Fingerprint etching, again?

Chris Radek

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Apr 13, 2014
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I'm faced with a case of etching on a customer's watch that a trip through my cleaner (ultrasonic, using L&R Ammoniated #111 and the corresponding rinse which I think is #121) doesn't touch. Searching this forum yields only one report of success, with lemon juice! I am also tempted to try oxalic acid (bar keeper's friend liquid, just application, no scrubbing) or my jeweler's pickle (dilute HCl, after removing those remaining steel jewel setting screws, of course), but thought I'd ask first to see if there's a new "state of the art" in NAWCC land. Here's how it looks, perfectly clean, but ugly:

fingerprints.jpg

Thanks all.
 

Rick Hufnagel

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Ohh that's a fingerprint alright....

I looked everywhere for a way to help fingerprints and read that applying simichrome and rinsing it off could help. No scrubbing.

It didn't .... It made the watch look like trash. Glad it wasn't something nice like yours here.

Sorry I can't help, but I just wanted to share my experience with that so maybe someone else won't try it.

Have a great night!
 

Samie Smith

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You might try taking a soft cloth or a piece of paper towel and wet them with 111 cleaner and rub the finger prints before cleaning i have has some luck doing so.
 

gmorse

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Hi Chris,

Because the marks are physically etched into the surface, any attempt to remove them will also involve taking some of the original surface away, so I don't believe you can ever completely remedy them, especially on a damaskeened plate like that, although you might be able to reduce their appearance.

Regards,

Graham
 

Chris Radek

NAWCC Member
Apr 13, 2014
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Lincoln, NE, USA
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Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.

The gentleman who belonged to these fingerprints was courteous enough to also place matching prints on the inside of the top plate too, so I felt pretty free to experiment there.

I first tried One Dip, which did nothing, cleaned that off. Then I tried the oxalic acid, which worked great. I have a container of bar keeper's friend (the liquid kind) that's old and all the grit has settled out, leaving a clear liquid on top. I applied a drop of this gently with a cotton swab, let it work for a few seconds, washed it off with soap and water, and dunked in isopropanol to dry. Then I ran the parts through the cleaner again. Here is the result. It's not perfect but I think it's better than I had any right to expect. With a new staff and jewels it's running great.

fingerprintscleaned.jpg
 

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