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Acetone will dissolve shellac so avoid cleaning pallet forks and balance wheels with this.

I use lighter fluid (zippo/ronsonol) and swirl it around in a little cup while brushing with a cut-down paint brush (stiff artist type). Then inspect and clean with pegwood, especially the pivot holes and gear teeth followed by a second rinse in the lighter fluid.

Nothing beats a cleaning machine but for a hobbyist cleaning by hand is a cost-effective alternative.

Anilv

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6 hours ago, anilv said:

. use lighter fluid (zippo/ronsonol) and swirl it around in a little cup while brushing with a cut-down paint brush (stiff artist type). Then inspect and clean with pegwood, especially the pivot holes and gear teeth followed by a second rinse in the lighter fluid.

I recommend against lighter fluid. It is formulated to burn clean and smell good, not to clean parts. If you like to use a petrol solution use refined petroleum ether as mentioned earlier.

Topic merged as it's essentially the same subject.

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I cleaned a Tissot 784-2  hairspring 4 times in lighter fluid and still sticks together. Used a brush and cleaned the hairspring under the microscope  with acetone. Let i dry and now it's running good.  There are some hairspring cleaning fluids out there. But many of them use tricloretylene which is no good for the health. So i stick with my method 

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45 minutes ago, rogart63 said:

I cleaned a Tissot 784-2  hairspring 4 times in lighter fluid and still sticks together.

Lighter fuel is made to burn easy and smell good, not to clean parts. As a direct replacement I recommend petroleum ether which is highly refined. I think I wrote this five times this week only. 

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2 hours ago, jdm said:

Lighter fuel is made to burn easy and smell good, not to clean parts. As a direct replacement I recommend petroleum ether which is highly refined. I think I wrote this five times this week only. 

But I know that many people clean there movement parts in Zippo or similar.  I use Elma and Iso. But not  for the balance and pallet fork.   Is petroleum ether the same as  clean chemical petroleum. 

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36 minutes ago, rogart63 said:

(---) Is petroleum ether the same as  clean chemical petroleum. 

1

I'd really like to know as well. Not living in an English speaking country I often find it near impossible to translate the English names for various petroleum products into something meaningful in my own language. Google translate isn't much help in this context translating verbatim. And, to make matters worse, most horological suppliers (like CousinsUK) aren't allowed to ship anything flammable to Sweden. How do you get hold of this stuff if you don't live in a large country like USA, England, Germany, France, and so on? There just aren't any local suppliers, at least none that I've been able to find.

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It’s more complicated than that.hexanes and pentanes. Short chain chemical composts. Best shortcut is to identify yourself as a restorer, and get the pure products they use and favour. For example, when cleaning oil paint, a mixture of acetone, xilene, hexane and so on is always around..
This is what I got:17f7401dd89b258aef9668c4d09efe94.jpg

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The impulse jewel on the balance is held in place by shellac generally (maybe on newer watches they use a synthetic glue) and this can be dissolved by acetone/thinner etc.

In de Carle's  book he mentions drying the balance in a tin of wood shavings. I can see the benefits of this for contaminated hairsprings as the wood shavings will wick away the cleaning fluid as well as the oil.

Anilv

 

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16 hours ago, rogart63 said:

But I know that many people clean there movement parts in Zippo or similar.  I use Elma and Iso. But not  for the balance and pallet fork.   Is petroleum ether the same as  clean chemical petroleum. 

  alcohol ----  isopropyl is what the industry uses,   avaible everywhere.   why use lighter fluid ?  your watch problem  lays in other areas.

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On 7/31/2018 at 10:51 PM, VWatchie said:

. And, to make matters worse, most horological suppliers (like CousinsUK) aren't allowed to ship anything flammable to Sweden.

Cousins poor shipping limitations derives probably from lack of understanding of the actual shipping regulations (which can vary from one service to another) so when in doubt they choose not to ship overseas. For example, if an UK seller can ship practically worldwide, then Cousins could as well. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Petroleum-Ether-80-C-100-C-500ml-Petroleum-Spirit-Shipped-Same-Day/142061406816

Note, the above is just an example, because the cost is prohibitive anyway. And if you read the description you'll find the other most common English names of what, in the end, is basically spark engine fuel.

Also note, all these petrol derivatives do not dissolve shellac.

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3 hours ago, vinn3 said:

  alcohol ----  isopropyl is what the industry uses,   avaible everywhere.   why use lighter fluid ?  your watch problem  lays in other areas.

Please read my post properly @vinn3 How said i have problems?  But if you read on different forums you see that others use lighter fluid or naptha or whatever it's called to clean the movements.  But this an everlasting question on many forums. 

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2 hours ago, rogart63 said:

But if you read on different forums you see that others use lighter fluid or naptha or whatever it's called to clean the movements.  But this an everlasting question on many forums. 

I think that's because it's recommended in old books like DeCarle which is then blindly followed. But since then the world has evolved and many more products have become easily available. 

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20 hours ago, jdm said:

I think that's because it's recommended in old books like DeCarle which is then blindly followed. But since then the world has evolved and many more products have become easily available. 

  in de Carle first book there were not many choices of a solvent at that time,  for dealing a with glue used (shellac). you are quite right there.   it is a chemists' problem.       so,   if you take the pallet fork out;   what is the best solvent for watch cleaning?    I have used isopropyl for years for its cleaning ability .  vin

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If you look at the commercial cleaning fluids such as L&H watch cleaning solution.

http://www.lrultrasonics.com/msds/111 Ultrasonic Watch Cleaning Solution.pdf

You will see one of the main ingredients is Naptha, or as it is called in Australia Shellite (Or commonly called lighter fluid). If it is called something else in other countries on its MSDS (or SDS) it will also be identified by its CAS number 64742-89-8

A CAS Registry Number, also referred to as CASRN or CAS Number, is a unique numerical identifier assigned by the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) to every chemical substance described in the open scientific literature.

So if you want to find a chemical that is called one name in the USA or UK and you don't know what it is called locally find an MSDS and look up the CAS number this will help you identify it.

For those interested here is a list of the chemicals used in some of the commercial cleaner, as you can see each has a set purpose and it is the combination of all these chemicals that do the job, this is why Napha, or IPA alone wont do as a good a job, but is still better than nothing if its all you have.

The percentage used of each chemical gets lower as you go down the list.

Mineral Turps - degreaser of waxes and polish

Shelite (Naptha) - another degreaser

Olecic acid - emulsifying agent

iso propyl alcohol - solvent and drying agent

2 - propoxyethanol - solvent highly active

monoethanolamine - corrosion inhibitor

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tmuir said:

You will see one of the main ingredients is Naptha, or as it is called in Australia Shellite (Or commonly called lighter fluid). If it is called something else in other countries on its MSDS (or SDS) it will also be identified by its CAS number 64742-89-8

CAS 64742-89-8 is Petroleum Ether as I've been saying here since a couple of years now.
https://www.chemicalbook.com/ProductChemicalPropertiesCB5248177_EN.htm

Lighter fluid can be very similar but I don't think it's exactly the same. It's made to burn, not to clean

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 CAS 64742-89-8 is also called Naptha. Commonly available in the U.S. as Varnish Makers & Painters (VM&P) Naptha. It's a petroleum distillate, i.e. distilled from crude oil. Someone familiar with distillation might call it a "cut",  or collection at a specific point in the column, that gives it certain properties.

It works, I used to use it, but I've since switched to Zenith cleaning and rinsing fluids, and the difference is quite dramatic. I won't be going back.

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1 hour ago, jdm said:

CAS 64742-89-8 is Petroleum Ether as I've been saying here since a couple of years now.
https://www.chemicalbook.com/ProductChemicalPropertiesCB5248177_EN.htm

Lighter fluid can be very similar but I don't think it's exactly the same. It's made to burn, not to clean

I always use Naphtha with a U/S cleaner and also a brush. For the HS and balance to get it 100% degreased I use Acetone. This old method has never let me down !!. 

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21 hours ago, jdm said:

CAS 64742-89-8 is Petroleum Ether as I've been saying here since a couple of years now.
https://www.chemicalbook.com/ProductChemicalPropertiesCB5248177_EN.htm

Lighter fluid can be very similar but I don't think it's exactly the same. It's made to burn, not to clean

I partly agree with you. Buying a tin of lighter fluid may be chemically the same, but could have much higher levels of impurities in it, so may not evaporate as cleanly. Also from what I've seen in Australia you can buy 1L of Shelite (Naptha) for the same price as two 100ml cans of lighter fluid.

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What is a safe to breath and  biodegradable cleaning product I can use in the u/s cleaner. (Benzene is carcinogenic).

l’ll be using a mesh basket.

Also, can someone provide a link for the tiny glass jars that can fit in a jewelry u/s cleaner?

Edited by mlfloyd1
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What is a safe to breath and  biodegradable cleaning product I can use in the u/s cleaner. (Benzene is carcinogenic).
l’ll be using a mesh basket.
Also, can someone provide a link for the tiny glass jars that can fit in a jewelry u/s cleaner?

Don’t know about state side but I’ve got my collection of jars from having tea and toast for breakfast, mainly in Starbucks. The little jam pots are just right to get a section in such as the keyless, although could do with a couple that are slightly bigger as some main plates won’t quite fit in them which is frustrating.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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On 8/4/2018 at 9:08 AM, mlfloyd1 said:

What is a safe to breath and  biodegradable cleaning product I can use in the u/s cleaner. (Benzene is carcinogenic).

l’ll be using a mesh basket.

Also, can someone provide a link for the tiny glass jars that can fit in a jewelry u/s cleaner?

I'm not sure that there is an effective cleaner that meets your requirements.

Best to not breath the fumes, no matter what it is. Check local regulations as to what can and cannot be disposed of through the sewer. In many places, cleaners and degreasers have to be treated as hazardous waste, which may mean saving the used fluids and dropping them off at a collection point. 

A great "fume hood" is the exhaust fan found over many stoves and ovens,  if you're lucky enough to have such a thing. Otherwise, an open window and a fan might do in a pinch.

The jars that I use originally had Newman's Own Salsa in them. Just watch the lids, some cleaners can dissolve the material that's in the cap that's used as a seal. 

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I found this post to be useful. Especially the part about refining petroleum.

I really don't like using lighter fluid because the purity of it is a pot shot. I was using Publix Quick Light and it leaves a lot of residue. The problem here is that they aren't meant for cleaning things. They COULD be pure naphtha but they could also not be. It's depends on the brand and not everyone has access to the same thing. Also, I get dizzy when I stand over parts soaked in lighter fluid. I use acetone to rinse it off but it's still a PITA.

I try to find all my solvents at Walmart or Home Depot because I am cheap. But it's confusing as hell to figure out what these products actually are. They are named by convention and not chemistry, so names like "paint thinner" could mean different things to the manufacturer.

For example, Klean Strip sells "Paint Thinner" and "Odorless Mineral Spirits." According to them, odorless mineral spirits is a purer version of paint thinner. But since you can use odorless mineral spirits as a paint thinner, it's confusing as to what "Paint Thinner" is...

Also, there are different types of solvents. Acetone is different from petroleum distillates. Since it's basically nontoxic and dries extremely fast, it's probably a good rinse solution.

I am probably going to use a petroleum based solvent and then rinse with acetone. For me, I will probably stick with "Klean Strip" line of products since they are cheap, widely available, and looks like high quality. For petroleum based solvents, there is "VM&P Naphtha", "Odorless Mineral Spirits", "Paint Thinner", "Xylene" and "Toluene." I am already having a hard time remember these names...

The differences between them is the boiling point. They have different properties and cleaning "powers". Not sure which is the best for cleaning watch parts since they all can clean grease.

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You can also just use a degreaser with water as a first stage then rinse with acetone. Aqueous solvents can be as good as petroleum based ones. Here are some interesting case studies complied by the EPA. Imo, a lot people are using lighter fluid because that's what watchmakers of the past used. Watchmakers used the best they had which was benzene or lighter fluid.

But the world is a different place and there are many solvents available especially for non-hazardous ones.

More choices more confusion...

Edited by dieale2

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