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Cleaning Solutions, UltraSonic and not

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15 hours ago, praezis said:

Do not use naphta at all, it may explode (if it is what we in Germany call 'Benzin')!

I use Elma 9:1 myself and I am satisfied with the results. 2nd jar destillated water, 3rd jar Isopropanol.

Frank

Thanks Frank. Shellite/Naptha is very similar I think to Benzene. It certainly did concern me that an electric motor was running directly above that very flammable solution! What do you do with the pallets and hairspring when it comes to jar 3?

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15 hours ago, Tmuir said:

Shellite is good for the rinse, but you do really need proper cleaning solution for the initial wash.

I use turps 70% to 80% shellite 20% for the first rinse and 100% shellite for final rinse.

At my watch cleaning school we make our own watch cleaning fluid, but its not really practical to make your own for just yourself as some of the active ingredients and very expensive and unless you are making 20 litres or more it isn't worth doing.

Unfortunately there really isn't an alternative to buying the real watch cleaning solution, but save yourself some money and skip buying their rinse.

Where in Australia are you?

Thanks for the tips. I'm in Sydney. Is the fluid you make water based? Do you think running Shellite in the machine/jars is safe given what the other poster has just said, as there is an electric motor running very close and these can generate sparks. This is possibly a 40 year old electric motor and the brushes on these are probably not great.

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I'm in Perth, so the other side of the continent.

I'm yet to get hold of a traditional watch cleaning machine so at the moment just use an ultrasonic cleaner with the fluids, but we use the same fluids in school in a machine like yours.

I can't comment on your specific machine, I will leave that to your own judgement on how safe you feel it is to use it.

The fluid we make for cleaning watches is also identical to the branded cleaning products and is a non water based cleaner.

For clocks I use a water based cleaner, but not for watches.

If you go look up the SDS for L&R cleaning fluids you will see for both their cleaning and rinsing solutions they contain around 20% shellite. (With the rinsing solution basically being 80% turps 20% Shellite)

The only reason I use 100% shellite for my final rinse is it evaporates much faster than the 80% turps 20% shellite mix.

But I am very careful to not to have the heater on and I only use small amounts in a jar in a bath of water that I change for fresh water once it heats up to about 35C with the ultrasonics.

You can probably get away just using the 80% turps, 20% shellite for the first and final rinse as your machine will spin off most of the fluid, something I can't do with an ultrasonic machine, which is a less volatile solution to just straight Shellite.

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L&R #111 Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution is a cleaner and needs to be followed up with a rinse.

L&R #3 Watch Rinsing Solution is a rinse and should follow a cleaning bath.

Neither is an all in one cleaner and rinse combined.

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If you need to save money for the rinse you can follow with the first rinse of 50/50 Turps and Shellite (Lighter fuel - Naphtha ) and a final rinse of just shellite. Just be very careful as Shellite is very volatile so keep an eye of temperature in the solution and don't use a heater.

This is only for if your cleaning solution you are using is a waterless cleaning solution

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The problem I have found when using Turps/lighter fuel/petrol etc is the fumes. A real problem if your workshop is in your house.

For me after a lot of experiments the L&R solutions are the best in terms of cleaning results & they also have very low fumes.

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7 hours ago, clockboy said:

The problem I have found when using Turps/lighter fuel/petrol etc is the fumes. A real problem if your workshop is in your house.

For me after a lot of experiments the L&R solutions are the best in terms of cleaning results & they also have very low fumes.

I use lighter fluid in small plastic pots with a lid - just enough to cover the parts, sat in warm water in my (very small) ultrasonic.

I then 'rinse' using isopropanol as naptha leaves an oily residue.

I don't smell any fumes.

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Although I'm new to this forum, I've been repairing pocket watches under the guidance of Donald De Carle and various blogs for some time - I have always utilised an ultrasonic cleaner and various solutions produced specifically for use in ultrasonic machines when cleaning components, but I'm beginning to grow tired of my shed reeking of ammonia, as well as the general expense of these solutions, and the often poor results (this is perhaps largely due to it being a very cheap ultrasonic cleaner).

I've decided that it may prove better to stick to the traditional and time-honoured method of using benzine (also known as 'petroleum ether', easily found on a well known internet auction site using those search terms) and various brushes/pith/pegwood - This is covered fairly comprehensively in De Carle's 'Practical Watch Repairing', and allows you to be a little more meticulous (although it's time consuming) in the cleaning of components. 

Will the benzine damage shellac/pallet jewels if exposed too long, or is it relatively safe to use it for brief periods? 

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57 minutes ago, TheVinylTrain said:

Although I'm new to this forum, I've been repairing pocket watches under the guidance of Donald De Carle and various blogs for some time - I have always utilised an ultrasonic cleaner and various solutions produced specifically for use in ultrasonic machines when cleaning components, but I'm beginning to grow tired of my shed reeking of ammonia, as well as the general expense of these solutions, and the often poor results (this is perhaps largely due to it being a very cheap ultrasonic cleaner).

I've decided that it may prove better to stick to the traditional and time-honoured method of using benzine (also known as 'petroleum ether', easily found on a well known internet auction site using those search terms) and various brushes/pith/pegwood - This is covered fairly comprehensively in De Carle's 'Practical Watch Repairing', and allows you to be a little more meticulous (although it's time consuming) in the cleaning of components. 

Will the benzine damage shellac/pallet jewels if exposed too long, or is it relatively safe to use it for brief periods? 

I've used naptha for a long time on all types of mechanical watches and have never had a problem with the pallet jewels. The pallet stones should still be cleaned in ultrasonic solution as naptha doesn't dissolve dirt or dried/caked oils. I'n my experience, naptha or VM&P naptha, is best used as a final rinse because it dries quickly and with no residue.

 

J

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13 hours ago, TheVinylTrain said:

This is covered fairly comprehensively in De Carle's 'Practical Watch Repairing', and allows you to be a little more meticulous (although it's time consuming) in the cleaning of components. 

Will the benzine damage shellac/pallet jewels if exposed too long, or is it relatively safe to use it for brief periods? 

Or course is is safe, otherwise De Carle and all the other watchmakers of the past and present would not have used and recommended it. There are various threads on the subject already, easy to find using the search box right.

Edited by jdm

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I clean all the parts in naptha in the ultrasonic, as it does not dissolve shellac. I then use isopropanol to remove the oily residue, but for the pallet and balance, I only do a few seconds in the ultrasonic as it does dissolve shellac.

I'll drop an old pallet in some isopropanol in the ultrasonic and time how long it takes to dissolve the shellac.

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22 hours ago, mikepilk said:

I clean all the parts in naptha in the ultrasonic, as it does not dissolve shellac. I then use isopropanol to remove the oily residue, but for the pallet and balance, I only do a few seconds in the ultrasonic as it does dissolve shellac.

Same here, but for an quicker way, tried rectified benzine (or petroleum), which leaves no residue. Interestingly, I could not find a direct hit or common name for English speaking countries, but is easy to find in mine, where it's even sold in pharmacies, to be used as solvent, or stain remover. Material houses also carry it.

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2 hours ago, jdm said:

Same here, but for an quicker way, tried rectified benzine (or petroleum), which leaves no residue. Interestingly, I could not find a direct hit or common name for English speaking countries, but is easy to find in mine, where it's even sold in pharmacies, to be used as solvent, or stain remover. Material houses also carry it.

I've never heard of rectified benzine in the UK. I wasn't aware of benzine, only benzene, which is an additive to petrol and carcinogenic, so stuff to keep clear of.

The term Naptha seems to cover all sorts of petroleum distillates. All very confusing.

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2 minutes ago, mikepilk said:

I've never heard of rectified benzine in the UK. I wasn't aware of benzine, only benzene, which is an additive to petrol and carcinogenic, so stuff to keep clear of.

The term Naptha seems to cover all sorts of petroleum distillates. All very confusing.

Yes, petroleum names are for utter confusion. For the chemist https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_ether In the end we're talking about rectified version of what in Argentina at the pump it's called naptha. Gasoline in the US. Petrol in the UK. Benzine in my EU country. Essence in France.

 

 

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1 hour ago, mikepilk said:

I've never heard of rectified benzine in the UK. I wasn't aware of benzine, only benzene, which is an additive to petrol and carcinogenic, so stuff to keep clear of.

The term Naptha seems to cover all sorts of petroleum distillates. All very confusing.

Assuming we can post links on this forum, this is what I'm using: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Petroleum-Ether-40-C-60-C-1-Litre-Petroleum-Spirit-Same-Day-Shipment-/141226080247?hash=item20e1baf7f7, since I only repair four or five watches a year (just as a hobby). 

I chose one with a lower boiling point, since my chemist friend tells me that although it's a little more volatile (it's EXTREMELY flammable and should definitely only be used well-ventilated/away from sources of ignition - I even go as far as only using it in natural light), it proves a better solvent. It's frustrating that they attach the label 'petroleum spirit' to the listing, which makes me think of glorified paint thinner, but from my understanding, it's a little more refined (distilled to a greater extent) version of the same thing. 

Although both harmful, definitely best not to confuse it with benzene, haha. 

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