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  1. #1
    Registered user. RJSoftware's Avatar
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again)

    Ok. But this time simple.

    What is the most common accepted old Gilbert style clock lubricant?

    How bout good ol 10w40?

    And what is the best way to apply it?
    With dropper, spray, old oil can?

    Say you dont want to totally dissasemble but just have the works out of case still assembled?

    Thanks!
    RJ
    [Discovery is about to be destroyed by the birth of a new star]
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  2. #2
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    Hi RJ. Clock oil is not as expensive as you might be thinking. Check out www.timesavers.com for an ample selection of quality clock oils and proper applicators. Oil only the pivot bushings, and not very much. A drop on the end of a toothpick is plenty. Harold
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

  3. #3

    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    As Harold said, only clock oil, and only enough to fill the oil sink, you don't want it to run down the plate. Spraying is the worst way, it attracts dirt and eventually will run the pivots dry.

    Larry Pearson, FNAWCC* #35863
    Larry Pearson, FNAWCC* #35863

  4. #4
    Registered user. Cathy in Hawaii's Avatar
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    Aloha RJ,

    Doesn't seem like a multiweight oil would be a good selection for using on a clock. Although the viscosity changes with greater temperature ranges than your clock is likely to endure, so the viscosity may not be as changeable as if it was in your car. If you are going to use a household oil, try sewing machine oil or some sort of lightweight single viscosity oil if you must.

    Timesavers has a nice clock oil in a handy needle nosed bottle for just a couple dollars. It doesn't take much for a clock and lasts a long time.

    A hui hou,
    Cathy

  5. #5
    DJDasher
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    RJ,

    Unless you have tried to clean a movement that has been "W-D 40'D" you have no idea how difficult it is. Normally, clock cleaning solutions will last for some time. One useage with a movement upon which W-D 40 has been used will ruin your solution. The stuff has its uses, just not on or in clocks. As a clock lubricant, it stinks.

    Dennis

  6. #6
    Jim Moss
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    You are right: here we go again!

    Horological lubricants are different than automotive lubricants. Horological lubricants are like well trained dogs: they stay in the place you put them. Automotive lubricants are designed to search out and lubricate: they do not stay where you put them.

    Horological lubricants are designed to operate without a presurized system where as automotive lubricants must operate with a pressurized system.

    Horological lubricants must go a long time between operations and still be able to keep the surfaces apart (think about the strike train sitting around for 30 to 60 minutes without doing anything): they are long chain polar lubricants. Automotive lubricants operate primarily with a bearing/shaft continuously rotating (except when you shut it off at night). Most of the wear that occurs in an automotive engine occurs at start up after being shut off for several hours: automotive lubricants need the pressure to provide a lubricating film to seperate the surfaces.

    DO NOT USE AUTOMOTIVE lubricants in a horological machine: they are not made for this purpose.

  7. #7
    Principal Administrator John Hubby's Avatar
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    Jim, I agree completely with your points about the use of horological lubricants with one exception, being the mainspring lubricant for barrel spring clocks especially 400-Day and other long duration clocks.

    I use Slick 50 synthetic with Teflon for these, exclusively. Several years back (1997) I did a side-by-side test on identical 30-Day clocks to determine the relative performance of a good horological mainspring grease (Moebius) vs Mobil 1 vs Slick 50.

    In runtime, the slick 50 outperformed the Moebius by an average of 23% over a period of six trials. The Mobil 1 outperformed the Moebius by 16%. Further, with Slick 50 there is NO "sticking together" of mainspring coils even with clocks that have been running for more than 15 years with this lubricant.

    In the test, three clocks were used. Each one was thoroughly cleaned and the mainsprings lubed using one of the three test materials. All clock pivots were lubed with Etsyntha 5, a synthetic clock oil. The pallets were "wetted" with a synthetic watch oil. The clocks were then fully wound, set to running, and the number of days recorded to the point they stopped. After two tests, the clocks were stripped, cleaned, and the mainspring lubricant changed to one of the others, two more run tests were made, then the cycle repeated until all three clocks had made two complete runs with each mainspring lubricant. This assured that any mechanical differences between the three clocks were accounted for. The results were the same in all of the tests, within an error of less than 10% per run.

    I have inspected a number of 400-Day clocks at 5-year intervals that were lubricated with Slick 50, and simply put them back together without relubrication of the mainspring because they were totally clean, no oxidation, and no change in performance. In fact to be assured you will get 400+ days from a 400-Day clock there is no other choice than a good synthetic oil . . Mobil 1 is OK, Slick 50 is the best I have tested.

    Just as a note, there are other Teflon based lubricants on the market that "may" perform as good as Slick 50, however I have not tested those so can't comment.

    John Hubby

  8. #8
    Registered User Scottie-TX's Avatar
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    Hey "RJ"! Jes' foun' this rare lookin' clock on EB . . . . . Naw, RJ. Right tool for th' job - right lube for the app. 'Bout five yearsago, I bought this Moebus assortment. I use their 8030 & 8040 fer jes' bout everything have lubed a zillion clox, and still have probably 3years supply remaining. For mainsprings, tho, I use "KEYSTONE". Proper oils are expensive but in the quantities we use them . . . you understand.

  9. #9

    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    John:

    Which of the Slick 50 products did you use in your test group?

    Bob

  10. #10
    Doug
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    Hi Everyone,

    Just a thought. I do use specific clock oils and grease and also agree with the slick 50 for the applications noted in previous posts.

    I do think we get a little hyper on lubricants, after all we are now working on movements that have operated over 100 years running on kerosene, vegtable oil, mineral oil, whale oil or anything that could be found that was slighlty slippery.

    How did they survive without our specially formulated high tech oils of today

    We talk like they couldn't have survived on these old products, but they did or we wouldn't be discussing all of the aspects of having these dear possessions today.

    100 years from now clock nuts will be saying how could those people in the 2000's ever use the things that we are swearing by today.

    Have a Great time!

  11. #11
    Jim Moss
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    Hi Doug,

    Interesting thought........

    Here are a few of my thoughts:

    It is probably wise that we discuss lubrication even though the clocks have survived for ~600 years without thinking too much about lubricants. During my examinations of clock components under very high power magnification, I have seen the results of using lubricants without knowledge of their chemical make-up. Many of the early lubricants that were used had an acidic component. I have clearly seen etching of the brass surrounding the oil sink areas where the oil has migrated onto the plates, etching of the brass within the oil sinks themselves, and etching of the brass within the bearing itself. When the hammer pins have been lubricated, I have seen clear evidence of severe etching of the brass (and occasionally of the steel) at the intersection of the steel hammer wheel pins and the brass of the hammer wheel (this may be a combination of chemical and electrolytic corrosions). Likewise, I have also seen etching within mainspring barrels. There are many other places in a clock where I have observed the presence of a lubricant and etching of the metals.

    If we expect these clocks (and watches) to survive into the long distant future, then attention to the chemical interaction between the lubricant and the metals is extremely important. Lack of attention to this detail will aid in the destruction of the clocks and watches that we are working upon.

  12. #12
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    John, your experiment makes me feel much better about my choice for a mainspring lube. We have many more choices than were around 100 years ago, and I think the clocks should survive quite well with modern lubrication. Harold
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

  13. #13
    Registered User Scottie-TX's Avatar
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    Default Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    I'm probly weigh off base, Doug ( not AWOL ) but I believe there were and still are natural oils of animals, plants perhaps etc. that were very capable and were used. I certainly doubt all shops or mfrs. used them but you know - with this "save the whales" thing, etc., the protracted processes necessary to extract them - we ain't gonna see them. Synthetics have replaced them. They just not gonna killa whale to get 3ccs of clockoil from 'im. BUT. I think there were such lubricants equal to or superior to ones we're using.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: RJSoftware)

    I have some questions about mainsping lubrication. Is it ok to use orginal Slick 50 or does it need to be synthetic? Where can I buy the Slick 50 oil? What do you think of using Lucas oil stabilizer or No smoke? Do these contain petroleom and or Paraffin and is this bad for clock mainsprings? Thanks.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Clock lubrication (Here we go again) (RE: travisg40213)

    Quote Originally Posted by travisg40213 View Post
    I have some questions about mainsping lubrication. Is it ok to use orginal Slick 50 or does it need to be synthetic? Where can I buy the Slick 50 oil? What do you think of using Lucas oil stabilizer or No smoke? Do these contain petroleom and or Paraffin and is this bad for clock mainsprings? Thanks.
    Quite a few of us use this: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Slick 50 One Lube.jpg 
Views:	3 
Size:	94.7 KB 
ID:	180707 but John's experiments were conducted with the original Slick 50 oil additive, I believe. Either works well, but the latter is hard to find

    Now back to the original question, I think the older generation of clock owners had a much stricter schedule for servicing their clocks. Every couple of years they'd be back in the shop for service and oiling. Because of their wanting to preserve the clock in good working condition, the oils of the day were adequate since they were replaced often. Today's clock owner is not so good about servicing their clocks, and the need for an oil that will stay put and lubricate over a long period of time is desirable. The synthetic clock oils are made and blended to do just that.

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