Dial Cleaning

Dave T

NAWCC Member
Dec 8, 2011
3,694
233
63
NC
Country
Region
I think I can make some improvement to this dial if I approach it properly. It has obviously been in storage somewhere and has developed some rust spots and discoloration. I've initially tried to scrape the rust gently with a flat knife edge.
But there's probably a better way to go about it. I'm considering a small brass brush on a dremel.

Anyone been down this road?

dial cleaning 1.jpg Dial cleaning.jpg
 

bruce linde

ADMIN / MODERATOR
NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
9,129
1,473
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
is that really brass in the middle? and, i assume there's no way to remove the chapter ring?

i would paint some evapo-rust onto the rusty spots and let it sit. over time the rust will go, leaving grayish (but rust-free) surface underneath.... that gray stuff polishes out really easily.
 

bruce linde

ADMIN / MODERATOR
NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
9,129
1,473
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
btw.... 'over time' could be as little as half an hour... no danger in leaving it on a little longer
 

Dave T

NAWCC Member
Dec 8, 2011
3,694
233
63
NC
Country
Region
The dial is a typical late 70s, all brass with white painted chapter ring. Would the evapo-rust attack the paint? Fortunately there's not too much rust on the white paint.
 

bruce linde

ADMIN / MODERATOR
NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
9,129
1,473
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
i don't think it would hurt the paint, but just be careful when painting on the evapo-rust...
 

Willie X

Registered User
Feb 9, 2008
14,782
1,744
113
It shouldn't be rust, unless it's plated steel. It looks like a typical 'diamond cut' German brass dial. These are available but not plentiful and not cheep anymore.

I've made a few of these better using water/alcohol and a pencil eraser, scratch brush, xacto knife, bamboo stick, etc. I wouldn't use a rotary tool, it will probably cover to much area.

These are lacquered, so if you can remove the spots/corrosion satisfactorily, you will need to re-lacquer to keep the areas from further oxidation.

Willie X
 

Fitzclan

Registered User
Jul 20, 2014
715
36
28
Long Island, New York
Country
Region
If Evaporust doesn't do the trick, perhaps a bit of baking soda on the spot, then a few drops of vinegar, any type will do. When the fizzing stops, dab with a paper towel and then with a damp paper towel to remove any acid residue.
I would try this on a small spot first or if there are similar spots on the back of the dial would be even better just to see how it goes first. I would be more apt to try this before an abrasive approach.
 

bruce linde

ADMIN / MODERATOR
NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
9,129
1,473
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
based on willie's comment i just took a closer look and am also not sure it's rust.... either way, a little bit of evapo-rust wouldn't hurt anything.

i think i would get in there with some serious magnification and try willie's various suggestions.

i wonder if something a little more corrosive splattered across the dial....

keep us posted!
 

Willie X

Registered User
Feb 9, 2008
14,782
1,744
113
Bug 'deposits' can do that. Or should I say 'doo-doo' that. Oh well, it's late. Willie X
 

Dave T

NAWCC Member
Dec 8, 2011
3,694
233
63
NC
Country
Region
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. I'll try to get to that today.
I didn't think it could be rust either, but if it isn't it sure has the same brown characteristics. I think something was spilled on it, and also think it must have sat somewhere a long time not in service.

This dial came on a clock I bought as a parts movement just for the strike mainspring and second wheel that I needed on this clock: (starting with post #7) https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/settin...78-triple-chime-movement.164387/#post-1476769

But, right out of the box the movement runs quite well, after I adjusted the pendulum that was way off.
The spring barrels are good and I don't see any bent teeth, or click wheels.
 

tracerjack

Registered User
Jun 6, 2016
1,873
289
83
Lodi, CA
Country
Region
You have a spot on the edge rim that I think you should attack first, because it is a good distance from the paint and has no engraving. Use a brass paste polish. If it comes out with a good amount of rubbing, you will then know you are dealing with heavy tarnish.
 

Dave T

NAWCC Member
Dec 8, 2011
3,694
233
63
NC
Country
Region
Tried some NeverDull, Brasso, and haven't made much improvement. On the other hand I haven't been too aggressive yet, but I'm wondering if it truly is brass or brass plated. The back side appears to be brass where it shows through the holes in the mounting plate.
dial cleaning 2.jpg dial cleaning 3.jpg
 

tracerjack

Registered User
Jun 6, 2016
1,873
289
83
Lodi, CA
Country
Region
When you rubbed with Brasso, on the dark spot, did you get any black residue on your cloth? Only the dark spot will give off that residue if the spot is tarnish. The bright parts are most likely still protected by lacquer which the Brasso will not affect with light rubbing. Spots that are dark tarnish do take a lot of hard rubbing to get off. Light rubbing will eventually get it off, but will take a lot longer. Of course that all depends on if this is tarnish.
 

tracerjack

Registered User
Jun 6, 2016
1,873
289
83
Lodi, CA
Country
Region
Looking closer at your photos, some of the black seems to be on the paint. That can’t be tarnish. Hmmm!
 

Willie X

Registered User
Feb 9, 2008
14,782
1,744
113
That's a steel backing plate. The dial should be brass and can usually be removed from the backer. Willie X
 

Dave T

NAWCC Member
Dec 8, 2011
3,694
233
63
NC
Country
Region
When you rubbed with Brasso, on the dark spot, did you get any black residue on your cloth? Only the dark spot will give off that residue if the spot is tarnish. The bright parts are most likely still protected by lacquer which the Brasso will not affect with light rubbing. Spots that are dark tarnish do take a lot of hard rubbing to get off. Light rubbing will eventually get it off, but will take a lot longer. Of course that all depends on if this is tarnish.
Yes, I got a lot of black very quickly. Reckon I need to get me some more elbow grease to go with it!
 

Similar threads

T
Replies
5
Views
866
David Holk
D
P
Replies
1
Views
1K
proconsul
P

Forum statistics

Threads
168,223
Messages
1,467,121
Members
48,173
Latest member
hallmawfuedu
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,955
Last update
-