Clock lubrication (Here we go again)

RJSoftware

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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
 

harold bain

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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
 

lpbp

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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
 

Cathy in Hawaii

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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
 
D

DJDasher

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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
 
J

Jim Moss

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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.
 

John Hubby

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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
 

Scottie-TX

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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.
 

Bob W

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John:

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

Bob
 
D

Doug

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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!
 
J

Jim Moss

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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.
 

harold bain

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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
 

Scottie-TX

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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.
 

travisg40213

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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.
 

shutterbug

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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: Slick 50 One Lube.jpg 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.
 

gvasale

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While we're at this, has anyone tried "Tufoil" a teflon product from Fluoramics? I've had this for quite some time. It looks almost like molasses, not as thick. I bet I've had this for 20 years already.
 

g_swensen

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I'm new to this forum and am a novice myself. I have noticed a lot of people that use slick 50 one lube for mainspring lubrication. The only thing that slick 50 is selling now is "slick 50 supercharged one lube". This does not have PTFE in it but other "synthetic additives". Has anyone used the "supercharged one lube" for mainspring lubricant? I was wondering it the supercharged will work as well as the old type with PTFE in it.
 

shutterbug

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Here's the only one I've used in aerosol form: attachment.jpg
 

Randy Beckett

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You guys are being a little hard on good ol WD-40. Think about it, its use has brought about a lot of business to a lot of clock repairmen. And if you happen to be in the market for a nice old clock, and are lucky enough to find one that the original owner liked to oil with WD-40, chances are it didn't run long enough to wear anything out. And all the parts will be incased in a layer of waterproof and airproof wax that will make it immune to rust, even if its stored in a cellar for years. I'm gonna talk myself into loving the stuff, as long as somebody else is using it on their clock.
 

R. Croswell

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Have used the Slick-50 synthetic oil additive on main springs and while it did seem to do ok, I lost confidence in it when I noticed an accumulation of "white stuff" in the bottom of the clear container in which I had placed it. The oil above had become clear amber instead of the milky amber color from a freshly shaken bottle. I take this to be the Teflon separating from solution over time. I have no idea if this happens after the product is applied to main springs. I suggest that anyone using a product that has Teflon or something similar added that the bottle be well shaken just before use. I switched to Keystone which seem to also work ok but I see very few 400 day clockd.

Keystone smells exactly like 90 weight gear oil, but I'm in the camp that uses clock lubricants for clocks and other lubricants for other stuff. No one ha mentioned the nano products. I tried two different products on several of my clocks a few years back. Most of them have now quit running after less than five years while my clocks lubricated with Nye clock oil continue to run.

RC
 

hookster

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I do not use the aerosol spray version of Slick 50 on mainsprings, but, instead, use the regular Slick 50 Advanced Engine Oil Treatment that comes in a regular quart (liter in Canada) bottle. I immerse the mainsprings in it, shake off the surplus, let them sit overnight and then put them back in the movement the next morning. Works fine.
Have used the Slick-50 synthetic oil additive on main springs and while it did seem to do ok, I lost confidence in it when I noticed an accumulation of "white stuff" in the bottom of the clear container in which I had placed it. The oil above had become clear amber instead of the milky amber color from a freshly shaken bottle. I take this to be the Teflon separating from solution over time. I have no idea if this happens after the product is applied to main springs. I suggest that anyone using a product that has Teflon or something similar added that the bottle be well shaken just before use. I switched to Keystone which seem to also work ok but I see very few 400 day clockd.

Keystone smells exactly like 90 weight gear oil, but I'm in the camp that uses clock lubricants for clocks and other lubricants for other stuff. No one ha mentioned the nano products. I tried two different products on several of my clocks a few years back. Most of them have now quit running after less than five years while my clocks lubricated with Nye clock oil continue to run.

RC
 

harold bain

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Have used the Slick-50 synthetic oil additive on main springs and while it did seem to do ok, I lost confidence in it when I noticed an accumulation of "white stuff" in the bottom of the clear container in which I had placed it. The oil above had become clear amber instead of the milky amber color from a freshly shaken bottle. I take this to be the Teflon separating from solution over time. I have no idea if this happens after the product is applied to main springs. I suggest that anyone using a product that has Teflon or something similar added that the bottle be well shaken just before use. I switched to Keystone which seem to also work ok but I see very few 400 day clockd.

Keystone smells exactly like 90 weight gear oil, but I'm in the camp that uses clock lubricants for clocks and other lubricants for other stuff. No one ha mentioned the nano products. I tried two different products on several of my clocks a few years back. Most of them have now quit running after less than five years while my clocks lubricated with Nye clock oil continue to run.

RC
Although I have used Slick 50 One Lube for over 10 years with no problems that I could associate with the mainsprings oiled in this fashion, the product is becoming increasingly difficult to find, and has apparently been changed from it's original formulation. So it could be "back to the drawing board" for me with spring lube, when my supply of the older stuff runs out. I've never had it in any container other than the spray cans it comes in, and do always "shake well before using".
 

shutterbug

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No one ha mentioned the nano products. I tried two different products on several of my clocks a few years back. Most of them have now quit running after less than five years while my clocks lubricated with Nye clock oil continue to run. RC
I'm hoping the newer nano technology is better than that, RC :) I'm using it in most of my work now.
 

shimmystep

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You guys are being a little hard on good ol WD-40. Think about it, its use has brought about a lot of business to a lot of clock repairmen. And if you happen to be in the market for a nice old clock, and are lucky enough to find one that the original owner liked to oil with WD-40, chances are it didn't run long enough to wear anything out. And all the parts will be incased in a layer of waterproof and airproof wax that will make it immune to rust, even if its stored in a cellar for years. I'm gonna talk myself into loving the stuff, as long as somebody else is using it on their clock.
I'd have to respectively disagree a bit here Randy, based on my own, albeit limited experience, the movements I have seen that have been sat with WD40 on it have been rusty under the layer of the stuff. I don't think, in my personal opinion, it offers much protection at all.

I do however wish we could get Slick 50 One Lube here in the UK. If anyone wants to ship me a few cans for the right price I'd be grateful!
 

marylander

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Although I have used Slick 50 One Lube for over 10 years with no problems that I could associate with the mainsprings oiled in this fashion, the product is becoming increasingly difficult to find, and has apparently been changed from it's original formulation. So it could be "back to the drawing board" for me with spring lube, when my supply of the older stuff runs out. I've never had it in any container other than the spray cans it comes in, and do always "shake well before using".
Hi Harold Bain, you can get the Slick 50 lube 1 from your local ACE Hardware store. You can also order it from ACE or Amazon.com. I bought a can from ACE Hardware store no long ago.
Ming
 

Randy Beckett

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I'd have to respectively disagree a bit here Randy, based on my own, albeit limited experience, the movements I have seen that have been sat with WD40 on it have been rusty under the layer of the stuff. I don't think, in my personal opinion, it offers much protection at all
I do, of course, in reality agree with you and everyone else here about its use. The statement was intended as a "Devils Advocate" approach at discouraging it's use. Maybe the rust was there before it was sprayed.
 

Randy Beckett

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I do have a few good running yet cosmetically sad clocks I use for lubricant tests on at my home. I got a sample of a very fine and light oil for industrial applications from my work. It is the oil used for supporting the bearing shafts of huge turbines in power plants. It has shown very promising results so far, in relation to the amount of power required to run the movement properly. It is called Teresstic 32. The link to it's data sheet is http://www.mobil.com/Singapore-English/Lubes/PDS/GLXXENINDMOTeresstic_T_32-100.aspx. Input from anyone with the knowledge to interpret the data as it would apply to clocks, or with any experience ,with same, is appreciated.
 
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