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5 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

I am American, expated in Schweiz for over 20 years! Yes, tenacious mank is a real problem, actually almost killed us as watchmaking students with a fresh batch of new old stock movements. Through the top of the line machine, garbage. We pegged and pithed for like 2 days to get that mank off and hit 270 amplitude. Would love to know what original oil was used.

Haha. And all we did at joinery school was try to set each other on fire with lit wood shavings and have nail gun shoots outs. Oh fun days, then I had to grow up and become sensible.  Why is my wife laughing and shaking her head ?

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

I think I'm ready to abandon the use of lighter fluid to clean my watch parts and use a dedicated ultrasonic solution from either Zenith or L&R.  Question is: if I use a mason jar with the parts baskets in it, do I leave the jar uncovered while ultrasonic-ing, covered with lid but not secured (to allow it to vent), or completely shut with lid?

And how much can I reuse the main cleaner before having to dispose?  How much can I use a rinse before having to dispose?

Does anyone have recommendations for which one to use?  I prefer non-ammoniated, both for the purposes of smell and the possibility of the ammonia attacking the metal.  I know L&R 566 is ammonia free.  Don't know about anything by Zenith.

Edited by GregG
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17 minutes ago, GregG said:

I think I'm ready to abandon the use of lighter fluid to clean my watch parts and use a dedicated ultrasonic solution from either Zenith or L&R.  Question is: if I use a mason jar with the parts baskets in it, do I leave the jar uncovered while ultrasonic-ing, covered with lid but not secured (to allow it to vent), or completely shut with lid?

And how much can I reuse the main cleaner before having to dispose?  How much can I use a rinse before having to dispose?

Does anyone have recommendations for which one to use?  I prefer non-ammoniated, both for the purposes of smell and the possibility of the ammonia attacking the metal.  I know L&R 566 is ammonia free.  Don't know about anything by Zenith.

I use both naptha and ammoniated elma. It makes the parts very shiny although i think is that necessary? It does stink i use an open plastic tub but have an extractor. I noticed pressure build up inside sealed glass  jars when i used them, so maybe just a tiny hole in the lid to vent the pressure. I think you will know when to change the cleaner by looking at its state. I do filter the cleaner but monitor its cleaning efficiency. I also filter quite often just to keep the cleaning up to scratch. I cant say I've noticed the regular filtering effects its performance until its been used for a good while.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, GregG said:

if I use a mason jar with the parts baskets in it,

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a set of four of these 300ml jars. The Elma basket fits inside very nicely. I fill the basket with parts, drop into the jar and put that into the ultrasonic, then fill the ultrasonic with water to a point below the rim of the jar. I don't use the lids for the jars but so far I've just been pouring my naphtha and IPA back into their containers. Part of me likes the economy of using naphtha and IPA but I might break down and buy a gallon each of the L&R cleaning and rinse solutions (to last the rest of my life). If I do that, I'll use the lids on the jars.

 

basket and jar.jpg

Edited by grsnovi
clarified "it"
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3 hours ago, grsnovi said:

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a set of four of these 300ml jars. The Elma basket fits inside very nicely. I fill the basket with parts, drop into the jar and put that into the ultrasonic, then fill the ultrasonic with water to a point below the rim of the jar. I don't use the lids for the jars but so far I've just been pouring my naphtha and IPA back into their containers. Part of me likes the economy of using naphtha and IPA but I might break down and buy a gallon each of the L&R cleaning and rinse solutions (to last the rest of my life). If I do that, I'll use the lids on the jars.

You've been ultrasonic-ing pure naphtha?  What is the flash point of that?  I've read forum posts of people who have sonicated petroleum ether (32F flash point) with no problems.

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1 hour ago, GregG said:

You've been ultrasonic-ing pure naphtha

Yes, in as much as I put the naphtha into the jar and the jar goes into the water bath of the u/s. I don't run the heater on the u/s. So far I haven't blown anything up (but it wouldn't surprise me if I do eventually, nothing else seems to be going right).

I have to say that I'm very likely to switch over to using the $50/gallon L&R cleaners.

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3 hours ago, GregG said:

You've been ultrasonic-ing pure naphtha?  What is the flash point of that?  I've read forum posts of people who have sonicated petroleum ether (32F flash point) with no problems.

I think you mean 32 C' greg otherwise the firebrigades are going to be extremely busy. I have used naptha at 50 degrees Celsius but that was by accidentally turning  the us heater on. I consider myself quite lucky. I stick to around 35 C which the us may reach on its own without the heater on. Still i wouldnt leave it alone running in the room. Check out my homemade gear post. Possibly a better alternative if you are worried. Its a rotary washer made from an old pillar drill , its actually pretty good. Very cheap to make and much quieter. I had plans for a MKII but  MKl  works so well i may not bother now. 

1 hour ago, grsnovi said:

Yes, in as much as I put the naphtha into the jar and the jar goes into the water bath of the u/s. I don't run the heater on the u/s. So far I haven't blown anything up (but it wouldn't surprise me if I do eventually, nothing else seems to be going right).

I have to say that I'm very likely to switch over to using the $50/gallon L&R cleaners.

$50 per gallon ? Which one is that gary ?

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3 hours ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

I think you mean 32 C' greg otherwise the firebrigades are going to be extremely busy

Definitely 32F (see attached picture).

2 hours ago, Paul80 said:

L&R 111 is £50 for 3.8 litres in the UK which I about a US gallon so for 50 bucks you are getting it cheap 😎

I did the math, and petroleum ether comes out to about the same price per ounce as 566 and 111. Difference is you can buy small quantities of lighter fluid XD

Screenshot_20220607-055850.png

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8 minutes ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

Ok, but im not sure what any of that means. I even have a few friends that are firemen lol

Flash is the temperature when the fumes would briefly ignite if exposed to a  heat source.  So don't have any flames near it, obviously. All it really tells you is that it's volatile I.e has a low boiling point. 

The autoignition temperature means that if it was heated to that temperature it would burst into flames. 

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1 hour ago, grsnovi said:

make sure when you're purchasing this you also purchase the associated rinse that goes with it.

then in the US you can purchase it from Amazon at about $10 more but it includes free shipping. Claims if I ordered it now I can have it by Thursday. So looks like relatively fast shipping.

https://www.amazon.com/Ultrasonic-Ammoniated-Watch-Cleaning-Solution/dp/B06X9CC2RM/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2L7XCW6QIFH2W&keywords=l%26r+s+%23111+waterless+watch+cleaning+solution+ammoniated&qid=1654622753&sprefix=l%26R+111%2Caps%2C161&sr=8-2

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Maybe this was already posted in the forum but I can't find any info.

Homemade cleaning solution

What do you think about the recipe? I'm from Spain and I can't get a proper cleaning solution cheap because import taxes but I can gather the ingredients very cheaply.

I have already bought tetrachloroethylene for one dip substitute.

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, joaquin said:

 

I have already bought tetrachloroethylene for one dip substitute.

 

If I’m completely honest, I’ve tried the route of tetrachloroethylene as a replacement for One Dip or B Dip. While tetrachloroethylene on its own does an ok job, it’s still not as good as B Dip at the end. Yes, I know tetrachloroethylene is a key ingredient in B Dip (they both even have the same odour), but Bergeon obviously has something else they add to spice up the mix. A 50ml bottle of B Dip goes a long way so I would get a bottle if I was you.

I do agree on the merits of a home made cleaning solution in your case (where importing commercial cleaners are a problem) especially in large quantities. I also use a locally available brew that seems very close to what your link above describes.

Edited by gbyleveldt
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4 hours ago, joaquin said:

Maybe this was already posted in the forum but I can't find any info.

Homemade cleaning solution

What do you think about the recipe? I'm from Spain and I can't get a proper cleaning solution cheap because import taxes but I can gather the ingredients very cheaply.

I have already bought tetrachloroethylene for one dip substitute.

 

I've tried this before but this is recommended for clocks only.

It doesn't work as well as commercial cleaners. The brass comes out shinier but a little patchy. Dried up grease doesn't come off very well. And some steel parts will start to rust the moment it comes out of the solution. I suspect commercial cleaners contain a rust inhibitor which is not listed in the MSDS.

18 hours ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

How do you rate the 111 ? please paul 

L&R #111 is a very good cleaner. It removes stubborn grease, shines up brass and doesn't smell half bad if used in a sealed jar in the ultrasonic. 

The only drawback is the price. It costs $180 SGD in Singapore, which is about £100. And you need the #3 rinse which is the same price.

I try to stretch my dollar by doing a manual pre-clean when disassembling and a pre-soak in benzine before putting it in the #111. And when the solution looks a little cloudy, I put the jar in the freezer to freeze-distill some of the dissolved oils, then filter the solution to remove any particulate matter.

But #111 is way too expensive to use for clocks. 😥

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Thank you for your answers, I understand that professionally made cleaners are the option to go but for the moment I will try with the home made and in the future I will move to the pro option.

I read something about ammonia dissolving shellac, is that true? A lot of professionally made cleaners have an ammonia base so I find it odd.

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Any part that had shellac I always cleaned it in Ronsonal lighter fluid.  I have said that many times on this forum. It is safe you could leave the parts in it for days and it won't come to any harm. Get yourself a small screw on lid jar as it evaporates quick. It is not a rerecorded watch cleaning agent but it works and does a fine job.    

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10 hours ago, joaquin said:

Maybe this was already posted in the forum but I can't find any info.

Homemade cleaning solution

What do you think about the recipe? I'm from Spain and I can't get a proper cleaning solution cheap because import taxes but I can gather the ingredients very cheaply.

I have already bought tetrachloroethylene for one dip substitute.

 

That's very similar to a mix I found in an old book and also one the local drugstore used to mix up for clockmakers around here, they called it soupe Vaudoise  (canton Vaud is a big watchmaking area). I've used a recipe from the Finnish watchmaking school for years, no problem, no rust, if anything it's a little too gentle- but I'd rather pre-clean and have a gentle cleaner than have one that etches the plates. It's probably been posted above somewhere, but here again

 

1L 99% isopropyl alcohol

3L distilled water

50g oxalic acid

60g oleic acid

around 80 grams of 24% ammonia

In a stainless pot, heat the alcohol and 1L water, add the oxalic acid (powder) and dissolve, add the rest of the water and oleic acid, then add ammonia slowly. It will go cloudy, then turn clear. The ammonia is reacting with the oleic acid making a soap, when it goes clear all the oleic has reacted. This keeps the solution fairly safe for brass, as the ammonia now being a soap doesn't eat the metal like some other cleaners with higher ammonia concentrations.

Rinse in hot water, with a final bath in alcohol before drying with hot air. I have never had a part rust with this, but the final alcohol rinse is important.

 

In that one there's no added soap, since the oleic and ammonia have made a soap. Not sure why Mike adds so much- but again, I've seen similar other solutions.

 

I've also posted somewhere in the past a recipe Gruen suggests when the watchmaker doesn't have access to proper solutions:

Gruen recipe:

1 ounce oleic acid

2 ounces acetone

4 ounces 22% ammonia

25 ounces distilled water

 

Not that different than the Finnish one. The oxalic acid in the Finnish one is a common chemical used to remove rust stains; in high concentration it will remove heavy rust as well. In this dilute concentration I wonder if it acts more as a preventative? Like I said I haven't had rust issues with it.

 

Some will say never use a water based cleaner as- wait for it- it will rust parts. I used Greiner GS watch concentrate as my watch cleaner for many years; this is water based, mixed 1:19 with water, and rinsed in alcohol (in a purpose made machine from Greiner in my case). Once again, no rust issues, and no issues with shellac dissolving unless I forgot the parts in the (hot) alcohol for quite a while.

 

 

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2 hours ago, joaquin said:

I read something about ammonia dissolving shellac, is that true? A lot of professionally made cleaners have an ammonia base so I find it odd.

It's IPA that affects certain types of Shellac - ammonia based solutions are perfectly safe hence its use in commercial solutions. We spoke about it on another thread yesterday if I recall. In any case I keep pallet forks separate from my usual cleaning regime and they get their own cleaning in Naphta (lighter fluid) then One Dip / B Dip.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

I've also posted somewhere in the past a recipe Gruen suggests when the watchmaker doesn't have access to proper solutions:

Gruen recipe:

1 ounce oleic acid

2 ounces acetone

4 ounces 22% ammonia

25 ounces distilled water

I will try this recipe for my next batch as I already have all the ingredients.

The cleaning solution I have made has among its ingredients dish soap that was originally green but now the solution has turned reddish-brown (I suppose the ammonia or acetone has attack de colorant component of the dish soap), I think this is not a problem.

If I do this Gruen recipe should I water it down when using for cleaning?

4 minutes ago, gbyleveldt said:

It's IPA that affects certain types of Shellac - ammonia based solutions are perfectly safe hence its use in commercial solutions. We spoke about it on another thread yesterday if I recall. In any case I keep pallet forks separate from my usual cleaning regime and they get their own cleaning in Naphta (lighter fluid) then One Dip / B Dip.

So only the pallet forks goes to naphta, can I put the rest of the balance wheel and plate in the ultrasonic cleaner (mounted in the movement) or is better to clean it also separately in naphta?

Edited by joaquin
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1 hour ago, joaquin said:

If I do this Gruen recipe should I water it down when using for cleaning?

 

Here's the document (it's got plenty of other interesting information in it) Gruen Watchmaking Institute Course, page 72

 

As written, it's to be used straight, but it does sound kind of strong. But Gruen knew what they were doing, no doubt about that.

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