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After having played the Emperor Concerto with the NYP Vladimir Ashkenazy went to a jazz club. During a break he asked the pianist if he might go and play something and the pianist was fine with that. When the break was over the pianist told Vladimir he would be good if he practiced.

If that is a true story, it is as funny as heck

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Hi Richard.. no need for specialised eqpt.. just a table fan blowing the fumes away from you is sufficient.

Life's short enough as it is!

Anil

P.s. great guitar playing! I wish I could play..

Hey, thanks. I will get a small table fan to mix the air. I put so little of the lighter fluid in a jar that I let it evaporate after the cleaning. Funny but it left no residue of scent.

From Canada

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  • 1 month later...

OK so I have torn down my Bulova 11BLC and need to clean before attempting my first reassembly. This for some reason was an after sight. I am anxious to get her back together but have no cleaning supplies, solutions,  or machine like some I have seen. I don't really have the cash to get a good machine yet either. Can anyone suggest a simple, effective, and inexpensive way for me to clean the parts of this movement  so that I can continue my attempt at reassembling?

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A good start would probably be isoprophonol and peg wood. Sharpen the peg wood and get it in and around all the jewels after leaving the parts submerged for 10 minutes or so. The good thing about isoprophonol is that it evaporates quickly and dries quick and can leave the surface of parts shiny and clean unlike other cleaning solutions that can dry streaky if not rinsed and dried off well. I always use a cleaning machine but use isoprophonol in the last rinse jar. You could always dry the parts off with a travel hair dryer after giving them a final rinse.

There will probably be someone along with more experience of not using a cleaning machine and recommend another way, my idea is just a suggestion.

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you don't need a cleaning machine ; you need a cleaning solution, like elma 1:9, some distilled water and a rinse solution, like solvent F (essence F in french not sure solvent F is exactly the English name)  . A recommend also a low cost ultrasonic machine . So the process is  : cleaning solution (one or two ultrasonic cycle) , then distilled water then rinse solution, then let parts dry on an absorbent paper. You can also use a watchmaker blower to help removing rinse solution. Do not used alcohol as rinse solution because it dissolves shellac.

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6 minutes ago, syfre said:

Do not used alcohol as rinse solution because it dissolves shellac.

Are you saying isoprophonol is not to be used as a rinse?

Syfre, you obviously have a lot more experience regarding cleaning parts without a machine than me but I have never heard of anyone having problems with Isoprophonol as a rinse. I use it regular for cleaning incablocs when you don't get the correct amount of oil on first time or cleaning off pallets if you catch the top of the pallet face with oiler.

I use this cleaning machine at work and have always used it in the last jar.

https://www.hswalsh.com/product/greiner-acs900-ultrasonic-watch-cleaning-machine-hc5117

The reason I use it is because the heaters/dryers in this machine are known for being not very good and the isoprophonol dries quicker and leaves a nice clean shiny finish. I get my cleaning fluids from a company called Walker Electronics and use a cleaning fluid called "well clean" in the first ultrasonic jar, and "well dry" rinse in the the next 2 jars followed by the isoprophonol in the last jar. I have never experienced any pallet jewels becoming loose or impulse jewels dropping out. 

This arrangement of fluids I use has been authorised by all the Swiss brands that have done workshop inspections on my workshop.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tiktok said:

Are you saying isoprophonol is not to be used as a rinse?

That's because, as mentioned, it dissolved shellac and the "glue" which holds the hairspring to the end stud in modern balances. I have experience that myself. Other that that, it's fine, I use it as the only cleaning solution.

Edited by jdm
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Well you learn something new every day, for the last 12 years I have used it as a last rinse in the 4th jar of this machine putting up to around ten 2824, 2892 and 7750's as well as other movements through every week and never had any bad experiences using it.

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11 minutes ago, Tiktok said:

Well you learn something new every day, for the last 12 years I have used it as a last rinse in the 4th jar of this machine putting up to around ten 2824, 2892 and 7750's as well as other movements through every week and never had any bad experiences using it.

It can be that the immersion was short enough not to cause problems to the shellac. You can find that mentioned in all any cleaning thread on the internet.

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This is the first watch repair forum I have ever been a member of, after spending all day at work repairing Watch's it has never interested me to sit at home writing about them and chatting about them on the Internet whilst at home, but when I stumbled across this site whilst researching some cheaper tools for use at home I thought I would join and maybe able to help others as well as myself.

Thats why I suppose the Internet is a good thing, when you do a job for a long time you get stuck in a routine (I do anyway) and discussing things on here not only teaches you new things you didn't know, it means you can keep up with new and different ideas, methods, tools and chemicals.

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3 hours ago, oldhippy said:

Wash it out in Ronsonol lighter fluid, It's harmless to all parts of a mechanical watch.  

This seems like something that I can find pretty quick, inexpensive and local. Do you just let the parts soak in it and for how long? Also, I know you can order peg wood online but is it something that can be found local???

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When i said do not used alcohol i mean common sens alcohol which is ethanol. Isopropanol is a different product, a solvent used in the industry, and as far as i known has different properties than ethanol. May be the confusion comes from that isopropanol is an alcohol (isopropyl alcohol).  I don't know if isopropanol dissolve shellac, i never try

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23 minutes ago, syfre said:

When i said do not used alcohol i mean common sens alcohol which is ethanol. Isopropanol is a different product, a solvent used in the industry, and as far as i known has different properties than ethanol. May be the confusion comes from that isopropanol is an alcohol (isopropyl alcohol).  I don't know if isopropanol dissolve shellac, i never try

It does, it's a common thinner for shellac. And t it dissolves the glue one the end stud of Seiko modern movements. Happened to me.

Edited by jdm
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10 minutes ago, mcass said:

Just thought of one more question which could be VERY important.  Are there any parts of the movement that should NOT be cleaned or submerged in the solution?

 

The answer is no if using Ronsonol  I always used it for cleaning the balance and hairspring. I never put that in the cleaning machine.

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Check out my last post Helvetica needs TLC I did all that cleaning using just lighter fuel ,pegwood, fibreglass pen and a ultrasonic bath I don't own a cleaning machine I like to do it by hand for some reason I always have.

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48 minutes ago, jdm said:

It does, it's a common thinner for shellac. And t it dissolves the glue one the end stud of Seiko modern movements. Happened to me.

not surprising because isopropanol is used to clean up pcb after soldering because it's dissolve solder flux, which is rosin based. Rosin is not shellac but pretty close

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I just use "Shellite" ,I don't know what names it may be called in other countries, it is like lighter fluid, it is basically fuel for pressure stoves.

How I clean depends upon the degree of grunge in the watch, I often purchase bulk lots of Seiko movements for spare parts from Ramon "The Watch Collector" on eBay and they really do need elbow grease applied, firstly I strip down the movement then inspect all the parts and discard any damaged ones the clean all the wheels, bridges and other parts with a glass brush, this polishes off a lot of dried oils and crud and minor surface rust, then wash the parts in Shellite in a basket in a jar.

Then I run them through the ultrasonic cleaner in Shellite , No I don't place the shellite directly in the cleaner, I use hot water with a little dishwashing detergent, and place a small jar with the parts and shellite in the water things like the case band etc go in the basket around the jar.

Usually give it about 5 min in the cleaner, then remove the parts and rinse in clean shellite and dry with the blower or just let evaporate dry.

A movement that has been working I usually only need the shellite in the US cleaner to get clean its dependent on condition, after cleaning I inspect all parts with a microscope before reassembly.

This is just my way and works for me, others would have different procedures.

Max

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi.

I'm currently servicing a Waltham model 1908 pocket watch, and so far, so good. I have cleaned all the parts in an ultrasonic cleaner, using Naptha (actually Coleman camp fuel), with the exception of the pallet fork. I have a few of questions about this process, if you would indulge my ignorance.

  1. Will cleaning with Naptha be sufficient in general to clean watch parts? It's so difficult to get alternative cleaners here that I default to Naptha.
  2. Will Naptha dissolve the shellac that attached the jewels to the pallet fork, and if so, how shall I clean the pallet fork?
  3. In general, does this type of untrasonic cleaning, using Naptha, get into every nook and cranny such that there's no need for additional manual cleaning? How about critical spindles and jewel holes?
  4. I see a lot of recommendations about additionally cleaning out the jewel holes with pegwood, but there's just no way I can see of whittling a piece of it down to a size where it will fit into such a tiny orifice so what should I do?
  5. Is it absolutely essential to remove the cap jewels or will the ultrasonic cleaning have done an acceptable job of cleaning it up? How about the subsequent oiling of the cap jewels?
  6. I use Tri-Flow lubricant, which contains P.T.F.E (teflon) for the mainspring lubrication - any opinions on this such as, "it's awful Roger, buy some Moebius grease instead"?
  7. In general, do the same principles and oiling choices apply to a pocket watch as applies for a wrist watch?

You'll be happy to hear that, even though we had snow in Edmonton last weekend, it's sunny and warm today, and the leaves are out now - I think winter has run its course for a few months at least. Now if I could only find my shorts and sandals.

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4 minutes ago, Scouseget said:

Now if I could only find my shorts and sandals.

Look under your watchmaker's bench? :D

Sorry I couldn't resist! In any case here is my take on your questions:

Naphtha is good and won't dissolve shellac. Alcohol dissolves shellac. Naphtha is flammable so not a good thing to put in an ultrasound...but some people do regardless! And yes, the ultrasound will make a good job of the fluid getting everywhere...if it fits...thicker liquids can't go into small spaces regardless...therefore L&R Ultrafine Cleaning Solution.

Jewel holes are pegged because oil stick to them and yes it is an art to whittle those pegs! In any case, if that fails, leave the part in naphtha for a few hours/days until you are satisfied. The oil crust on the jewels will get in the way of good timing, good amplitude and cause a lot of headache in an otherwise good movement.

You can choose if to remove the jewels or not.. I do and get peace of mind. See above about oil deposits stuck to those. 

The PTFE sounds like a good thing...I just don't know anything about it....some mainsprings (most nowadays) are coated with Teflon and don't require lubrication...The barrel do and it is usually a braking grease, not Teflon based (in automatics).

The principles are always the same...it just changes the type of oils required according to size and type of movement...even clocks follow the same (or almost the same) principles. One rule of thumb is rather to have less oil than too much.

Hope this helps and you find your shorts and sandals!

Cheers,

Bob

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