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April 1, 2014 at 3:09 pm #48967
All these various types of oil & grease literally drove me maaad when I first began in this hobby, it still does. But I feel that many of them are not really needed, I’ve been messing around, experimenting if you will, and I’ve found no performance difference in using one grade for the escape, another for pivots, a different one for the balance, watch grease for the winder and other heavy types for the mainspring, as opposed to using a superior grade of industrial EP grease or only one type of watch oil for the whole works.
I haven’t measured this electronically as I don’t posses a timing machine, but I did measure by time keeping.
I’ve purposely tried too much, and then gone a bit overkill, just to see what happens, how far it spreads. The best results I’ve had so far, on my “flooding” test, was with the green synthetic oil from mobius, it stayed where I put it and true to the manufacturers claims, it adhered well to the pivots and didn’t migrate all over the place, even during positional tests.
I’ve also tried various lubes on the mainspring, from 40 weight engine oil, proper watch lube and industrial greases, synth, moly & lith, black, white & clear, from a few drops or smears, to removing the spring and wiping with a grease loaded rag.
I’ve also experimented with the barrel surface, where the spring rides. I’ve polished to a mirror finish and removed any surface roughness..
I’m curious to hear if any of you have also experimented with lubrication and how, what have you tried, what standard rules have you broken and what were the results : :April 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm #56944
Great idea Chris
I am going to start off by telling anyone interested what not to use.
My pet hate on clocks is WD40, I can’t speak for other spray oils as I have not tested them but if you spray WD40 into a cup and leave it for a few days it turns into a sticky goo which is not going to help any clock run properly.
For clock train pivots I use JD Windles Clock oil. It has worked perfectly for me and I have no reason to change that. For bigger clocks I use Moebius yellow top 8040. For very small clocks and I am talking almost pocket watch size I use Moebius 8000. For anything finer than that I have some Novostar B.
For clock mainsprings I use a mixture of bearing grease and cheap engine oil(without additives). Daryn has used it for years and never had a problem and now I use it. My first batch wasn’t very successful as I mixed it with the wrong type of oil and it coagulatedApril 1, 2014 at 4:21 pm #56945
Paul, I am not recommending wd40, but I sprayed it on a movement almost 20 years ago, and the clock just gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago. I am guessing that the wd40 probably set up and hardened to the point that it was acting as bushings for the pivots. I will be over hauling it soon and am sure it will not be pleasant getting all that wd40 back out. MahlonApril 1, 2014 at 4:26 pm #56946
Now that is interesting! I would love to know what the pivots are like? That is incredible that it has run for that long on a squirt of that stuff, I wonder if the recipe was different 20 years ago?
Paul.April 1, 2014 at 4:45 pm #56947
I don’t know about that, but I know I had a clock come in a while back that they said had ran fine before, but just quit. I could smell the wd40 when he handed it to me. I opened the case and wd40 was running out of the springs. I asked about it, and excitedly told me that he oiled that way every year for the last 25 years. Believe it or not after soaking it in Naptha and mineral oil for two hours, I didn’t need a single bushing. the pivot needed very little attention, but the winding springs had to be recleaned.MahlonApril 1, 2014 at 5:12 pm #56948
Ok, now that sounds like a good test situation, I am going to dig one of my old movements out and just lube it with wd40. This will be really interestingApril 1, 2014 at 6:28 pm #56949
Sounds like an interesting brew Paul, but yes, gear oil good, it’s EP and I always figure mainsprings are about as EP as you can get on clock/watch movements. It’s a good idea, thanks for sharing…
Have you tested the grease mixture over time to see how it stood up, like after 3 years, pulled apart the movement and it was still good?
I’m not sure what an extreme oil test would be on a clock, but I imagine the same as a watch, how did the oils you mention fare in the runny test? I’m just curious because it is really nice to know that you can use something that works and lasts and stays in its place and is NOT one of the recommended written in stone lubes ..
I actually wouldn’t mind starting a data base here on the forum that we could use as a reference, maybe pin it to the top of the board for future use?? Maybe along with a cleaning fluid pinned section? What do you think Paul?
Mahlon – That’s incredible 😯 WD40 has “almost” no lubricating properties, apart from being wet 😆 and as Paul mentioned, after being exposed to the atmosphere for a while it turns into blancmange, but if it worked for your clock, then it worked.
WD actually stands for Water Displacement (sorry if I’m stating the obvious) and the 40 was the fortieth attempt to make…..something, I don’t even know if the inventor knew what he was hoping for, maybe it was an accidental discovery.
Whereas I don’t hate WD40- I do think that it has become a fix all and is randomly sprayed on everything, even electronics OUCH, if you spray it on an open flame it will go POOF, not a good match for electrical equip.. 😆 But for rust busting and general cleaning, it’s ok and convenient.April 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm #56950
I would guess that wd40 has paraffin in it to keep the tube from clogging up after time. I use it to clean my table saw and jointers. It seams to leave a protective film on the surface. I just have to be careful not to use it if I am spraying finish that day, it will cause fisheye in the finish. 😮 MahlonApril 1, 2014 at 10:04 pm #56951david pierceParticipant
The only use I ever found for WD-40 was surface grinding aluminum with a surface grinder. Yes, you can grind aluminum if you use an extremely coarse wheel, take lite cuts and constantly spray WD-40 on the surface of the metal. I found no other use for that stuff.
davidApril 2, 2014 at 4:37 am #56952
That’s an interesting technique David which I will keep in mind, thanks for the tip.
I seem to remember the old timers machining aluminum and using the paraffin/kerosene water cooling/lube liquid mix which apparently produced a better finish, although that was many moons ago and I’ve de-fragged the hard drive a few times since then LOL maybe the WD does contain these elements?
Thanks for posting these experiences guys.April 2, 2014 at 4:37 am #56953tmac1956Participant
For clock mainsprings I use a mixture of bearing grease and cheap engine oil(without additives). Daryn has used it for years and never had a problem and now I use it. My first batch wasn’t very successful as I mixed it with the wrong type of oil and it coagulated
Would mind giving us the oil type and mixture?
TomApril 2, 2014 at 4:41 am #56954tmac1956Participant
There was a simple study done by a horologist on lubricants (including motor oils) a few issue ago in the NAWCC bimonthly. I am at work now, but I’ll try to look it up and post the reference later. If I remember correctly, he came to the conclusion that many of the high-priced oils on the market just aren’t worth the prices.
TomApril 2, 2014 at 6:20 am #56955david pierceParticipant
Over charging for watch repair products, parts and tools; imagine that!April 2, 2014 at 7:17 am #56956bernie weishaplParticipant
Guess I will jump in here and say I have been using Mobil One Synthetic 5w motor oil to oil all clocks. Been using it now for 15 or so years and have never had a come back because of oil. On mainsprings I also have been using a 70/30 blend of Slick 50 and Mobile One. 70% Slick 50 and 30% Mobile one. As for WD 40 the only thing I will use it for is to soften old hard grease/oil. I just cringe when a clock comes in and she says oh my husband sprayed it wd40 and it worked for a yr or so. It turns green and to goo as Paul said. IMHO it seems to collect more dust and dirt which just can ruin pivots quickly. Then it is soak to get most of that stuff off before it hits my cleaner.
On that note we had a gentleman who lived about 95 miles from me. Got to know him pretty well and was a pretty good repairman. He told me he used 3 in 1 sewing machine oil on all the clocks he repaired. Said he had been using it for 30 yrs. He passed away a year ago. Well I have seen a couple of the clocks he repaired and oiled with 3 in 1. Both came in because of a broken mainspring both were Seth Thomas. I was surprised at how nice and shiney the pivots looked and there was no wear or bushings needed. I guess I had thought 3 in 1 would probably dry up since it is pretty thing. Both told me he had repaired them about 12 to 14 yrs ago.April 2, 2014 at 10:43 am #56957
i read a guy back who was using much heavier oils in clocks and watches to see what would happen, he said it made no difference to the running and no difference to the wear rate as far as he could tell. I know lubrication is one of the most important aspects of horology but I do wonder what the sound reasoning behind using light oils is when you hear stories about 3 in 1 and wd40 being used and not causing any real problems. This does in no way mean I will use them on a clock but it does make me wonder!
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