Brass has gone white

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Dells, Nov 7, 2019.

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  1. Dells

    Dells Registered User

    Oct 18, 2019
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    Hi all
    I cleaned some parts with ready made clock cleaner 10% in water in an ultrasonic cleaner for 30 minutes and it has come out part white, anyone got a reason why.
    See photos
    Dell DE3602DA-E6E2-4B82-B720-D72F368F943C.jpeg 633A3146-FC8A-4CAC-A2BC-7C58149EEF49.jpeg
     
  2. lpbp

    lpbp Registered User
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    It looks like it was not rinsed, and then dried properly.
     
  3. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

    Dec 2, 2016
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    Too long in the ultrasonic will make the solution too hot and this will damage the laquer that is on brass plates and wheels. Once this occurs, the only fix is to remove all the damaged laquer.
     
  4. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

    Feb 21, 2008
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    Yes I could be the laquer or some other agent that has turned white, however I hope that you did not just put the movement in the ultrasonic without taking it to bits? If it is a spring driven movement better get the springs out quick.
     
  5. R&A

    R&A Registered User

    Oct 21, 2008
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    By your picture I can't even tell what it is ??
     
  6. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    R&A is right: the part, parts, or movement is unrecognizable, as is its surface condition.

    And I agree that there was a lacquer finish that was damaged. Provided there aren't portions of the movement that could dissolve in lacquer thinner, briefly soak it in acetone or lacquer thinner to remove all remaining lacquer, helping matters along with a non-dissolving brush as necessary. And yes: pull out any mainsprings from their barrels, for the water from your previous treatment will be retained in the mainspring and ultimately rust everything solid.

    Chris Nimon of Horolovar once suggested to me that a treatment with Renaissance Wax is a good alternative to re-lacquering. He further recommends that the wax be left to harden for at least ten minutes after applying it instead of the 'instant' suggested on the can. I've found that a longer dry time--I've left it overnight at times--renders the wax rather hard and gummy and thus more difficult to polish, but that the final results are exceptionally satisfying. I've been doing this with anniversary clocks, weights, bezels, and pendulum bobs ever since, for old lacquer tends to become yellow and dull. Thus the procedure is:

    Dip in lacquer thinner, polish with Simichrome, admire the polished finish, rub Renaissance Wax all over the thing to make it look ugly again, let it dry overnight or so to let it get even uglier, and finally polish.everything with paper towels.

    I haven't tried it, but I suspect that any good paste wax (Johnson's, here in the US) would work just as well.

    Mark Kinsler
     
  7. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    #7 Willie X, Nov 8, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    Yes, 30 minutes is about five times too long. There are many post in the last few years where repairers are recommending a long US cycle at elevated temps. This is not necessary or desirable for many reasons. Your looking at one of them.

    Try a 6 minute cycle at room temperature. Your US and your cleaning solution will last much longer, two more good reasons.

    Long ago, the honorable John Loach wrote a good article on the use of an US machine in clock work. I'm wondering if someone might be able to dig that artical up and publish it on this list? John's instructions could help to correct some of the misinformation that's floating around lately.

    WIllie X
     
  8. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I like a little longer us cycle, but I don't put lacquered plates in the us at all. I just clean them up with Dawn dishwash soap and a toothbrush.
     
  9. Dells

    Dells Registered User

    Oct 18, 2019
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    Thanks for all replies
    First I did strip the clock down second I didn’t put front and backplate in US third I didn’t put the mainspring or barrel in as I am still waiting for a spring winder, I just put the Koma torsion clock back together for practice as it was a free clock and I am only learning, the only wheel with white on is the hour wheel, see better picture .
    Lastly I did what the cleaning solution manufacturer said to do but in future I will do suggestions above.
    Many thanks dell 61F48650-2C82-40BB-90EF-6387D6CB9B1B.jpeg
     
  10. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    Thanks for the somewhat clearer picture and for telling us what the clock is - now we at least know what we are looking at.

    Did you try cleaning the wheel to remove the whiteness? It does look as if it is lacquer that has been partly removed but if so, you could clean it up quite nicely (and easily) by hand. At the moment it doesn't look as though any attempt was made to polish it up, but of course pictures can be deceiving and that may not be the case.

    JTD
     
  11. Dells

    Dells Registered User

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    I haven’t tried cleaning it yet , I will dip it in standard thinner to see if it is lacquer and I can always Re lacquer it as I am a coach builder by trade.
    Dell
     
  12. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Perhaps the wheel isn't brass at all?

    RC
     
  13. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    It's not clear if that hour wheel is plain stamped steel or perhaps a die-cast zinc alloy, but it sure doesn't look like brass. The ultrasonic cleaning machine took the manufacturer's paint off, which usually happens with any painted parts. The best-looking treatment might be to remove the wheel, remove the rest of the paint, and then polish that wheel to gleaming silver steeliness. Wax it to prevent rust and then re-polish.

    M Kinsler
     
  14. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    My guess would be aluminum. Aluminum will corrode in alkaline cleaners.

    Uhralt
     
  15. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Aluminum, yes. It shows up in electric clocks, both in wheels and movement plates. I'm still researching anodizing, which you can apparently do at home.

    M Kinsler
     
  16. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Black lacquer on wheel, done peeled off.

    Is what I think.
     
  17. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I've used Rust-o-lium hammertone gold rattle can paint. Looks pretty good on steel plates but a little too new looking for my taste. :)

    WIllie X
     
  18. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I strongly favor the Rust-o-leum or Krylon gray hammertone paint for electronic equipment of a certain age to compliment shiny black bakelite control knobs and glass-jeweled pilot lights. I believe that someone has built computer cases re-styled in this manner.
     
  19. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I'm seeing the same thing. A different material for that wheel, and it was colored to look like brass.
     
  20. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    I tend towards a longer cycle, 20 minutes or so, and use Polychem DeOx 007. I will put the parts in the US the same time I start the heater and by the end of cleaning the water is warm but not hot. I am getting very good results.
    Ron
     
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  21. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    My little ol HF ultrasonic has a max run period, with or without heat, of 8 minutes before the timer runs down. I usually regard an 8-minute cycle as enough. Occasionally I'll give it a second run, but not often. Why beat a cured horse?:)
     
  22. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I, on the other hand, have always boiled the parts in the ultrasonic until tender. From out of the steam emerge the shiniest examples of horological cookery you could imagine. Very satisfying, and I remove the lacquer from plates anyway.

    M Kinsler
     
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