Graphite Powder or Synthetic Oil for Barreled Mainspring??

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by BLKBEARD, Feb 14, 2018 at 12:18 PM.

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  1. BLKBEARD

    BLKBEARD Registered User
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    I'm servicing a French Clock with smallish Barreled Mainsprings. When I opened the Timeside Barrel I found it full of Dry Graphite.

    The dry graphite seems to have worked very well in this clock. I'm wondering if I should order graphite & return it to what seems to have worked well in the past, or use synthetic oil as I usually do?

    Most of my repairs have been on American Clocks, and this is the first I've encountered which was lubed with Graphite.

    My brain is sayin............If it aint broke don't fix it...........stay with graphite.

    But there are repairers on this board far more experienced than me. Pictured is the strikeside barrel prior to dis-assembly.

    BOULLE CLOCK 4 008.JPG french clock movement 111717 009.JPG
     
  2. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    Graphite works, but it's very messy and not much better than other options. I'd avoid it.
     
  3. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    Victor Talking Machine Company recommended a mixture of Vaseline and graphite for their phonograph mainsprings.

    I'm just sayin'...
     
  4. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    Gosh, that was LONG ago, bangster!
     
  5. Willys_1

    Willys_1 Registered User
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    I would avoid it. There is no way it will stay contained in the spring barrels. It will stick to other areas on the movement that have oil, and clump up. It will ruin the cleaning fluid in your ultrasonic cleaner, so clean the parts thoroughly before putting in the ultrasonic.
     
  6. Willys_1

    Willys_1 Registered User
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    I've worked on several Victrolas. They are terrible! The grease is thick, nasty and gets everywhere. I've worked on old truck axles that weren't that bad.
     
  7. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User
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    I'd avoid the graphite. French movement springs are not very powerful, being around 0.30mm thick, so a light lubricant is best. Personally I use a Moebius semi liquid grease 8200 on them, and find this suits these very well. A very fine coating.
     
  8. Ravens_Time

    Ravens_Time Registered User
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    Nice clock BB! I started working on Victrolas before I fell into clocks. Good thing clocks are a lot smaller. I have 3 Victrolas and too many clocks to count. I have a tube of dry graphite on my bench and always thought it might come in handy one day. Any sign of it coming out of the barrel and contaminating the movement?
     
  9. BLKBEARD

    BLKBEARD Registered User
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    Whoever put in the Graphite put a small piece of scotch tape over the notch in the barrel cap where you pry off the cap.
    This seems to have kept the Graphite well contained and I didn't see any leakage.
     
  10. Ravens_Time

    Ravens_Time Registered User
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    Interesting. I bow before the experts but seems like it might have a use. Let us know what you decide.

    Pat
     
  11. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    Use it in your car door locks. It doesn't freeze :D
     
  12. harold bain

    harold bain Forums Administrator
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    I've never used the hole in the barrel cap to pry it off, just don't want to risk deforming either the cap or the barrel. Hitting the end of the arbor with something relatively soft (I use a rubber hammer) works much better.
     
  13. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    #13 Willie X, Feb 14, 2018 at 9:21 PM
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018 at 9:30 PM
    Keystone light MS lube, or any good clock oil, is good on French springs, or any other light weight clock springs. I haven't seen where graphite is any benefit. As everyone else has mentioned, it's just to messey.

    Good graphite should be so fine that it feels like talcum powder when rubbed between your fingers.

    Willie X
     
  14. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    PB has a graphite spray that looks interesting, but I've never fully recovered from my own Victrola spring adventure and thus loathe graphite.
     
  15. dad1891

    dad1891 Registered User

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    I had a customer that bought a clock that had been sprayed with some sort of graphite lube instead of WD-40. What a nightmare.

    On the bright side, the graphite settled to the bottom of my cleaner fairly quickly.
     
  16. BLKBEARD

    BLKBEARD Registered User
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    I went with the Powdered Graphite.
    That's what was in it, and seemed to have worked well. The worst comments concerning Graphite seemed to be that its messy. My main business is heating repair, graphite doesn't compare to some of the messes I'm used to. (Messy is a subjective term)
    The movement is in nice condition, whoever serviced it last did a nice job. No idea who or when that was, as my client inherited the clock. It came to me with a broken suspension spring, and a broken bell arm. likely it was transported with the pendulum attached.

    I was tempted to just repair the broken parts, and not break it down & do a full servicing. But I know it hasn't run for at least 10 years. This is the movement from the French Boulle Clock.
     
  17. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    You had several good options. One thing is certain, although it may escape the barrel, it won't gum up over time.
     
  18. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User
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    I would be 100% sure that graphite was not put in this at manufacture. Just personally I would have avoided it! :)
    It is not as mobile like oil, and is not protective against corrosion.
     
  19. BLKBEARD

    BLKBEARD Registered User
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    You can also be 100% sure that synthetic oil wasn't put in at the time of manufacture
     
  20. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I've seen several Chelsea clocks that I'm pretty sure came with graphite in the barrels. No hole in their barrel covers though.
    Willie X
     

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