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  1. #1
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    Default Another Mainspring Lubricant

    There are many brands of this product but I happen to have a 17 oz. spraycan of black label PJ1 motorcycle chain lubricant. It contains moly-disulfide, synthetic sperm whale oil, grease and a thinning solvent to permit it to wick into the inner parts of a motorcycle chain. The thinning solvent evaporates to leave the other ingredients in place with no dripping later. The spraycan comes with a 5" long hollow plastic application tube. It seems that this motorcycle chain lube would be a good choice for a clock mainspring.

    I used it two days ago on one side of the fully wound movement and chime mainsprings of one of my clocks that had been making mainspring trouble. It's too early to know but I will note if the clock or chime stops due to a stuck mainspring and hope to be present to hear any mainspring rumble. Time will tell, so to speak, if this stuff can work.

    If you have reservations or comments in favor or against, please post.

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: Cheezhead)

    Only problem I see is that with a fully wound mainspring, how much lube do you suppose will find it's way between the spring leaves, where it's most needed? I started using Slick 50 One Lube as an experiment about 12 years ago. It's proven itself to me. Your lube might also pass the test of time.
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

  3. #3
    Registered User shimmystep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: harold bain)



    ".....The PJ1 Black Label Chain Lube then becomes tacky, once the solvent has evaporated, to leave a protective and highly shock absorbing film"

    Above from a listing for the product. I'd be reticent due to the 'tacky' business. The coils of the spring need to slide over each other smoothly. If this stuff gets tacky the spring might stick and con

    shimmystep.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: shimmystep)

    I'm very cautious of claims like
    It contains moly-disulfide, synthetic sperm whale oil, grease and a thinning solvent to permit it to wick into the inner parts of a motorcycle chain.
    . There is, of course, no such thing as synthetic sperm whale oil. It's an impossible claim. It also assumes that real sperm whale oil is a good thing. Why? Based on that alone, I'd be cautious.

  5. #5
    Registered user. Jay Fortner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: shutterbug)

    Molybdenum disulfide and brass don't play well together and as was stated chain lubes are VERY tacky so they won't sling off.
    If you want to try an alternative MS lube try full synthetic ATF. It's lightweight and slicker than snot. I've been doing some testing with it for a couple of weeks now and am very pleased,so far. I feel it's better than the Slick One but it will take time to tell.
    Wise men speak when they've got something to say whereas fools speak just to say something.

    http://rosewoodregulators.com/

  6. #6
    Registered user. Jay Fortner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: shutterbug)

    Quote Originally Posted by shutterbug View Post
    There is, of course, no such thing as synthetic sperm whale oil.
    Sure there is,research ATF. It was engineered to be used as a replacement for sperm whale oil used in the first automatic trannys.
    Wise men speak when they've got something to say whereas fools speak just to say something.

    http://rosewoodregulators.com/

  7. #7

    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: Jay Fortner)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Fortner View Post
    Sure there is,research ATF. It was engineered to be used as a replacement for sperm whale oil used in the first automatic trannys.
    I'll accept the term 'replacement'. But it is NOT synthetic sperm whale oil. It's a synthetic oil that functions in a similar way, perhaps.

  8. #8
    Registered User Raymond Smead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: shutterbug)

    Hi everybody. I'm a new guy here wanting to learn about clocks. I see that discussions about oils for springs and pivots come up from time to time and I'm very interested. I noticed this site describingthese products specifically engineered for clock springs. They also say they 're-make' Elgin watch oil. Has anybody looked at them? Talking about their proprietary clock oil they say "...[Clock 859 clock oil]...has been successfully used by every clock company within Europe for two decades..."
    I have not heard of any of this in NAWCC discussions. Does anybody know of this company and it's products? Are Americans missing out on some advanced German technology? What's going on here?

    .../ray retired guy and arch beginner

  9. #9
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: Raymond Smead)

    Hi, Ray, welcome to the message board. I wonder if the 859 is Etsyntha? It has been used for a long time and is stamped on Regula cuckoo movements as the preferred oil. It can be purchased from Timesavers, and probably most other parts suppliers.
    You probably have noticed that every repairman has his preferences for oils, and that the most important thing is that you have confidence in what you use.
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: harold bain)

    Quote from Harold Bain: "how much lube do you suppose will find it's way between the spring leaves, where it's most needed?" Unquote

    As an experiment I removed the Japanese movement from my 31 day Korean clock. The mainsprings in this clock are not enclosed so the edges are visible on both sides. I wound one of the springs tight, sprayed the chain lube on one side and then took a look at the other side. The chain lube did not apear to wick through to the other side. The other spring was slightly wound down with several days of running and was also lubricated with motorcycle chain lube. It also did not apear to wick through to the other side but when wound, all of the coils appeared to smoothly slide against each other. It will be interesting to try this lube again with a completely run down mainspring. If possible it would be good to apply the lube to both sides of a mainspring.


    Quote from shimmystep: "If this stuff gets tacky the spring might stick..." Unquote

    As another experiment, about a 1/8" depth of the chain lube was sprayed into a small paper cup and was left to dry out the diluting solvent for a couple of days when the residual was then found to be a very thick oil or a thin grease if you prefer, that would not run from one side of the bottom of the cup to another. Tacky may have been a good choice of words from an ad copy writer for a motorcycle chain lubricant as it implies stickiness but stickiness would not be appropriate for a mainspring. When a small amount was picked up with a toothpick, stickiness or a gum-like character was not at all in evidence. The truth is that some of the lube does indeed fling off of the chain and gets on the rear wheel of my motorcycle. I can say after using this lube for many years every 333 miles on a motorcycle chain, it does a good job. I never clean the chain; just add new lube and run chains and sprockets to ripe old ages. With the supplied application plastic tube, the diluted lube does not come out as a spray but as a stream that is highly directable.


    Quote from Jay Fortner: "Molybdenum disulfide and brass don't play well together...: Unquote

    The internet revealed little about this for me. One person's opinion was that it is not harmful. Another said that a high temperature makes moly-disulfide incompatible with yellow metals. One might wonder if etching of brass synchros in a manual transmission where there are high speed rotating parts and moderate heat might have been the source of this noted incompatibility. If you have a reference that verifies that moly-disulfide is not compatible with brass, it would be interesting to read. If the conditions are available, that would be good to know too.

    The mainspring where I used the chain lube was, of course, made of steel as was the enclosing mainspring barrel. The winding arbor was steel too. No brass was exposed to moly-disulfide in this particular instance.

  11. #11
    Registered User shimmystep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: Cheezhead)

    Thanks for your detailed findings. I used to use something very similar on my Duc' 888 before changing to drip feed, so know its modus operandi well; great stuff for chains, but I'm not convinced it's good for clock main springs, just don't think over a long period it will allow coil slip. I changed as I too was fed up with cleaning the flung spray lube off the bike and the back rim. The drip feed oil flings as well but is so much easier to clean off, and much less of it. A clock, if it is one of the lucky ones, will get a full service every 4-5 years. Knowing this kind of lube I don't think it will remain viscous over this period to the extent that will allow the MS to operate as it should.
    Post some long term results after a couple of years with it in the clock, be good to know Cheezhead.

    Out of general interest for those in the UK, I spoke to the sales team of Slick, as Slick One spray lube is not available in the UK. I explained it is widely used in the USA for clock main springs with good longevity/results. After giving them contact details of the UK clock parts suppliers they are going to look into seeing if the suppliers are interested in stocking it.
    shimmystep.

  12. #12
    Registered User Raymond Smead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: harold bain)

    Hi Harold,

    Nice to be here in the clock repair forum and thanks for the Etsyntha tip. That might be the oil that that German company is duplicating. They list a couple of dozen oils and greases for clocks but don't give any prices or list sales agents for their products. I think they may bid on and then manufacture oil to specification for large users of special oils.
    Anyhow I'm following many of these threads with enthusiasm. Thank you for your time spent moderating.

    .../ray

  13. #13

    Default Re: Another Mainspring Lubricant (RE: Raymond Smead)

    For what it is worth Ray and all....The Etsyntha synthetic lubricants as far as I recall, were developed in Germany by Dr. Tillwich likely during the 1960's.

    He brought samples to our Chapter in the early 1970's. It was a "hard sell" to convince repairers then that anything could be better than the traditional clock oil product by Nye. Nye's oils were said to be pure porpoise jaw oil and ten time cheaper than the German inventor's oil.

    I suspect that the Etsyntha name and "859" are well protected by copyright.
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

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