Cleaning Pivot Files

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by gordon, Aug 29, 2015.

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  1. gordon

    gordon Registered User
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    Mar 7, 2007
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    Hello All

    I am looking for a method to clean pivot files.

    With the fine teeth on a pivot file the file card/brush will not do the job.

    Gordon
     
  2. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Apr 11, 2002
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    What about putting them in a ultrasonic if you have one. Or Use brake cleaner and then a steel brush on them after.
     
  3. gordon

    gordon Registered User
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    Hello Kevin

    Thank you for the reply.

    Yes i do have a ultrasonic cleaner I can put them in. I will give that a try and see what happens.

    Gordon
     
  4. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

    Aug 27, 2000
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    Re: the ultrasonic. It almost goes without saying- DO NOT use water based solution!
     
  5. gordon

    gordon Registered User
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    Mar 7, 2007
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    Hello Doug Sinclair

    Thank you for the reply.

    I kind of figured that water based solutions would be a problem. I will have to look for something else that is cheep.

    I see their are other post on the subject that I will be reading.

    Gordon
     
  6. dickstorer

    dickstorer Registered User

    Oct 19, 2010
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    Mr. Sinclair, what happens if I do use water based cleaner?
     
  7. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Just don't! The cutting surface of a pivoting file is so fine, the file would be destroyed in no time, in water based solution! Ultrasonic machines are great, but they aren't magical. The exposure time in the tank required to clean the file would be sufficient to allow for water to rust the surface. My pivoting files are double-ended. Pivoting file on one end, and burnishing tool on the other. Rust would render either tool useless! Beyond that, I have absolutely NO faith whatsoever in the cleaning capabilities of water based solutions.
     
  8. technitype

    technitype Registered User

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    Have you tried using compressed air point-blank on the file?
     
  9. James Foster

    James Foster Registered User
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    Dec 13, 2010
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    Gordon
    As I cleaned my pivot file today I remembered reading your post sometime back and thought I'd share what works for me. I took a large caliber rifle cartridge and mashed the small end flat creating a comb with a handle. I keep the file card and the cartridge handy when polishing and burnishing pivots. I use the the flat end of the cartridge perpendicular to the flutes of the file and comb the debris that fills the area between the flutes. Then take the file and brush it on the card file along the flutes clearing the debris. Again, it works for me.

    IMG_0318.jpg
     
  10. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    A Fiberglas brush such as is used for erasing rust on steel,parts might also come in handy. I've never tried it, but it might be worth a try.
     
  11. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Sounds like a good idea. Far less likely to damage the fine teeth than a steel brush!
     
  12. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User
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    Actually glass is harder than hardened steel, even in fiber form. It is a good method that I use when needed, but you may want to try a brass scratch brush first. Another much more tedious method is to use an Exacto knife tip, run parallel to the teeth at an angle that runs along the bottom of the space between teeth without hitting the teeth edges. It will remove the small pin blobs that seem to resist all other methods.
     
  13. R.G.B.

    R.G.B. Registered User

    Feb 27, 2009
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    I use the old fashioned pick method. Takes a while but does the job. (make a fine point and pick each glob off)
     
  14. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    I'd say get a piece of brass or copper and run it parallel with the teeth. Copper will probably work better... a piece of old plumbing copper will do. Do as one of the previous posts suggested with the shell. File the flattened end straight. After pushing the flattened copper through the teeth, with the grain of the teeth. it will get an edge conforming to the teeth. You should be able to push debris out of the teeth.

    Ralph
     
  15. piedmontg

    piedmontg Registered User

    Jun 14, 2009
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    Hi

    You might want to try what I use. I have mostly large files as I build scale models. There was just a discussion about cleaning files on another site. I have been using a piece of hardwood for over 35 years. Use oak or any other hard wood. I have some pivot files that I use in model building and they keep clean with the oak. All of my files also are "filed" with railroad chalk, also keeps them clean. I am sure you would not want to use railroad caulk in repairing a watch. When using just push on oak edge like you are filing it then run across the oak edge following the file cut and you should push all the junk out.

    Bob
     
  16. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User

    Mar 5, 2012
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    just repeat what has been warned against, do not use a steel wire brush.

    Pure acetone and a toothbrush. How this quite works I'm not sure, but it does for me. I periodically put all my needle files in pure acetone, leave to soak for a few mins and then brush dirt and metal off, continuously rinsing in the acetone. Will not damage the teeth in any way.
     

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