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2 hours ago, ifibrin said:

Elma red is a very good cleaner and makes parts shine, but if there is any hint of tarnish of the nickel plated main plate or bridges it can clean the tarnished sections right down to the bronze layer, in as little as 5 min in Ultrasound... the untarnished parts will really sparkle though.

According to H S Walsh  It can be used in watch cleaning machines or in ultrasonic cleaning baths. no mention of using it for cleaning parts by hand. If it is that aggressive I can't think why one would want to use such stuff.

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8 minutes ago, oldhippy said:

According to H S Walsh  It can be used in watch cleaning machines or in ultrasonic cleaning baths. no mention of using it for cleaning parts by hand. If it is that aggressive I can't think why one would want to use such stuff.

Not too sure why but the tarnished parts of the movement mainplate/bridge on a movement I was working on came off entirely and I could see the bronze when I ultrasonicated the parts in diluted Elma red (1:9) as recommended. Could be that the nickel plating on the tarnished parts was very weakened.

It also caused the parts of my bronze tweezers it contacted with to shine. I used it as a dip for the the train wheels, to make them shine!

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As the origional question was cost related, two cheap and readily available probdcts in the UK are carburetter cleaner and automotive brake/clutch cleaner both contain Naptha , a petroleum distilate and Isopropyl alchohol plus butane as they are pressure cans. Again I have used both with no problems in either drying or cleaning/degreasing. Usually used in small jars in the U/s. On the question of Ultrasonics If they are not recommended, why have companies such as Griener, ELMA, L&R. Watchmaster to name but a few ,invested money in creating machines that are ultrasonic, and dual machines with both U/s and conventional operations. It seems that its wide open to debate as far as preferences go.  I think is a personal choice.

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19 minutes ago, watchweasol said:

As the origional question was cost related, two cheap and readily available probdcts in the UK are carburetter cleaner and automotive brake/clutch cleaner both contain Naptha , a petroleum distilate and Isopropyl alchohol plus butane as they are pressure cans. Again I have used both with no problems in either drying or cleaning/degreasing. Usually used in small jars in the U/s. On the question of Ultrasonics If they are not recommended, why have companies such as Griener, ELMA, L&R. Watchmaster to name but a few ,invested money in creating machines that are ultrasonic, and dual machines with both U/s and conventional operations. It seems that its wide open to debate as far as preferences go.  I think is a personal choice.

I think the ultrasonics in the professional watch cleaning machines are fine, as they rotate the parts to prevent continuous cavitation in one part. The cheap ultrasonics used for jewelry is also fine most of the time, but @HectorLooi and @Nucejoe have warned about their use potentially causing damage under some conditions. I use a cheap ultrasonic myself to clean some parts of a movement with diluted Elma red, but I have observed plating removal if the plating has been damaged prior by old age/tarnish.

In addition to those two naphtha containing products  @watchweasol recommended, I would also recommend some peg wood for cleaning. You may be able to use high quality wooden toothpicks instead though... In any event, after cleaning the movement, you would still have to oil it when you put it back together, so I’m not sure how low cost it will be once you add the prices of all the other things you would have to purchase.

Heres the instructions on the back of my Elma Red.

B425ED7F-C805-4061-A892-536CC0D9887E.jpeg

Edited by ifibrin
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As with all cleaning agents we all have our preferences and methods. The main precaution being,  read the instructions on the product or better still get the safety sheet  and exercise common sense in the use of these chemical as some are highly in flammable or even explosive in an enclosed space.  The watch word is CAUTION.

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2 minutes ago, rockpenguin said:

Thanks for all of this and for the suggestion over-and-above cleaning fluids regarding pegwood. I am set on the oiling as being unavoidable and am going to space out buying those so that I'll do the oiling maybe at the start of November. I'm not in a rush!

~rp~

 

Since you’re in the UK, you can get watch supplies for low delivery fee from cousinsuk. For your maximum enjoyment, I would recommend at the bare minimum one bergeon or dumont brass tweezers, screwdrivers (you probably already have this, since you took a movement apart), movement holder, a loupe (optics), a set of oilers, some pegwood, a rubber bellows, and your choice of oil, and choice of cleaning fluid.

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9 minutes ago, watchweasol said:

As with all cleaning agents we all have our preferences and methods. The main precaution being,  read the instructions on the product or better still get the safety sheet  and exercise common sense in the use of these chemical as some are highly in flammable or even explosive in an enclosed space.  The watch word is CAUTION.

The safety aspect of the cleaning fluids cannot be stressed enough, since whatever you use will be either flammable, toxic, or both. Ventilation is the most important when using these. Be very careful if you are doing using them during UK winter, Since your windows are likely to be closed.

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2 hours ago, ifibrin said:

The safety aspect of the cleaning fluids cannot be stressed enough, since whatever you use will be either flammable, toxic, or both. 

Let's put things in perspective, these label warnings at our age should be well know already.
Amount of of petrol/alcohol/whatever else is needed for manual cleaning, 20cc in a jam container with lid. Exposition time while pouring, replacing etc. 20 seconds.
Tanks heaven out is a very low risk hobby/profession.

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27 minutes ago, jdm said:

Let's put things in perspective, these label warnings at our age should be well know already.
Amount of of petrol/alcohol/whatever else is needed for manual cleaning, 20cc in a jam container with lid. Exposition time while pouring, replacing etc. 20 seconds.
Tanks heaven out is a very low risk hobby/profession.

I find that the greatest exposure to naphtha is when I dry the part with my rubber bellows after taking it out of the liquid. Always will have a fan blowing at me to disperse the vapors.

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3 hours ago, watchweasol said:

As with all cleaning agents we all have our preferences and methods. The main precaution being,  read the instructions on the product or better still get the safety sheet  and exercise common sense in the use of these chemical as some are highly in flammable or even explosive in an enclosed space.  The watch word is CAUTION.

Thanks - as a Science teacher I appreciate the common sense of giving this advice, but no worries. Unless I'm a complacent Science teacher. Then I guess I've got issues. Thank you!

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As you  are a science teacher we were teaching Granny to suck eggs.  I had a science teacher in the 50s put himself in hospital twice sniffing gasses that had been produced with the bee hive jar under water. He was just a bit eccentric but a nice chap for all that.   I have on my system several informative documents if you are interested PM me as they are PDFs and un supported on the site.

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1 hour ago, jdm said:

Let's put things in perspective

Indeed.  Whenever the topic of insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, radium, falling airplane parts, spontaneous combustion...etc. come up in conversation, I routinely point (anecdotally) to my Dad who died at 93.  He was deployed overseas during WWII (no warning labels on anything), worked in the oil field, routinely sprayed chlordane on the yard whenever some bug irritated him, sprayed his vegetable garden with whatever killer spray he had on hand and worked on watches with radium for several decades.

I am not like my Dad--am far more circumspect about things that can damage or kill, but I still have volatile chemicals in my lab/watchroom.  Sometimes I even use a pair of these WITHOUT wearing safety glasses--realizing all the time that I am throwing caution to the wind!!

2021-09-26 11_49_09-Hakko-CHP-170 Micro Cutter - Red_ Side Cutting Pliers_ Amazon.com_ Tools & Home .png

2021-09-26 11_48_59-Hakko-CHP-170 Micro Cutter - Red_ Side Cutting Pliers_ Amazon.com_ Tools & Home .png

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59 minutes ago, LittleWatchShop said:

 Sometimes I even use a pair of these WITHOUT wearing safety glasses

Warning labels are everywhere but I think your cutters are specific for the USA market. Especially in the country where someone has been awarded millions for having got scalded with hot coffee, companies place and push for these things in the hope to reduce liabilities. 

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10 hours ago, rockpenguin said:

Thanks - as a Science teacher I appreciate the common sense of giving this advice, but no worries. Unless I'm a complacent Science teacher. Then I guess I've got issues. Thank you!

Actually, if you are a science teacher you may be able to get your colleagues to give you a small amount of scientific grade petroleum ether (naphtha, in other words) for you to clean the movements.... Just be sure to make sure it’s not diethyl ether (which will evaporate too fast) or actual benzENE (which can give you liver cancer).

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13 hours ago, jdm said:

Let's put things in perspective, these label warnings at our age should be well know already.
 

I'm of the (ahem) older generation.  My father's famous words if I was going to do something I hadn't done before - "Min' an' use yer heid" - meaning remember and use commonsense.

Perhaps my pet hate is the warning you sometimes get over hot taps - "Hot Water.  Danger of scalding!"  Well, no sh** Sherlock! 🙄

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23 hours ago, jdm said:

I have have never heard of any watchmaker, professional or not, which recommend soaped water. It's just not right for cleaning a watch mov.t.

 

 

You completely missed the point of my post 😉

The O/P was asking about a low cost solution. And believe it or not water and dish soap does a very good job of removing oils and grease, it's what dish soap was designed to do.

It not be used by any watch maker professional or not that you know of, that does not make it any less good at removing oils and grease, I bet the average frying pan is far dirtier than your average watch.

I agree it my not be the best and it may not generally be used by watch makers, but that does not make it any less effective at doing what it was designed to do and at a low cost which was the point of the O/P

I will step away now.

Bye

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I have tried a few but always go back to the L&R. The bottom line how clean is clean. The vid I posted is in my opinion is a cheap option and IMO is perfect for those who are just cleaning a couple of watches a week. When I first purchased  the Pearl I was sceptical but under my microscope I could not fault the cleanliness. Considering how much I spent on the L&R Varimatic there is no difference in the final results. For those who don’t mind cleaning and drying by hand water is an absolute no no. A liquid I use a lot for de-greasing is mentholated spirit. It’s a bit smelly but shift grease and is really good to use before glueing but it’s cheap. 

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If one looks at the old ingrediants used by some of the old watchmakers for their own brew cleaners there is usually the inclusion of soap.

Some still use this in preference to the shop cleaners,  can't vouch for its effectivness but some swear by it. in all cases they recommend a final rinse in alcohol.

Dist water        2 to 3 Litre

Oleic/oxalic acid      3 tea spoons

Ammonia      1.5 dL

Alcohol      4 to 5 dL

Dish soap     2dL

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2 hours ago, watchweasol said:

If one looks at the old ingrediants used by some of the old watchmakers for their own brew cleaners there is usually the inclusion of soap.

Some still use this in preference to the shop cleaners,  can't vouch for its effectivness but some swear by it. in all cases they recommend a final rinse in alcohol.

Dist water        2 to 3 Litre

Oleic/oxalic acid      3 tea spoons

Ammonia      1.5 dL

Alcohol      4 to 5 dL

Dish soap     2dL

I have a recipe that was published by Gruen, I think it was during the war for "getting things done". It's not that different from the Finnish recipe I use for clocks.

Gruen recipe:

1 ounce oleic acid

2 ounces acetone

4 ounces 22% ammonia

25 ounces distilled water

 

The oleic acid and ammonia combine to form a soap*. Oleic and oxalic are quite different; oleic is essentially pure fat and liquid, where oxalic is from my experience crystalline, that is perhaps why the addition of some soap in the above recipe. Rinse in distilled water 2x and finish in isopropyl alcohol, dry in warm air.

 

*The most traditional soap is some kind of fat mixed with sodium hydroxide, or lye, a very strong base. Ammonia is less basic than lye, but works great and also has its own cleaning action.

Edited by nickelsilver
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I sometimes us small amounts of dish soap as a surfactant when I'm cleaning things (not watch parts) in the ultrasonic.  Water, ammonia, and dish soap seems to work pretty well, saves buying jewelry cleaner solution. I'll have to try adding some acetone next time. 

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