel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I clean the balance and hairspring mounted on the main plate. I rinse off the cleaner by submerging the plate in a basin of water at 50 degrees centigrade for about ten seconds, then blow off the excess water with a puffer. The plate is then placed in a container with alcohol and agitated with the puffer for about thirty seconds. I then remove the plate and place the plate onto a folded piece of kitchen roll to absorb the majority of the alcohol and gently use the puffer to blow air on the balance until it starts to swing correctly. At this point I remove the balance from the plate and store it separately until assembly. It is only at the point of assembly that I remove the balance jewels and clean them separately in lighter fuel.

Thanks for the detailed steps Geo, I assumed that would be the way to go, leaving the balance on the mainplate etc.. Just got confused, as Bogdan suggested not to clean the balance in alcohol.

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do not soak the balance for any great length of time if you will could have a problem with the roller jewel. That's why I say to dip it only for seconds before puffing it dry.

PS I have been doing this for years when cleaning parts in the ultrasonic tank and have never had a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have a question @Geo.

 

You clean the balance assembly put on the main plate and only at the end you take off the balance jewels and clean them separately.

 

How are you sure that you sufficiently cleaned the balance pivots. I believe hardened oil and dirt could remain on it (between it and the jewels). This is why, if I had a machine, I would wash the ballance on the main plate, but without the jewels on.

 

Thank you,

Bogdan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bogdan.

If it is a really dirty watch that hasn't been serviced for years I will strip the movement completely then soak all parts overnight in naphtha (lighter fuel) to soften any hard oily deposits. This includes the main plate and balance assembly as separate units. The next day I will attach the balance to the main plate complete with balance jewels and clean them in the ultrasonic tank with ammoniated cleaner at 50 degrees centigrade for five minute, then rinse as previously described. This has always given a good result, and I feel that it is due to the pivots vibrating inside the jewels which aids the cleaning process. It will have a pistoning effect that I imagine should help wash out the muck.

After this process, I remove the jewels and give them another clean in naphtha just for good measure.

I might be completely wrong with my assumption, but the process does work with great results for me. Before using this technique, I had the odd issue with jewels and residual muck.

There are some watchmakers that do recommend removing the jewels as you described, but I don't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This really has been extremely enlightening. Think I've finally got my head round the cleaning cycles & can see where I've been going wrong. It may even shed light on some of the issues I've had in the past. Thanks guys

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like George I have been getting on OK with Naptha for a while now and I use Isapropanol for the final rinse but my stuff is small scale as I don't really have a need to do anything in bulk. I do treat the pallets separately.

Cheers,

Vic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently bought a watch cleaning machine from a retired watchmaker, when I collected the machine the jars already contained solution, the watchmaker told me the rinse jars contained isopropanol. I did ask him what effect on the shellac holding the pallet jewels would the isopropanol have, saying I would be worried that it would dissolve. He said he had used it since Benzine had been unavailable to use, and as long as I rinsed for no more than 15min in each wash there would not be a problem. He also said it was very quick to evaporate in the drying stage and left no residue.

 

I have ordered new cleaning solution and rinse solution from Quadralene and intend to use these.

 

I have though cleaned 4 watches last week in the solutions in the machine and have not had a problem.

 

Today I decided to test and see how long it took to actually dissolve the shellac,

before_zpsucftxlfh.jpg

 

 

The image above shows 3 Russian and one Swiss set of pallets and the shellac can clearly be seen. I have been using the solution for 15min each rinse and have not had a problem so I put the pallets in a isopropanol rinse for 1hr  to see what effect it had

after_zpsrbal1bqq.jpg

 

On the Russian pallets it has greatly degraded the shellac and almost totally washed it away on one, but on the Swiss pallets it has not even touched the shellac on those.

I will not use isopropanol again in a cleaning machine and intend to try a similar test with the Quadralene rinse to see how shellac friendly that is because the data sheet doesn't specify what ingredients are in it, but quadralene did tell me they have many watchmakers who buy their rinse and have not had any problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 19/10/2015 at 4:26 PM, wls1971 said:

I recently bought a watch cleaning machine from a retired watchmaker, when I collected the machine the jars already contained solution, the watchmaker told me the rinse jars contained isopropanol. I did ask him what effect on the shellac holding the pallet jewels would the isopropanol have, saying I would be worried that it would dissolve. He said he had used it since Benzine had been unavailable to use, and as long as I rinsed for no more than 15min in each wash there would not be a problem. He also said it was very quick to evaporate in the drying stage and left no residue.

I have ordered new cleaning solution and rinse solution from Quadralene and intend to use these.

I have though cleaned 4 watches last week in the solutions in the machine and have not had a problem.

Today I decided to test and see how long it took to actually dissolve the shellac,

 

The image above shows 3 Russian and one Swiss set of pallets and the shellac can clearly be seen. I have been using the solution for 15min each rinse and have not had a problem so I put the pallets in a isopropanol rinse for 1hr to see what effect it had

 

On the Russian pallets it has greatly degraded the shellac and almost totally washed it away on one, but on the Swiss pallets it has not even touched the shellac on those.

I will not use isopropanol again in a cleaning machine and intend to try a similar test with the Quadralene rinse to see how shellac friendly that is because the data sheet doesn't specify what ingredients are in it, but quadralene did tell me they have many watchmakers who buy their rinse and have not had any problems.

Great test & thanks for your sacrifice. It really does prove how in the wrong hands & without the correct information you could be left with a big problem.

Edited by jdm
Please don't include pictures in quoting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to WLS1971,

 

This chestnut has been discussed a lot on the forum but we now have some evidence thanks to your efforts.  Interesting how the shellac seemed to be of differing composition between Russian and Swiss.

 

Cheers,

 

Vic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think isopropanol is safe to use if cleaning by hand for short periods, but I wouldn't use it in the machine again, the information given to me is probably correct in that 30 min exposure to isopropanol has little effect but at some point beyond that it softens the shellac, and once it's at that point it would attack it very quickly in the cleaning machine because of the constant agitation..

 

Why the shellac on the Swiss pallets was not effected I don't know they had exactly the same exposure as the Russian ones.

 

I cleaned last week a Sekonda pocket watch a Cyma pocket watch a Regency wristwatch with FHF movement and a ladies Lanco the exposure they received was 15min each rinse and there was no problem.

 

The only conclusion to be drawn from the test is avoid its use in a cleaning machine and don't soak or rinse beyond 30mins as a max which wouldn't happen any way if cleaning by hand unless you where distracted or forgot and left them too long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to add when isopropanol dissolved the shellac on a pallet and balance impulse Jewel of mine , (mentioned above) this was 2 separate occasions and they were only in the solution for 480 seconds , the max setting on my ultrasonic cleaner.

They were Swiss movements , so whether it was a case that the vibrations from the ultrasonic loosened them or maybe the isopropanol was to pure at 99.9% I don't know , but I don't do use it anymore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's interesting Andy, it's probably the extreme ultrasonic vibrations that exacerbated the problem. I only use it as a final rinse by dropping the parts in a jar of the stuff for about 30 seconds, I never use it in the ultrasonic bath.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's interesting Andy, it's probably the extreme ultrasonic vibrations that exacerbated the problem. I only use it as a final rinse by dropping the parts in a jar of the stuff for about 30 seconds, I never use it in the ultrasonic bath.

Thats what i'm guessing Geo if people are using it for 15mins at a time without issue, i've still got the stuff , i'll experiment again using it as you do just as the final short rinse 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Everyone,

 

I am looking for a watch cleaning solution to rinse some pocket watch movement parts in. I do not have a ultrasonic cleaning machine. Would soaking the parts in an "ultrasonic" labeled cleaning solution work? Thank you very much!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

darthdosh, I think you are getting too technical for me. :)

 

I would also recommend not to smoke while working on watches even if you are not using any of the different chemicals (for cleaning, lubing and other stuff), a small amount of cinder or any other debris from a cigar/cigarette can contaminate your work...anything can contaminate your work and your workplace. You must strive for a clean, dust free environment.

 

Cheers

 

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Dont know the longevity of watch straps as I have many watches and wear them at infrequent intervals but I can tell you about leather as I'm into leather as well as watches and I've made belts, wallets, bags, watch straps, purses etc. There are many different kinds of leather with the most durable and hardest to cut being stingray which also is the most expensive. I dulled a blade cutting 1 watch strap then there is alligator, croco, caiman, buffalo, cow, pig etc. and there are many different ways of tanning the leather. Tanneries can tan the same leather and produce soft or hard leather, leather with a grain etc. Full grain leather is the whole thickness of the leather and is the best. Top grain is the top layer of the leather after it has been split to make it thinner and produces the top grain and suede then there are the various fakes starting with PU leather which utilizes the suede left over from making top grain leather. They basically coat the suede with polyurethane to make it look like leather. If you ever bought a cheap belt and after a month it cracked on the top layer this is what you have. The suede part will hold up but the PU part cracked. then there is leatherette and another form of leather where they take the scraps, grind them up and combine with a glue and I think they call this genuine leather. A leather watch strap that is sewn together would be made from top grain leather on top or alligator or whatever and on the bottom a softer, more comfortable leather such as pigskin. Pigskin can last many years, I have a shoe lined with pigskin that I have for about 20 yrs. I put 5-7km on it daily and its lasted. 
    • Hello everyone, I have a quick question on the video i referenced above. At the end Mark discussion about dynamic poising. He shows seven different positions results but at the end  he just has three which is dial up, Pendant Down and Pendant forward(which im assuming is pendant up). My question is are you only supposed to adjust the watch in other positions to ultimately have these three positions the only ones that matter? Other question is what are the most important positions you should adjust for when it comes to wrist watches and pocket watches? I think I might be spending way to much time worrying about adjusting other positions on watch when i really dont have to be. I also know it all depends on the type of watch but if someone could give me like their general rules when it comes to this that would be great.   Thanks
    • I have this Hamilton 974 pocket watch. It is running strong however the minute hand move stops at 12:05 everytime it is set at 12 o'clock (the watch keeps running after the hand stops). I've replaced the cannon pinion, and the center wheel (center wheel was a tiny bit bent which I thought was the problem). I've watched it running and all of the train wheels are moving but the hands are still stopped. Any ideas?
    • I don't have the tool with me unfortunately but I think all that was there is pictured. I think it is just whatever cutting tool that is described in the images that is missing. The top part of the Mimo tool is separate to the lower part which is labelled 1CR1, and the top part rotates freely on the base. The red balance wheel holders are then placed on the top of the tool. The first image in the patent is a vertical cross section through the two parts of tool, illustrating the bearing surfaces.    
    • Interesting tool. Are there any other parts in the box? Are any hidden under the one marked "Mimo"? It just seems that something, or things, are missing, relative to the patent. I'd be interested to see the side view, and perhaps the other side of the "Mimo" part. Good job on tracking down some info on it. It looks like it might do well, providing it is complete. Cheers.
×
×
  • Create New...