Mainspring lubrication.

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  • #48266
    arutha
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    • Topics Started: 85
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    I would like to know what people are using to lubricate mainsprings in clocks with. I have been reading that you can use synthetic motor oil (although this does contain mineral oils, the name is very misleading!), slick 50, mainspring grease etc. In fact I have been reading so much I am completely confused and would like to know what I should be using.
    Any ideas?

    #51666
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Hi Paul,
    Good topic!
    I use Slick 50 spray. Only need a tiny bit and works fantastic. Don’t tell anybody though because I’m sure I’ll get jumped on for it. :D
    Bob

    #51667
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
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    Is that the slick 50 one lube spray with ptfe Bob? Have you had any experience cleaning that off of a spring as I have read on another forum it can be a bit of a problem or is that just because it ruins clock cleaning solution and they should be using a degreaser or brake and clutch cleaner first? Sorry for the multiple question.
    Paul
    p.s. the weather is lovely in the UK today and the pills are starting to help my back :)

    #51668
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Hi Paul,
    Good to hear about the back getting better!
    Yes that’s the one. Slick 50 One Lube.
    Good to know about Slick 50 contaminating the solution. I’ve never noticed a problem cleaning springs with Slick 50 on them but I clean my springs first in a Chacago parts cleaner with a degreaser and not in my cleaning solution. I also use the parts cleaner for movements that may have WD40 on them. That stuff definitely kills clock cleaning solution!

    Bob

    #51669
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Hi Bob,
    yes I learnt the hard way with wd40, I have started to use brake cleaner now on the real mucky stuff. Get in there with a good brush and clean it by hand and then into the ultrasonic with the cleaning solution, it makes the clock solution last much longer as there is no large amount of dirt going in there. A 5 ltr can of brake cleaner only cost £10, you dont need much as you are hand cleaning and it evaporates quite quickly and doesnt rust steel. I am going to try it on some watch movements as it has worked great on the small alarms I have been doing.

    #51670
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Paul, :D I have been using the keystone mainspring lube and I use a artists brush to apply it, I dont use very much, just enough to slick it up, seems to work well, what do you guys think about the Keystone mainspring lube???? William

    #51671
    jim1228
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 75

    Hello All, I’ve been using the light/medium Keystone mainspring oil for long time and it works great for me. Doesn’t take much, I just put a couple drops on my (non-powder) latex glove and rub a very thin layer onto the spring. The price isn’t bad either. Good stuff. :D

    Jim

    #51672
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
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    Thanks for the replies Jim and William,
    I am having difficulty locating the slick 50 spray so I will now take a look at the Keystone lube.
    Thanks again :)
    Paul.

    #51673
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    I like Keystone also. Good grease and great price. I still use Slick 50 most of the time as I had seen some comparison tests somewhere online that resulted in Slick 50 out performing Keystone. Will try to locate it and post the link up here. One thing that Arutha pointed out in a previous post though about Slick 50 possibly contaminating cleaning solution has me wondering if Slick 50 is the best choice. Would like to test it with some clean solution to see what happens.
    Also Paul…if you’re having trouble locating the spray then you can always use the regular liquid additive. This is what I used for a long time before going to the spray. I think it’s the same stuff. Just easier to apply a thin coat with the spray.
    We discussed Keystone a little in a previous thread last year that some may find useful. Here’s the link: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=84&hilit=keystone

    Enjoy!
    Bob

    #51674
    arutha
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    • Topics Started: 85
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    http://www.skepdic.com/slick50.html An interesting test done by Nasa is included in this report on slick 50. I am not saying its going to cause problems with your mainspring but I dont want to put the stuff in my car! I have seen lots of people swear by this stuff for mainsprings but what I would like to know is what happens when it comes back for its next clean and service. Have people been using this stuff for the past 5-10 years?
    Its funny but I have had enough springs through my hands now to know which ones have not been touched in a while, some come out almost like the day they were put back in after a service and some come out covered in the most awful crud. This is where I get confused, I am probably thinking about this way too much but I want to make sure I am doing the best job possible and that means using the best lubricants. Cheap is great but the clock or watch must not suffer because of it, I would rather spend extra and know the jobs been done as well as I can do it. Another guy on a forum said that for slick 50 to work properly it has to be exposed to high temperatures that you would find in an automobile engine. Mainsprings dont tend to get too hot.
    I dont know, I think I have got myself even more confused than when I started. Sometimes too many opinions just make you wish you hadnt asked the question.
    I will take a look and see if keystone is available here and try that.

    #51675
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Hi Paul,
    Yes I’ve read similar articles about Slick 50 and it’s use in automobiles. Many pros and cons. I also don’t use it in my car. The test that I mentioned in my earlier post was carried out by John Hubby. The following link isn’t to the actual test but I know that the test is out there somewhere. In this link he does mention the key points about his test though. Also it was a comparison test between Slick 50, Mobile 1 and Mobius mainspring grease and not Keystone as I had suggested earlier. He does mention that clocks that have been returned for servicing up to 15 years later reveal non-sticking springs.
    If you scroll about half way down the page you’ll see John Hubby’s post.
    http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?25900-Clock-lubrication-%28Here-we-go-again%29

    My feeling is that this stuff has performed very well for me with clock mainsprings. My main concern at this point is what you had pointed out in another post about solution contamination. If this is true then I’m led to wonder what effect the cleaning of a movement in this contaminated solution by some unsuspecting future clocksmith might have on a plate that has had its pivot holes oiled with an underlying film of Slick 50 on it. Would the oil stay put? Might not be a good thing.

    Bob

    #51676
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Nothing in life is ever simple Bob, but if after 15 years it is still working and has not gummed up the mainspring this has got to be a good thing. With it maybe sticking to the pivot holes, it is going to be such a small amount I cant see how this could cause too much of a problem. The one thing I was thinking of doing is producing a small folder for each customer that they will get back with the clock. This will detail exactly what has been done to their clock in terms of repair and service, will contain pictures of any repairs and also of their clock mechanism before and after cleaning. This can then be passed to the next person who services the clock if it is not me. Wether or not the folder gets lost is another question but I thought It would be a nice touch and the customer gets a little something back which hopefuly will help to keep their interest in their clock. You get a service book with your car so why not one for your clock? It will be a standard format document so all I will have to fill out is the repairs part and take a few pictures. This will contain the types of lubrication used as well.
    What do you think?

    #51677
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    You’re probably right Paul. I’m going to run a quick test on a plate by contaminating a little solution with some Slick 50 (will just add a little to the solution) and will check to see how or if it affects oil in an oil sink. If it stays put then no problem.
    Passing along important repair info to future smiths is always a good idea. I used to adhere a small clear shipping pouch to the inside or back of clocks with any info that needed to be passed along written on a piece of paper inside. This way I was pretty sure it would get into the correct hands rather than being forgotten or lost in a drawer somewhere. Have to be careful about where it’s attached as they REALLY stick and might present a problem to a fine finish. If no place can be found then it can usually just be set in the bottom of the case. A simple word of caution could be added to the paper about the Slick 50 and possible solution contamination. Even if it doesn’t cause a problem with the clock it’s a nice gesture for any future smith. That solution is expensive!

    Your idea about giving the customer info and photos is excellent! This helps them connect with their clock and with you and is such an easy yet helpful thing to do. It also makes good marketing sense. By doing that little extra the customer will realize that you not only care a great deal about their clock but also about them.
    When handing a clock or watch back to a customer (back when I had retail stores) I ALWAYS had a polishing cloth in my hand and would polish the clock or watch while talking history or some other interesting point about their timepiece (even if it was just a battery replacement!) I would often do this for several minutes before allowing them to touch it! When they did finally have it in their hands they would cuddle it like a baby! The pride in their timepiece and my work would pass right over the counter to them.
    Just taking that extra couple of minutes helped us get to know each other a little bit better and form a bond between us and their timepiece. It made me feel good about my day and work as I settled back down to the bench and hopefully did the same for them. Your folder idea would certainly do the same!

    Bob

    #51678
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Thanks for that Bob,
    I do have pride in my work and I think its a good way to get it over to the customer. Its hard these days as people are generaly very suspicious, especially of a guy who mends clocks, is not in his eighties, does not have a full beard and does not wear tweed. If you fix clocks in this country people expect you to look like this :)

    #51679
    kybill2011
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 16
    • Total Posts: 64

    Okay guys. I watched bob grease the mainspring in a watch and it was a solid grease. Can you use slick 50 in a watch or does it have to be a certain type of grease? Bill

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aruthaMainspring lubrication.