Noises when winding mainspring

KurtinSA

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OK, I suppose this could be for another part of the forum, but I'm a 400-day guy! So what is going on when during the initial wind after assembling the clock, I get sporadic "clunks" as I wind the spring? I didn't hear any of that when I had the spring on the winder after slipping the spring into the barrel. I usually wind/unwind the spring a number of times just to be sure the hole end has caught the barrel hook.

I do a reasonable job (I think) of cleaning the spring and then I oil it by spreading some oil on a towel and stretching the spring out from my bench...I wipe the towel up and down the exposed spring. I can't or haven't completely unrolled the spring, so I wipe the outside of the last few coils with the towel. As I wind the spring up after this service, I spread around some of the oil that gets squeezed out...I ensure that some of that oil gets wiped onto the outside of the inner coils, hoping that that oil will be able to wick between the coils as I wind/unwind.

But still, the clunks persist. I'm guessing either 1) several coil surfaces are sticking together or 2) the spring tends to move out of plane and can be touching the inside of the barrel or the cover...I've seen the spring do this movement when doing the test winds with the spring in the barrel.

I just read something in Rabushka's book about putting some oil on the inner surfaces of the barrel and the inside of the cover...a light smear. I haven't been doing that so will give that a try.

So what do I do to get a better oiling of the spring but not over do it? I can certainly see that if some coils stick together, the power on the clock will be reduced and/or the clock won't run 400 days.

Thanks...Kurt
 

etmb61

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If you oiled it well when you assembled it I wouldn't worry. Like you said the spring is twisting in the barrel when you wind it. I have an Hermle 8 day mantel clock where the chime spring does that every time I wind it for the past 9 years. If it lets down smoothly them I'd let it be. Now if it klunks while it's running that needs attention.

I normally douse the spring in oil and wipe off the excess that's forced out on the winder before it goes back in the barrel. That way I'm sure all the surfaces are coated.

Eric
 

tracerjack

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I wipe a thin layer of oil in the barrel and on the cap, but I’m sure there is plenty of oil from the spring that would eventually coat those surfaces. Excess oil gets wiped off that squeezes out of the edges before inserting in the barrel. I wonder if the quick force that I usually apply to a key is more than the slippage can handle, and why it grumbles a bit.
 

KurtinSA

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Occasionally, I'll hear some kind of thunk from somewhere. But with so many clocks up and running, I can't possibly tell where it came from. I suspect that sound is not a good thing, so that's why I'm trying to equate what I hear from initial winding to these sporadic sounds and find a new/better way of servicing the main spring.

Kurt
 

Wayne A

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I'd go with the coils are sticking together and break loose as your winding. If it happens on the run power would vary and could lead to a stopped clock. I've found using graphite mixed in oil stops the coils from sticking together probably because the solid graphite allows air between the coils.

While the graphite and syn motor oil has been working well for me I just received a jar of PTFE powder and I'm going to try mixing that with my synthetic motor oil on a Schatz Jum/7 I'm working on.
 

marylander

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Kurt, I am sure you cleaned the spring. I do not know if you really clean the spring both surfaces to the steel. The varnished spring can cause the problem you mentioned.
Ming
 

KurtinSA

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Ming -

I do clean both surfaces of the spring, first in a mild solvent bath and then I wipe the sides of the spring with WD-40. In the future, I think I'm going to reverse that order...let the bath do the job of further soaking and cleaning off the penetrant.

Kurt
 

etmb61

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Ming -

I do clean both surfaces of the spring, first in a mild solvent bath and then I wipe the sides of the spring with WD-40. In the future, I think I'm going to reverse that order...let the bath do the job of further soaking and cleaning off the penetrant.

Kurt
WD-40 is not a good lubricant. It has a mineral oil base but when that evaporates it leaves a sticky film.
 

Wayne A

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I'm using RemOil as a cleaner, cuts goop ok..

Only thing I use WD40 for it to spray on my shovels and other dirt digging things to slow down rust and for that it works well.
 
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marylander

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Kurt, you need to use an abrasive pad to take off all the varnish and then use mineral oil to clean off the surfaces. After that, wipe clean the surface and lubricate the spring. I use a thin layer of 0W-20 synthetic oil as lubricant. Again, the key is clean the spring to the bone to get rid of all the varnish.
Ming
 

Dells

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Hi Kurt
I think the most important thing it how it lets down, I get this sometimes so I wind it fully and then slowly let it down with the let down key if I lets down smoothly then I am happy, I deal with the spring and barrel the same as you except I use thinner to clean.
Dell
 

KurtinSA

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Ming -

I hadn't thought about the aged-on varnish. Next spring I service, I'm going to focus on cleaning that off with a pad and thinners.

Thanks...Kurt
 

KurtinSA

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So could I use something like Scotch-Brite heavy duty scour pads? I'm concerned about something that has embedded bits of metal. I don't think these do...I do see Scotch-Brite varieties that are "non scratch".

Kurt
 

Dells

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I use Scotch-Brite on car paint work but I I have never used it on a clock other than on a bit of stubborn tarnish on brass, it will shift that but it leaves the brass dull but it polishes up easily, so I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.
Dell
 

KurtinSA

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I realized that I have some 4-ought steel wool which is probably better for something like this. I'll throroughly clean afterwards. Plus I suspect that I'm over oiling the spring...I take that oil oozing out from between the coils when being wound on the spring winder is not necessarily a good thing! ;)

Kurt
 

KurtinSA

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Finished cleaning and servicing the mainspring for the clock I'm working on...a prewar Kundo. After the pass with the 4-0000 steel wool and a little oil followed by a cleaning, the spring surface looked very nice. Before it was somewhat splotchy with some discolorations...now it was all steel gray. Oiled with much less than I usually do...a little was still coming out near the outer coils...I used a q-tip to soak some of that up. After putting the cover on, I went back to the winder...something I typically don't do. I wound the spring several times. No clunks, but some metallic sounds probably from the spring going in-out of plane and hitting the cover or something like that. Will have to wait and see what kind of sounds I get when it's back in the clock and things are quieter when I wind it up.

Kurt
 

Wayne A

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Tried out a teflon and synthetic oil mix today on a Jum/7 mainspring. Drenched the spring with the mix no thin film. While on the winder without cover when winding it still would have a couple of small pops right as you begin the wind but stopped and was very smooth as it became tighter. Not happy with this I added a little graphite and oil to the spring with a brush which completely stopped the pops and winds butter smooth. Want to compare this Jum/7 to my others and see if it this one is any better and keeping time long term.

20201107_141759.jpg
 

KurtinSA

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Thanks, Dell. Funny, I saw this same person using that red grease the other day on a video that was just about greasing. I wasn't too sure about that. But the cleaning part looked really good...definitely clean. I didn't go to the same lengths as he did, but after one swipe with my steel wool and oil, my spring surfaces looked very very much better. Still nice to see someone do something similar.

Kurt
 

marylander

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I do the cleaning as Dell, but wipe clean the spring and submerge the spring in mineral oil to clean off and wipe clean the spring with Bounty wiper. For 400 day clock spring, the grease Dell uses is too thick. I use 0W-20 synthetic motor oil or Slick50 One Lube. It only needs a thin layer. I use a small piece of cloth soaked with the lubricant to wipe on the spring.and then, put the spring on the winder to wind up and down a few times before put the spring into the barrel.
Ming
 

marylander

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Dell, Synthetic oil for 400 day main spring is great. I am sorry that I misidentify the lubricant you use in your video as grease.
Ming
 

Dells

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It wasn’t my video it was on YouTube and I posted it because Kurt was asking if he could use Scotch-Bright on mainspring.
Dell
 

Phil G4SPZ

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...either 1) several coil surfaces are sticking together or 2) the spring tends to move out of plane and can be touching the inside of the barrel or the cover...
Kurt, I have experienced both phenomena on a couple of mainsprings recently. Cleaning and lubrication generally cures sticking coils, but I have a couple of clocks where the spring seems to move out of plane after one or two turns, then straightens itself back out as it is wound more fully.

I notice this tendency quite often with barrelled springs, even though they hang perfectly flat and in-plane when unwound.
 

Thomas Sanguigni

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One clocksmith I know preps his mainsprings in this order: clean, purple scotch brite, 1500 grit sandpaper , clean again, and wipe with Keystone mainspring lubricant oil. He is a 21st. century AWCI master clocksmith. He does not like the shuttling of the spring.
 

KurtinSA

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Just to add a bit to this, I've been concentrating on returning the spring surface colors back to the natural steel. Today, I opened up a late 1940s Schatz clock and I believe I'm the first to get back into this one. The main spring has a distinct purple hue to it...I'd never seen that before. I went through my usual process of 4-0000 steel wool and Scotchbrite and a long soak to get the steel coloring back. What causes these types of changes to the surface? I can understand if the varnish yellows but what is the purple-ish coloration from?

Kurt

SchatzSpring.jpg
 

Wayne A

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Seem similar colors before on 400 day clock springs. Suspect its just the heavy ends of the oil after it evaporates over the decades.
 

Wayne A

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I'm not a metallurgist, but might those colors be from manufacturing? I believe right before blue/purple is brown. If you anneal a spring end it turns black afterward.
I think you could be correct, most of them I see are brown but it "feels" like theres a coating on them. I sand it off to raw metal because it seems to be sticky as well. Reminds me of the color inside old engines.
 

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