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June 7, 2012 at 11:10 am #48275
I have been checking out the L&R solutions and if I read the descriptions correctley you are to clean the watch parts with the cleaning solution and then rinse them with the rinse solution,a two part process, is this correct? If it is the case can you rinse with denatured alcohol instead?June 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm #51768aruthaParticipant
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The reason for the two lots of rinse Bill is to keep your second lot of rinse clean and to make sure every trace of cleaning solution is removed from the watch. When you first start off you will have your cleaning solution, a first jar of rinse which is clean and a second jar of rinse that is clean. When you clean your first watch in the cleaning solution it then goes into the first rinse, this contaminates the first rinse with a very small amount of cleaning solution, the watch then goes into the second jar of rinse which will still get contaminated with cleaning solution but nowhere near as much as the first rinse. Over time the first rinse gets very contaminated, you dispose of it and use your second rinse as your first rinse and pour out a new jar of second rinse. I hope that made sense 😯
As for using denatured alcohol, it is a shellac solvent so you would have to watch your pallet jewels dont fall out as it disolves the shellac. One other problem I am reading is stuff is added to it to stop people drinking it. Lets hope it doesnt leave any residue on your freshly cleaned watch.
Remember I am not a watch expert so I am sure someone will be along in a while to tell you if you should or shouldnt and what to look for when buying it.
That L&R stuff is very expensive but when you work out how many movements you can clean with it you are looking at cents per movement rather than dollars. I have been messing about with different cleaning solutions for my clocks and after all the messing about, wasted time doing extra cleaning etc I am going to buy some L&R.June 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm #51769
Thanks Paul, Yes it did make sense and you explained it very well. Couple of questions though. You clean the watch parts with the cleaning solution in the ultrasonic, now, do you also do the rinse in the ultrasonic or just swish it aroung in a jar or beaker? I guess that is just one question. 😆 I just love these little smilies.June 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm #51770
I agree with everything Paul said. You can use an alcohol rinse for some water based solutions but when cleaning watches or small clocks with lever escapement platforms you’ve got to make the rinsing/drying process quick.
For clocks, aIcohol rinses work well for ammoniated water based cleaning solutions but I still suggest going with the recommended rinse when using L&R solutions for watches. A rinse can be made using Stoddard’s solvent and Naptha (I don’t remember the ratio between the two but can find out for you if you wish) but the amount of money saved along with the risk of getting pure enough product doesn’t seem worth the trouble.
As for the rinsing cycle you can do it in your sonic too. Quick question Bill…what type of machine are you using?
BobJune 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm #51771
Hi Bob. I am using a DSA brand digital heating ultrasonic cleaner.June 7, 2012 at 5:45 pm #51772
Thanks. I wasn’t sure if you had a regular ultrasonic watch cleaning machine or a tank unit. That would be a tank unit. You can put the cleaning solution in one jar or beaker and the rinses in their own separate beakers. You can then place them one at a time into the unit which would be filled with water or a good cavitating solution. The waves will travel through the tank solution passing into and straight through the beakers. This topic is a very popular one up here and has been discussed quite a bit so you might find some of the past posts helpful. If you put “ultrasonic machine” into the forum search (at the top of this forum page) a bunch of posts will come up that you can read on the subject.
A couple of very important points. Make sure the jars are VERY clean and do keep the final rinse as clean as possible. If you use three rinse beakers rather than two for the rinse (that’s a total of 4 beakers…one for the solution, 3 for rinses) your last rinse will last much longer which means you won’t need to rotate the rinses as often. You can use the first rinse as a quick dunk rinse just to remove most of the cleaning solution. This will keep the second beaker from becoming contaminated too quickly which of course will end up transferring into the final rinse. This first rinse will become contaminated rather quickly but will work well in keeping the two rinse beakers which are used in the ultrasonic much cleaner. Again, you’ll save solution this way as you won’t need to rotate the rinses as often.
Hope this helps Bill,
BobJune 9, 2012 at 10:34 am #51773
I’ve found that the L&R watch cleaning solutions that I’ve had seem to go bad. They end up spotting my watch plates with sticky balls of something amber colored. I have heard other people say the same thing. Coincidentally, I presently have a couple of partially filled 1 G bottles that will be going to a hazardous waste dump tomorrow. I figure that I’ll be better off using the cleaning system described by Bob T. in his watch repair course book.
This brings up another question that perhaps Bob could answer. If you believe, as I do, that the L&R cleaning solutions break down, do the rinses have aging problems as well? If you don’t see the solutions breaking down, then maybe I’ve just had a couple of bad batches. I am keeping the rinsing solutions, as they look crystal clear.June 9, 2012 at 11:44 am #51774
L&R cleaning solutions do have a shelf of about a 1 1/2 years. The problem you’re having seems more like contamination than bad solution. Is this happening with fresh unused solution straight out of the container put into VERY clean jars or have you used the solution for previous cleaning jobs? If already used previously then it’s possible that a tiny bit of WD-40 or some other contaminant has polluted the solution. If that’s the case the jars should be cleaned thoroughly and new solution added. If it’s old then yes breakdown is possible. I don’t know about the rinses shelf life though but the same thing holds true for the rinses as far as even the slightest bit of WD-40 contamination etc.
My personal preference is L&R over the home made solutions though.
I’m curious…which solution and rinse are you using?
BobJune 10, 2012 at 11:11 am #51775
Thanks for posting a response. The watch cleaners I’m bringing to the hazardous waste roundup are the #212 Waterless Watch Cleaning Solution and the #111 Ultrasonic Watch Cleaning Solution. I guess I’ll dump the #3, and Ultrasonic rinsing solutions along with the cleaners, as they too are well over 1 1/2 years old. That said, they do look crystal clear, if that says anything about their condition.
Prior to the last bad experience with L&R cleaners, I cleaned out the jars in the mechanical and ultrasonic solutions with denatured alcohol. I suppose if someone hit the watches I’d cleaned with WD40 before I got them, it could have been so contaminated. But I sure didn’t shoot any onto the movements. I don’t remember them being indicative of a WD40 spray victim, but I can’t say for sure.
I guess it might come down to how many watches one cleans in 1 1/2 years. 10 years ago I might have cleaned enough to warrant getting the 1 gallon bottles. Today it’s very rare that I tear down and service a watch. I’ve gotten into other things, guitar-playing for instance, that have taken my time away from timers. I still like them, and retain a small collection of watches. This includes that little cobalt blue ladies’ (Agassiz-ish) pendant that you helped me fix the winding/setting on a few months back.
Brian W., aka MrRoundelJune 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm #51776
Hey Brian, I forgot you were MrRoundel! Good to hear from you!
It’s much more common running into clocks that have been blasted with WD-40 than watches but it does happen. That stuff is evil when used in horology! Just a tiny bit will mess up the solution.
Well, if it’s been a few years then it may be solution gone bad as you pointed out. L&R says shelf life is 18 months but I’ve gone much longer than that with no problems. Might depend on the surrounding environment. As for the rinse I would think as long as it looks nice and clear that it would still be good. I’m just guessing though so could be wrong there. I think I would hold on to that rinse and check it with some new solution before chucking it. Of course that’s your call and you may feel better starting out with all fresh solution.
Good luck with it and if you do find that it’s something different then please let us know.
Adios for now,
BobJune 10, 2012 at 8:14 pm #51777
Thanks, Bob. I shouldn’t have waited as long as I did to post my question regarding the rinses. Oh well, they went bye-bye. I offered them to a friend who I thought cleaned more watches than he does, but he declined. He figured that when he does get into cleaning a number of watches he’ll get all fresh solutions. At the price of the stuff, it’s too bad that I couldn’t get them to someone. Oh well…
Thanks again for getting back with a response so quickly.
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