Pivot polishing compound alternatives

Salsagev

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Did the 5 (cuz I didn’t have 1/0) stick buff process and worked pretty well. It should hold a while, right?
 

kinsler33

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That’s what I got. Thought you meant the 170 dollar a stick rich man thing! I would seriously go broke. Does it have to go through that order? That may be a bit time consuming. Thanks for the suggestions.
I proudly purchased a pivot file/burnisher for more money than I wanted to pay. I have not had a bit of luck with the fool thing.

I generally polish each pivot with the six buffs in order, but often I can skip the 1/0, which is quite coarse. If the pivot is already shiny I might give it a swipe with the 6/0 or simply leave it alone. Lots of movements come in with perfectly pristine pivots.

When you've worn out a buff you can re-cover it with perhaps better abrasive paper than it came with, or you can just collect lots of sticks and use them for case repairs, shims, and just about everything else.

Mark Kinsler
 
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Mike Phelan

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The problem with using any sort of abrasive paper or compound on a stick is that it doesn't get right into the corner between the pivot and its shoulder on the arbor.

Only a pivot file can do that. Remember that the latter can be bought for right- and left-handed folk. Apologies if I'm preaching to the converted! ;)
 
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shutterbug

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Yep. Mine cost considerably less than the one I linked to. Timesavers used to sell them for about $80.00. I didn't find one on their site when I looked.
 

Salsagev

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I proudly purchased a pivot file/burnisher for more money than I wanted to pay. I have not had a bit of luck with the fool thing.
The problem with using any sort of abrasive paper or compound on a stick is that it doesn't get right into the corner between the pivot and its shoulder on the arbor.

Only a pivot file can do that. Remember that the latter can be bought for right- and left-handed folk. Apologies if I'm preaching to the converted! ;)
How long do they last and why are they so expensive tho?
Wouldn’t pay more than 20 for that. It looks so modest!

The pivots on the Seth Thomas were fine surprisingly.
 

Salsagev

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Yep. Mine cost considerably less than the one I linked to. Timesavers used to sell them for about $80.00. I didn't find one on their site when I looked.
Still, thats EXPENSIVE tho! Some other options made for clocks go for above and beyond 200 dollars..... Or would some stuff made for other stuff be cheaper?
 

JTD

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Or would some stuff made for other stuff be cheaper?
I do try to understand your posts, really I do, but sometimes I have to guess. I am guessing that this sentence means 'would tools made for other purposes, but which could be used on clocks, be cheaper?'

Anywhere near, or am I missing by a mile?

JTD
 

R. Croswell

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That’s what I got. Thought you meant the 170 dollar a stick rich man thing! I would seriously go broke. Does it have to go through that order? That may be a bit time consuming. Thanks for the suggestions.
What you will need to do to a pivot will be determined by the condition of the pivot. If the pivot is tapered or unevenly worn, as in this picture, you will need to remove a considerable amount of metal to get a uniform pivot. If you plan to do this with abrasive sticks it will take some time and you would want to start with a coarse grit to remove metal fast and progress up to the finest grit to get a smooth surface before polishing with a polishing compound. If the pivot looks smooth and there was no pivot poop in the pivot hole you may only need the finest buff stick or maybe just polishing without any 'buffing'.

I don't spend money on buff sticks but buy sheets of 800, 1000, and 2500 grit wet or dry paper from the automotive supply store. Cut into strips about 1/4 to 3/8 inch wide. If I need to level out damage I lay the paper strip on a steel strip like a small scale and start with 800 grit. In most cases where there is no major damage to the pivot I begin with 1000 or 2000 grit backed by a wooden popsicle stick. I finish with a little Semichrome polish on a popsicle stick.

For the example shown below I would turn this in a lathe but if you don't have a lathe you might begin with a fine pivot file. It can be challenging to remove a large amount of metal and avoid ending up with a tapered pivot without a lathe.

RC

pivot.jpg
 

Salsagev

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I do try to understand your posts, really I do, but sometimes I have to guess. I am guessing that this sentence means 'would tools made for other purposes, but which could be used on clocks, be cheaper?'
Everything clock related is expensive. Other tools that do the same thing but made for more common stuff such as metalworking are much cheaper, but yes thats what I was thinking.
What you will need to do to a pivot will be determined by the condition of the pivot. If the pivot is tapered or unevenly worn, as in this picture, you will need to remove a considerable amount of metal to get a uniform pivot. If you plan to do this with abrasive sticks it will take some time and you would want to start with a coarse grit to remove metal fast and progress up to the finest grit to get a smooth surface before polishing with a polishing compound. If the pivot looks smooth and there was no pivot poop in the pivot hole you may only need the finest buff stick or maybe just polishing without any 'buffing'.
None like that on my clock. That one looks very bad.
 

shutterbug

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If you want to try the buffs, just get some pop sickle sticks at the store and some sheets of abrasive paper. Glue the back of the paper and put the sticks on, leaving the handles off the paper. After drying you can cut them with a razor or even sharp scissors. However, heed the caution above about the inside edge of the pivot. You won't be able to get in there with a stick very easily. You could buy a fine regular file for that part maybe.
 

Mike Phelan

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My pivot file cost about a fiver about fifty years ago and is still in regular use - one side is a burnisher. BTW, I'm left-handed.
 
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Schatznut

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My pivot file cost about a fiver about fifty years ago and is still in regular use - one side is a burnisher. BTW, I'm left-handed.
Me too - high five, lefty!
 
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Salsagev

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Any for sale?

BTW, I am a lefty as well.
 
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Altashot

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These pivot file/ burnishers, as far as I can tell are not made for right or left handed users, they are made to be used under or over the pivots, hense the handing. All the lathes I’ve seen always have the head stock on the left, so it doesn’t matter what hand you favour.
It’s the method you choose, under or over, that will dictate which tool you should get.

Mine is made to be used under, which is what I prefer, I like to see it in action. There seem to be confusion about which tool is the left or right. To this day, I am still not sure which is which, I’m just glad I got the right one.

It is indeed a pricey tool but it also is a high quality Vallorbe tool that should last a lifetime. To me, that tool is a must. It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it, but once you get it, the pivot finish is remarkably unequalled.

M.
 

Mike Phelan

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Mine was definitely bought in the 1960's and the supplier had either sort. Like scissors but not like RH and LH coffee cups! ;)
 

Salsagev

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The over 150 dollar file. I bet China could make it for 10 dollars.
 

Mike Phelan

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There weren't any Chinese tools here when I got mine - only laundries and restaurants! I wonder if their pivot files would last as long, though?
 
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Salsagev

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Don’t underestimate Chinese quality. They are soon to be superior to Germans and American steel and already superior to Indian.
 

Altashot

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The cost I guess comes down to production cost. It’s expensive to start up a machine only for a short run. These tools are not in great demand so they are expensive to produce.
That, and Vallorbe tools are of an excellent quality and quality tools are not cheap.

I can not recommend poor quality cheap tools. They often don’t work well, don’t last and in some cases, are dangerous.

Too many times I purchased inexpensive tools only to realize that it cost more to buy it twice than the price of the quality tool that would have to be purchased once.

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten
-Benjamin Franklin

M.
 

Thomas Sanguigni

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LH file/burnisher is used for lathe operators that put the tool on top of their work piece. RH file/burnisher is used for lathe operators that put the tool on the bottom of their work piece.

If you look at the burnisher from the end it is shaped like a rhombus. The angles help with the shoulder filing or burnishing.
 

Willie X

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Note, on pivots, don't try to do to much with the buff sticks. Every stroke will make your pivot slightly more tapered. Don't want all your pivots to look like golf tees. Willie X
 

Salsagev

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Makes sense, but if it’s only a polish, I suppose it’s fine?
 

Willie X

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Polishing would be done with rouge or Tripoli on a charged wheel, or leather clad stick. Yes, a normal amount (a few seconds) polishing wouldn't change the shape at all. At least not enough to measure with common instruments.
Willie X
 

R. Croswell

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Don’t underestimate Chinese quality. They are soon to be superior to Germans and American steel and already superior to Indian.
It seems like there is always some country, or some population that is exploited for cheap labor to flood the market with inexpensive products of low quality. They either improve or people people realize their products are junk and stop buying. For clock parts right now it seems to be India but as long as we keep buying junk they will keep making junk. When I was a kid in the 1950s it was Japan (post WWII Japan) Toys, tools, electronics, - all junk. Now Japan produces top quality stuff, then it was Korea, then Taiwan, and China. There is a lot of good stuff made in Korea and China but there will always be junk as long as we keep buying it. But I think consumers are getting smarter and demanding higher quality products.

RC
 
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JeffG

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If you want to try the buffs, just get some pop sickle sticks at the store and some sheets of abrasive paper. Glue the back of the paper and put the sticks on, leaving the handles off the paper. After drying you can cut them with a razor or even sharp scissors. However, heed the caution above about the inside edge of the pivot. You won't be able to get in there with a stick very easily. You could buy a fine regular file for that part maybe.
This has been my method. I use wet/dry emery paper at 600, 1200, 2000, and 3000 grits, then pinch the pivot with 000 steel wool for a final shine. Before getting started with the sticks I'll touch the edge of a half-round needle file into the inside edge to clean any gunk.
When I'm more confident in the quality of my work, I'll sell of some of my projects to fund a lathe and a proper file.

-Edited to add a picture of my Dremel set up
drem.jpg
 
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Altashot

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Many nations known for their less than perfect products are perfectly capable of making good quality as well. They’ll do whatever is requested of them. It’s easy to blame them for making crap but It’s the current attitude of “I want it cheap, and I want it now” that drives poor quality industries. Our Societies are partly responsible for this.

I found this saying very relevant in many circumstances.

“We offer a service that is fast, cheap, and good.
Pick any two”

Fast and cheap, not good.
Cheap and good, not fast.
Fast and good, not cheap.

M.
 

John P

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No clean up after using buff sticks is asking for early bushing failure!!!!
 
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JeffG

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No clean up after using buff sticks is asking for early bushing failure!!!!
Oh absolutely, due to the abrasives that can be left behind from the sticks. That's part of why I use the steel wool after the sticks. In my case, I do my pivot work after disassembly and a quick soak and scrub in solvent, but before ultrasonic cleaning, rinsing in alcohol, and blowing with compressed air between each step.
 

Salsagev

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Any bushing burnishing suggestions? I am tempted to leave them alone.
 

R. Croswell

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Any bushing burnishing suggestions? I am tempted to leave them alone.
If the bushing fits and is installed perpendicular to the plate you can just leave it alone. If you enlarge the hole in the bushing with a tapered broach which is more like a scraper than a real cutting tool, I would use a tapered smoothing broach - not to burnish, but just to smooth the surface. Some folks think that "burnishing" is a metal hardening process, primarily used on steel pivots (if, and to what extent any significant hardening is debatable and likely highly dependent on operator skill). Brass is only work hardened but bushings are already at the proper hardness so you should only be concerned that the surface is smoothed after broaching.

RC
 
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Thomas Sanguigni

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Pick up a small tube of White rouge or Fabuluster. If you have a dremel and small buff wheels. A small amount of polishing will act like a burnisher. Put on safety goggles. Use away from other clean parts. The dremel shoots crud everywhere. In just a few seconds, you can put a super shine on your pivots. There are many instances I still use this method. I use it on all levers, chime cams, and even the verge. I polish the leader as it goes through the crutch too. Always clean afterwards. At the very least, nail polish remover will demonstrate how much crud is left behind.

I don't know if you have a dremel. You may also get lucky in your area, and find a foot operated flex shaft.
 
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