Cleaning and de-rusting dirty and rusty clock parts: In which order, does it matter?

Uhralt

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I just received this antique Black forest Cuckoo clock. It has the "Schotten" movement modified to activate the pipe bellows. The movement parts are extremely rusty and dirty. My current plan of attack is to disassemble the movement, clean the parts first in Sep fast 505, and then de-rust them in Evaporust. My rationale is to remove the dirt and grease first in order to allow the Evaporust even access to all the rust.

Is this the best way to do it or would it be better the other way round, i.e. de-rust first and then clean. Will that give a better finish? Why?

Tell me what you think or what your experinece is.

Thanks for your help, as always,

Uhralt
Cuckoo1.JPG Cuckoo2.JPG Cuckoo3.JPG
 

THTanner

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I clean them first and use Evaporust. I clean them first so that I don't pollute the reusable Evaporust liquid
 

R. Croswell

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I would clean first with a brush, then wire brush / scrape to remove loose rust first. If the parts are oily I would remove oily residue with acetone, then the rust remover. You may need to wire brush after to remove residue from the rust remover. Looks like quite a project.

RC
 

Uhralt

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Thanks! It seems everybody agrees that cleaning first and de-rusting then is a reasonable approach. I will try to clean mechanically first before I use the Zep fast 505. The movement is incredibly dirty, I wonder how it got that way. At least everything seems to be complete and original. This will be a challenging but hopefully gratifying little project. I've been looking for this kind of Cuckoo clock a long time and finally found one. It came from Cyprus.

Uhralt
 
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THTanner

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Are the bellows made with leather? Very cool project.

What is your plan to deal with the wooden plates? I have a wooden movement that I have not dared begin yet because I have no idea how to work with the old, dirty, dried out wood. I have seen several discussions but there are a lot of "but don'ts" as you go through the list of options to renew the old wood safely.
 

Uhralt

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Are the bellows made with leather? Very cool project.

What is your plan to deal with the wooden plates? I have a wooden movement that I have not dared begin yet because I have no idea how to work with the old, dirty, dried out wood. I have seen several discussions but there are a lot of "but don'ts" as you go through the list of options to renew the old wood safely.
I'm not sure about the bellows, they are also very dirty and I am hesitant to use any solvent to clean them, so I will just gently brush them because they look old and do still work.
For the wooden plates and panels I plan to wipe/brush off the dirt as much as I can. Then I will use acetone on a rug to get rid of any greasy dirt. If the plates look very dry, I may follow-up with mineral spirits first and maybe some wood oil. There are long brass bushings in the plates which are usually full with grime. They are made from thin, rolled brass sheet. I will use small interdental brushes dipped in mineral spirits until a pipe cleaner comes out clean.
I will show my progress when I made some.

Uhralt
 

shutterbug

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I think I would add a second cleaning after the rust remover step. Looks like a cool clock, and an interesting challenge.
 

Uhralt

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I think I would add a second cleaning after the rust remover step. Looks like a cool clock, and an interesting challenge.
I will consider this depending on how the parts will look like after removing the rust.

Uhralt
 

tom427cid

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There is an old time cleaner-I have made it and used it- that works well. I think it is equal parts Cider Vinegar, Alcohol, Linseed oil, and (I think) Turpentine. It smells terrible, but it cleans dirty wood quite well. Mix up a small batch and try it in an obscure area to see if it will do the job.
Hope this might help.
tom
 
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THTanner

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There is an old time cleaner-I have made it and used it- that works well. I think it is equal parts Cider Vinegar, Alcohol, Linseed oil, and (I think) Turpentine. It smells terrible, but it cleans dirty wood quite well. Mix up a small batch and try it in an obscure area to see if it will do the job.
Hope this might help.
tom
I like that mix except I leave out the alcohol. I use it with 0000 brass wool and work a circular motion. I suspect the alcohol is a good addition, I just never considered adding it. The reason I use brass wool instead of steel wool, is that little tiny bits of steel wool can get caught in the grain and break off stuck into the wood. Over time they rust and leave little black pit marks in the wood. That does not really hurt anything - except perhaps a finger sliding over the wood - but brass wool won't do that.
 

bangster

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Uhralt that's how I do it. Clean first (whatever method) then Evaporust.:thumb:
 

Uhralt

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Thanks for the additional suggestions. I will try that next time because I already advanced further. Where do I get brass wool?

In the meantime I made some progress. I disassembled the movement and cleaned the parts. The first picture shows them before cleaning. The next after cleaning in Zep fast 505 in the ultrasonic cleaner. After 10 minutes at 50C the parts showed just some signs of cleaning, i.e. visible brass in spots. I had to add two more 10 minute cycles until the parts appeared to be clean. I turned out that the rust was more superficial than it seemed, so I skipped the Evaporust step and went to remove surface rust and did some polishing on the lathe. For parts that couldn't be de-rusted or polished on the lathe I used a stainless steel brush wheel on a Dremel. I didn't remove the strike levers from the wood frame because I was concerned that the steel "hook nails", that hold them in place, might brake when I try to remove them, with parts of them left in the wood.
For the wooden parts I tried my intended rug and acetone approach, but it turned out that the layer of grime was just too much. So I switched to a stiff brush and denatured alcohol (methylated spirits) and washed down the wood parts, wiping with paper towels until they remained clean. The wood appeared rather dry after that, so I rubbed it with some mineral spirits and followed up with a soft brass brush. That gave the wood a nice matte shine.

There were two repairs that I noted were necessary after cleaning. The click and click wheel of the strike side were very worn and not reliably functioning. I disassembled the wheel, re-shaped the click and cleaned up the click wheel with a file. It should be good for the next 100 years now. The other repair was for the escape wheel. One pivot was only about 1.5 mm long. To make up for the missing length the brass bushing was somewhat pushed out of the wood panel . So I re-pivoted that wheel and pushed the bushing back. Everything else looks quite ok now.

I will report back when I have the clock back together and working.

Uhralt

Cuckoo4.JPG Cuckoo5.JPG Cuckoo6.JPG
 
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Uhralt

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Bruce Alexander

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They may not carry it in the store but they do offer "Bronze Wool" online. This shows up on a Search.

Homax Fine Bronze Wool Pads-123100 - The Home Depot


https://www.walmart.com/ip/Brass-Wo...s-FINE-grade-Made-in-USA-Pure-Brass/447384362


The brass wool is more expensive than bronze, which is more expensive than steel.

THTanner, As I recall, a while back you recommended rotary tool (Dremel) Polishing/Buffing Wheels made with "Scotch Brite" material. I picked some up on eBay and really find them very helpful on brass and steel. They tend to create a very fine dust so I usually have a fan running when I use them to help carry the dust away from me and the work area. I would recommend that and/or a dust mask. They are very fast and effective, and not too expensive. Thanks for all of your tips. :coolsign:

Bruce
 
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Bruce Alexander

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Edited to remove those occasional System Duplicated Postings
 

tom427cid

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https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01CTGG...e-us000-pcomp-feature-scomp-wm-5&ref=aa_scomp

You can also find it in the paint departments of Home Depot and Lowes quite often. Other sources as well.

I learn to use brass wool instead of steel from a cabinet maker friend.
For a long time bronze wool was difficult to find. Nowadays not so much. For me I used to rub out a laquer finish with 4/0 and I was always disappointed with the fine scratches it left in the finish. Now as a final step after the 4/0 a rub down I rub down with the fine bronze wool. It almost removes those scratches, and if done within 24 hours or so of the final coat the finish is still a bit soft and then I take a blue shop towel(paper kind) and rub the piece down again. This burnishes the finish and helps to further diminish the scratches(minor) left by the bronze wool.
I do not know how this would work with other types of finish as I have not experimented.
Hope this helps.
tom
 
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Uhralt

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To finish this thread, here is the finished product. I replaced the trundles of the T2 lantern pinion and r two bushings. The clock is now up on the wall, running and cuckooing nicely.

Uhralt

cuckoo7.JPG cuckoo8.JPG
 

Bruce Alexander

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Wow Uhrait,

I bet that movement was at least a few grams lighter after you got rid of all the dust and dirt! :)

Nice job. Thanks for sharing.

Bruce
 

Uhralt

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Wow Uhrait,

I bet that movement was at least a few grams lighter after you got rid of all the dust and dirt! :)

Nice job. Thanks for sharing.

Bruce
I didn't weigh it but I guess you are right!
What learned is that when the dirt is removed it is much easier to judge what needs to be done about the rust. I expected deep pitting and was surprised that the rust was mainly on the surface. It could relative easily be removed using steel and brass brushes.

Uhralt
 

Bruce Alexander

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Yes. I think that many, if not most rust removers recommend that you remove as much dirt AND loose surface rust as you can before applying their chemicals. It can also help a lot to continue manual removal of loosened surface rust in combination with, and during the use of other methods.

One of these days, when I have a large part (or parts) that need serious rust removal I'm going to try my hand at electrolysis, otherwise Evapo-Rust and Time works well when corrosion has gone below the surface.

Regards,

Bruce
 

kinsler33

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To finish this thread, here is the finished product. I replaced the trundles of the T2 lantern pinion and r two bushings. The clock is now up on the wall, running and cuckooing nicely.

Uhralt

View attachment 613826 View attachment 613827
Very nice.

-For those that don't know, Mr Uhralt lives somewhere near Tahiti or Pitcairn Island or Bora Bora in the South Pacific, and he's probably never seen the musical (It starred Mary Martin.) He's mentioned that the atmosphere is humid and salty, so it's no particular surprise that his clock was as corroded as it was.

Machinery maintenance of any sort in that part of the world must be a challenge, and he does beautiful work.

Mark Kinsler

I'm surprised there wasn't a banana tree growing out of it.
 

Uhralt

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-For those that don't know, Mr Uhralt lives somewhere near Tahiti or Pitcairn Island or Bora Bora in the South Pacific, and he's probably never seen the musical (It starred Mary Martin.) He's mentioned that the atmosphere is humid and salty, so it's no particular surprise that his clock was as corroded as it was.
LOL, that would be nice. I actually live in Michigan, but somehow I seem to attract these extreme examples. Or, maybe I am attracted by them for the challenge.

Uhralt
 

shutterbug

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Nice work! Where in Michigan? I have relatives in the Cold Water area :)
 

Uhralt

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...but I thought...
Ah, well. I'm old.
M Kinsler

kaff kaff
Never mind. I long time ago I mentioned in a thread how humid climate and salty air can speed up the corrosion process. Probably that's what you associated my name with.

Uhralt
 
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