Using Motor oil for clock lubrication…

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  • #48817
    tmac1956
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    If you’re a member of NAWCC then perhaps you’ve read the section entitled Technical Tidbits – No. 22 in the latest Watch and Clock Bulletin, pages 76 – 80. It seems that the author has done his research and concluded that Mobile 1 5W-30 is a superior oil for clocks.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Tom

    #55344
    arutha
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    Hi Tom,
    I moved this as it wasn’t really a hint or tip, I hope you dont mind. I think it will get a better response here too.
    As long as that motor oil is not multigrade where it will contain cleaning agents etc and the viscosity is ok then I dont see why not but like most things, until it has been in a clock and running for a minimum of 3 years I would be wary. Sometimes it is better to stick with the known rather than the unknown but I do know they have been using slick 50 for mainsprings and it does seem to be very good at preventing sticking and keeping the spring movement smooth.
    Paul.

    #55345
    david pierce
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    If Mobile 1 is a pure synthetic oil then it is not made from petroleum and will not contain parafin. It may turn out to be some pretty good stuff. It is probably too thick to use on a watch but a clock has a lot more power to push against the oil.
    david

    #55346
    chris mabbott
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    I was using motor oil on mainsprings until I changed to grease, after a few years the oil had left the building but the grease was still giving a fine performance as it adheres better to the constantly moving high pressure coils.
    It’s fun to play with lube, if that’s a persons thing, but it’s something you have to monitor and that takes time.

    I’ve often wondered who exactly did the study on watch lubrication. I mean who actually determined that the recommended oil maintains the correct oil film on the parts after X amount of running hours?
    Watches are in a fairly constant state of motion, vertical, horizontal positions frequently change, oil is displaced, under the force of the mating parts, so the remaining oil film, the excess that isn’t squeezed out, is what we rely on for protection against wear and a frictionless contact point. We also are faced with two dissimilar mating surfaces, mineral/steel, whereas one lubricant may work well with the latter, it may not play well with the former.
    You probably have read this article already but for those that haven’t , here is the link, it’s interesting because it doesn’t go too deep lol

    http://www.abbeyclock.com/aoiltwo.html

    I think most people just stick with the safe bet of recommended watch products. Does anyone actually know what kind of oils they are?

    Chris

    #55347
    tmac1956
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    Hmmm…

    Has anyone ever worked on an old watch and noticed the smell of fish? I understand that in the old days, watchmakers used oil from the head of sperm whales as watch oil.

    Just curious…
    Tom

    #55348
    demewill
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    Article describing what goes into formulating motor oil.
    http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/whats-in-your-motor-oil/
    This website is very comprehensive in regards to all sorts of oils and lubricants. Too bad there isn’t a section on watch lubricants

    #55349
    david pierce
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    I think the trick to formulating watch oil is to get it thin enough to do a proper but not have the solvents evaporate and leave a gummy mess behind.
    david

    #55350
    arutha
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    Tom,
    I have just spotted your post about “the fishy smell” and although I have yet to experience this, you are quite correct about Whale oil being used to lubricate clocks but i didn’t know they used it on watches too. I believe they also used olive oil and fish jaw bone oil – http://www.nyelubricants.com/history.shtml.
    Paul.

    #55351
    dave booth
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    I know this is an old thread, but not having been around when I was started, I am just now getting around to reading it. When I worked for Bob Goodman, he kept a five gallon bucket about 1/2 full of SAE 90W standard transmission and differential oil, that he tossed mainsprings into, after cleaning and inspecting them. I dislike the smell of the stuff intensely, but I have to admit, it DOES do the job. Even those monster Seth Thomas Sonora mainsprings do not compress enough to squash 90 weight gear lube out of the coils. When I do mainsprings for clocks, I usually lube them with STP or a comparable oil additive. (I like the synthetics best; they seem to coat more evenly, and seem to hold up better over time.)

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tmac1956Using Motor oil for clock lubrication…