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2 hours ago, gbyleveldt said:

It's IPA that affects certain types of Shellac

I assume by I PA you mean isopropyl alcohol? I do like the reference to certain types of shellac? What I find interesting is what I've looked up isopropyl alcohol I did find a reference on a woodworking site of making a varnish which is what I think they call shellac mixed in alcohol and it was problematic wasn't the right word but it sounds like it would dissolve the shellac Or basically they were saying it's not the recommended alcohol for that sort of thing it's not the best dissolve shellac and for reasons unknown seems to vary as to whether it will or will not.

Then at work are very expensive fancy cleaning machine the fourth rinse is isopropyl alcohol. I probably should check the programming cycle and see just how long it's in their. Recommended by the manufacture because the standard watch rinse doesn't Dry in the machine. Previous watchmaker made some reference to the atmospheric pressure where we are but that seems a bit bizarre.

I know at home I had the same problem where I'm guessing as they make the rinses or the chemicals environmentally friendly they've raise the temperature of drying considerably. So at home my final rinse is a different kind of an alcohol with that most definitely will dissolves shellac. But Al I have it in there a few seconds the purpose of which is to rinse off the rinse and I immediately go to the hot dryer and I've never had a problem.


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2 hours ago, joaquin said:

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?

Depends on who's school of thought you follow. I've been taught to fit the balance back to the mainplate and then clean as one. I do take the balance off the mainplate afterwards and dip it into Once Dip like I do for the pallet fork.

1 minute ago, JohnR725 said:

I assume by I PA you mean isopropyl alcohol? I do like the reference to certain types of shellac?

Yeah, IPA as in alcohol and I assume that it's pretty much the same all over the world. Because some people have no issue with pallet forks in IPA, while others do, all I can think is that the type of Shellac would be different (makes sense to me at least because it's an organic compound), hence my comment above.

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Hello All,

I’m relatively new to watch restoration and repair. I live in Australia.  FWIW, over the past months I’ve been experimenting with approaches to ultrasonic cleaning. I wanted to avoid Naphtha and other volatile organic solvents as much as possible, especially in combination with ultrasound. I found a product manufactured by an Australian chemical company -  it’s a sodium metasilicate based powder marketed specifically for water-based ultrasound cleaning of small machinery parts, electronic PCBs and jewellery. It’s economical, odorless and rinses without residue, leaving a nice shine. It removes dried, old lubricant very well without pre-soaking. 

Here’s my cleaning flow:

US with the sodium metasilicate based ultrasound solution

Rinse in warm water

US Rinse in 99% IPA

Hand dry with blower while I inspect the parts.

The balance and palate fork I clean by hand in Naptha, with special attention to the pivots.  I’ve found pushing and twisting the pivots in to a “magic block” white foam cleaning block/eraser to be effective and gentle on the pivots.

This is simple, cost-effective and works well for my hobbyist needs.  Watch industry standard cleaning products are expensive to source down here.

Just though I’d share. 


John in Tasmania.


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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/8/2022 at 10:55 AM, HectorLooi said:

 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.

You are a brave man putting benzine/ watch-cleaning chemicals in the freezer! 

Edited by ifibrin
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