Naptha in watchmaking

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by DeweyC, Dec 29, 2018.

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  1. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    Has anyone ever read the MSDSs on USA watch cleaners and rinses?

    http://lrultrasonics.com/msds/111%20Ultrasonic%20Watch%20Cleaning%20Solution.pdf
    http://lrultrasonics.com/msds/3%20Watch%20Rinsing%20Solution.pdf

    You are already using naptha. It ain't the naptha that will kill ya, it is that cigarette ya smoke in the shop. (Or that frayed wire on your cleaning machine).

    FWIW, I keep all unused cleaner, rinse and waste in the garage (detached). Because the stuff is naptha based, you can usually take it to the paint table at the landfill. In some states you can seal it in a paint can after solidifying it with kitty litter.
     
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  2. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    I agree Dewey, Naptha is nasty stuff, why use such hazardous cleaner .I told someone this on the Facebook page and they told me i was wrong. I posted information on Naptha showing the health hazards of using it.
     
  3. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    Ok, so what would you rather use? Naphtha gets the job done. NIOSH exposure limits are 2000mg/m3 for eight hours. Don't snort or huff it. Don't sit in a closed closet for several hours with an open pan of it. Close the container when you're not using it. In other words, use common sense.

    There aren't many solvents that are more benign than that. Mineral spirits (aka white spirit, varsol, and Stoddard solvent) are used in some cleaners. The exposure limits are 2950mg/m3 for eight hours. Not a whole lot of difference.

    Glen
     
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  4. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    There are safe alternatives .
     
  5. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    Mineral spirits and Naphtha are all just hydrocarbons of different sizes. Mineral spirits contains longer chains, so it's heavier and less volatile. Naphtha is smaller and hence more volatile, which is why it makes a good last minute rinse. I use it when I find that I got oil on the hairspring trying to oil the cap jewel without removing the balance from the cock (I test the balance with the jewels dry, then oil before final assembly).

    "Safe" reminds me of Dara O'Briain's take on homeopathy - "How any times does it have to be said? It's water! Then they'll tell you, 'Well, at least you can't overdose'. No, but you can DROWN!"
     
  6. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Sorry but i dont agree.
     
  7. Albert Antonelli

    Albert Antonelli Registered User
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    Been using naphtha for fifty years, use common sense when using it, plenty of good ventilation close the cup, there is great many ways to handle this product if you use your head, I do not use any water based products, remember water will cause rust in witches and clocks.
     
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  8. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Albert,

    And sometimes liquidate them completely, leaving nothing but their shoes . . .

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  9. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    I recently switched to a naphta based L&R cleaner from a water based Elma concentrate just to see what difference it makes. I must say that dirty parts come out cleaner from the machine with less need for re-cleaning. I’ve not had parts rust from the use of the Elma solution though. You can get rust on parts with the hydrocarbon based stuff as well if you don’t heat it enough while it’s drying too. I’m sure you more experienced guys know this but for any rookie reading this: there’s more to rust prevention than just the solution you use. Most of it is technique and times.

    Best regards
    Karl
     
  10. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    It helps that I live in an area with lower humidity, of course, but this is why I always run the dry cycle for 10 minutes.
     
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  11. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    I’m curious to hear your suggestion to the contrary. Which are the safe alternatives?

    Best regards
    Karl
     
  12. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    I know you wont like anything water based. I use Deox 007. I have worked with chemicals in the past, at home and jobs i have had. I would like to die of old age, not from exposure to chemicals. I used Naptha in the past, but will only do it, if i do it, outside.
     
  13. chemman

    chemman Registered User

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  14. Rick Hufnagel

    Rick Hufnagel Just Rick!
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    I use naptha.... Haven't found a better cleaner that a hobbiest like me can use to hand clean movements. I have thrown the nastiest, dirtiest, crustiest piles of parts into it and everything just falls off after a good soak. A little scrub and some pegwood and good to go. Dries fast and leaves no residue. As a matter of fact I've used good ol ronsonol to clean adhesive and stickers off of glass for years, leaves it perfectly clean. It destroys adhesive... Perfect for dried up old oil in those movements.

    I suppose like anything just be smart.

    I've looked at buying some fancy cleaners and such, but for what I'm doing now, I hardly feel the need to change it up.

    I suppose one day I'll have to get a mechanical cleaner... And at that point I'd probably look around for something made for that.

    I did try xylene once.... Won't ever do that again .. wow is that stuff nasty.
     
  15. chemman

    chemman Registered User

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    So I did just get through using the Positron. It vaporized quite readily in the ultrasonic cleaner until I put depth of about 3" or so. Ran the set of cruddy collets for 10 minutes and rinsed with naphtha. Go figure! they turned out very clean and nice.

    I kind of figure none of the stuff is very friendly.

    Now that they are clean, Anyone know what these collets are used with?

    20190103_215644 (1).jpg
     
  16. Harvey Mintz

    Harvey Mintz Registered User
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    They look like a set of jewel collets to me - the set I have mounts in a #50 collet, and then the jewel is adjusted for proper positioning in the jewel collet. Tighten the #50 and the jewel collet clamps down on the jewel.

    These are very useful in changing the depth of balance hole jewels by thinning the flange, but they probably shouldn't be used for any operation that might change the position of the jewel's hole due to the problem of compounded inaccuracy of the concentricity (no collets are perfectly accurate, so the inaccuracy of the #50 will be compounded by the inaccuracy of the jewel collet. When you thin the flange, you aren't doing anything that affects concentricity of the hole and the mounting flange diameter, so accuracy isn't as important a factor).
     
  17. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    To each his own, i stated my opinions.
     
  18. chemman

    chemman Registered User

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    Thanks for the reply Harvey, I am not new to instrument repair but am new to Horological instrument repair. Purchased a lot from an estate sale and these collets were in it, really no idea but now wan to use them. I don't have a lathe yet but am going to change that if I knew what to get to use with the collets. They look to have a centering cone that screws in and out of the bore of the collet.

    On the OP subject. The Positron did a very good job cleaning the collets they were pretty nasty but came out almost spotless. The Positron is a light molecular weight Terpene citrus and without a sufficient amount in the ultrasonic tank vaporized into a fog and filled the room quickly with a strong odor of citrus. Even after putting enough in the tank to reduce the fog effect still had to close the door and turn on an exhaust fan to the outside. I did get some on one hand and it evaporated within a couple minutes drying the oils out of my hand similar to Trichloroethane. Upon removing the collets I placed them in a clean pan and put them in the evacuation air flow of the exhaust fan, 15 minutes later hardly any Positron had evaporated and the collets were very wet with it and sitting in a small puddle. That is when I took them outside and triple rinsed with Naptha, drained the Naptha off and placed back in the inflow air of the exhaust fan, 30 minutes later the Naptha had evaporated and the collets were dry. All in all it worked pretty well and I will probably use the Positron again due to the fact it is not as combustible as Naptha.



    20190104_170628.jpg
     
  19. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi chemman,

    It works perfectly well if you fill the ultrasonic with plain water and suspend glass containers of the cleaning fluid in it. Saves using a lot of the cleaner and reduces the vapourisation effects too.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  20. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    I second that. It is what I do unless the part is too big for my jars......
    Pocket watch cases are often too big so I put them next to the glas jars and add som dish washing liquid to the water. Works most of the time......
     
  21. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Remember to use warm air when drying. Or you’ll get rust that way, from condensation.
     

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