Proper Cleaning and Polishing techniques for restoring old movement plates and parts

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Well hooray! It's apart. Looking closely with the microscope there were service marks along the edges which were encouraging. With some gentle prying the bezel came off and I was able to drop the movement out the front.

Now begins the real work. A question on the case, it looks like a niello type case - my gut feeling is that it should not go in the ultrasonic cleaner, correct. It's already missing some chips. Any recommendations on the best way to clean it? It is quite dirty.

2021-02-24 09.40.39.jpg
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

A question on the case, it looks like a niello type case - my gut feeling is that it should not go in the ultrasonic cleaner, correct. It's already missing some chips. Any recommendations on the best way to clean it? It is quite dirty.
Go with your gut feeling, this case isn't niello, it's enamelled, and the ultrasonic will blow even more of it off. Warm water with a little liquid soap in it and a gentle soft brush is where I'd start. Niello is a chemical treatment of the silver surface, not an applied layer like this.

Regards,

Graham
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

I believe I have been under a misapprehension about the nature of niello, and that whilst it isn't enamel, (it's a compound of silver, sulphur, lead and sometimes other materials such as copper), it is melted into engraved areas on an object, sets to a black finish and will take a polish. Unlike enamel, it isn't brittle.

However, it still isn't recommended to put it in an ultrasonic cleaner!

Regards,

Graham
 
  • Like
Reactions: Quinn

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Thanks Graham. I have watched extensive videos on how Niello is made, it's fascinating. Thank you for the cleaning advice, yes ultrasonic is out of the question and elbow grease it is.

If I could bother you with another question - in examining the top plate I found a jewel for one of the wheels that looks pretty bad. Any thoughts appreciated on whether it needs to be replaced. thank you!!

2021-02-24 11.08.37.jpg WIN_20210224_10_27_00_Pro.jpg
 

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,899
258
83
Gothenburg
Country
Yes that former jewel needs to be replaced. If you look closely you can see that the center jewel has been replaced in the past.......
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Thank you. Alas that is far beyond my skillset I fear, and from what I understand it also requires special tools. I suppose I can send the plate into a jeweler for it to be replaced?
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

If you look closely you can see that the center jewel has been replaced in the past.......
Yes, the centre looks like a brass bush and the third has been replaced by the look of it. The wrecked one is the fourth wheel, and these are all the obsolete rubbed in type, which are no longer easily available. Even replacing them with the modern friction fit jewels will cost quite a bit. This sort of work needs a skilled watchmaker to do properly.

You don't show the jewels in the bottom plate, which may be equally distressed, and that broken one may have cut up the third wheel top pivot.

Jewels often get broken like this by careless assembly; if the top plate is screwed down without making sure that all the pivots are safely aligned in their holes, jewels can crack and pivots can be bent or snapped off.

Regards,

Graham
 
  • Like
Reactions: Quinn

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Thank you Graham, that is very helpful information. I watched a youtube on the friction fit and indeed it is quite complex which I why I immediately realized I could not fix it. I am also worried about the pivot underneath the jewel. I haven't taken the train apart yet, but I pulled the wheel, here are a couple of pics. Besides terrifically dirty, it looks like the point is still on?

I will venture forward tomorrow to take it apart and see the bottom plate.

Thanks again for helping me along in this process!

fourthwheel-pivot (3).jpg fourthwheel-pivot (4).jpg 2021-02-24 10.20.08.jpg
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

I haven't taken the train apart yet, but I pulled the wheel, here are a couple of pics. Besides terrifically dirty, it looks like the point is still on?
Fortunately, the pivot looks good, and the 8-leaf pinion is also OK, although it does appear as though it's been dredged from the bottom of a pond.

Regards,

Graham
 
  • Love
Reactions: Quinn

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Hahaha nearly spilled my coffee there. I was surprised at the dirt under magnification. When I opened the watch I thought, too clean for my first endeavor. I'd seen those videos of the rusted ones. Wanted something that I couldn't possibly make any worse.

Well it's good news on the pinion, and thank you for the detailed name on that. It's very nice to learn all these details. I have looked at the jewels on the balance and escape bridge and those look decent. I took a pic of the bottom of the fourth wheel, I think the jewel looks OK? The escape jewel looks good also as do the pallet fork jewels.

I wondered, with this having rubbed-in jewels, is it possible to age the watch? I am presuming there was a particular point in history when they stopped using these jewels. I tried to look it up but Google gave me no answers.

Also, to really show my lack of knowledge :), I am befuddled by the construction of this movement. Having worked to learn all the parts for American pocket watches, I notice here that I don't see a crown wheel, and instead of a click and click spring there is a half-cut screw. This was the screw with the arrow that went the opposite direction and when I unscrewed it I saw the crown unwind. The watch was wound as tightly as it would go when I got it. The barrel does have a smaller wheel on the bottom. Any insight appreciated.

While taking the watch apart my tweezers are suddenly magnetized ...

Thank you!

2021-02-25 08.12.13-1.jpg jewel-fourth-mainplate-backside.jpg jewel-fourth-topplate.jpg
 

Kevin W.

NAWCC Member
Apr 11, 2002
23,188
569
113
63
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Country
Region
A demagnetizer is a nice too for watch repair. And needed if you persue the hobby.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Quinn

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,899
258
83
Gothenburg
Country
I wondered, with this having rubbed-in jewels, is it possible to age the watch? I am presuming there was a particular point in history when they stopped using these jewels.

I have read somewhere (don't remember where) that rubbed in jewels were manufactured into the 1950:ies. Your watch however is older than that. My best guess is early 1900:eds. Hopefully someone else can chip in and confirm/correct........
 
  • Like
Reactions: Quinn

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

Having worked to learn all the parts for American pocket watches, I notice here that I don't see a crown wheel, and instead of a click and click spring there is a half-cut screw. This was the screw with the arrow that went the opposite direction and when I unscrewed it I saw the crown unwind. ... The barrel does have a smaller wheel on the bottom. Any insight appreciated.
The screw with the arrow releases the barrel click, which engages with the smaller wheel on the barrel arbor.

While taking the watch apart my tweezers are suddenly magnetized ...
Kevin's suggestion is a good one, because the steel parts of movements, as well as screwdrivers and tweezers can easily become magnetised which can seriously affect the going of the watch. You can buy non-magnetic tweezers, but the watch parts still need demagnetising. It's as well not to bother with the very cheap demagnetisers, they tend to be unreliable and ineffective. Be careful when demagnetising the balance and balance spring, wrapping it loosely in tissue paper will prevent the spring from tying itself in knots under the influence of the alternating magnetic field, and that's another situation to be avoided!

The picture of the fourth wheel jewel shows how important it is to thoroughly clean everything; there are tiny chips of what are probably the remains of the broken jewel at the top of the same arbor. These can easily cause further damage, but the jewel appears to be intact.

Regards,

Graham
 
  • Love
  • Like
Reactions: Kevin W. and Quinn

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Thank you all so very much for your input!

I have a rather uncomfortably large shopping cart sitting on esslinger, incl a demagnetizer and brass and demagnetized tweezers, just didn't want to pull the trigger in case I needed more.

Thanks Skutt50 on the aging, I thought early 1900s also given the enamel dial and overall style of the watch.

Thank you Graham on the vital tip of using tissue paper for the hairspring, and the explanation of the mechanism. I'll have to look back through my pictures of the disassembly to take a good look. Rather fried now from the 5-hour disassembly but everything is documented and inspected.

I did notice on the center wheel that the tip is slightly bent. Might this be an issue?

Have not opened the barrel yet but I'll leave that for tomorrow when I'm not seeing double.

For the cleaning cycle, I have quite a few questions before I start if that's OK. I have an ultrasonic with heat. L&R cleaner and rinse on the way. I purchased small brass and bigger steel balls. I was wondering how precisely to clean. Do all parts go in, including the tiny screws? Is the grid on the balls tight enough to they won't escape? Should certain parts go together and others not (would bigger parts have the potential of damaging smaller parts). Do jewels go in (I am guessing not) - pallet fork? The dial has a crack so I am guessing also not a good idea for that one. Any and all help much appreciated!

center-wheel (2).jpg 2021-02-25 12.46.15.jpg 2021-02-25 12.46.34.jpg
 
Last edited:

Kevin W.

NAWCC Member
Apr 11, 2002
23,188
569
113
63
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Country
Region
Yes, always walk away when tired or stressed. Thats when bad things happen. Like dropping a tiny part or breaking something.
 
  • Love
Reactions: Quinn

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,899
258
83
Gothenburg
Country
Do all parts go in, including the tiny screws?
I put all parts in the ultrasonic EXCEPT balance and pallet fork. I know other members do, but I have searched for jewels a couple of times and exclude said parts....... Someone invented OneDip for a reason....lol

Also don't run for very long. US have a tendency to remove gold plating. (You can test this by running a tin foil for a couple of minutes) I normally let the parts soak and then US for half a minute or so......

Is the grid on the balls tight enough to they won't escape?
They look like even the smalest screw should stay inside. If worse comes to worse you can always find the screws at the bottom of the tank.......

I did notice on the center wheel that the tip is slightly bent. Might this be an issue?
Yes! When you install the minute hand on the canon pinion its tip will be moving closer and further away from the dial during its turn. At one point it may cross the seconds hand. It may also cross the hour hand at one point and when you lower the hour hand to clear the minute hand, the hour hand may in turn cross with the seconds hand......

You may be able to get away with it but I would try to straighten it before assembly..... Can be a bit trickey, you don't want to break it........

The dial has a crack so I am guessing also not a good idea for that one.
That hairline would not worry me. I usually soak an enameledl dial for about a minute and then a few seconds US. RInse under water and the hairline should not be visable.

Should certain parts go together and others not (would bigger parts have the potential of damaging smaller parts).
I separate small parts from bigger and the wheels in a separate ball. Not sure if necerssary but I have never had any problems with damaged parts from the US.
 
  • Love
Reactions: Quinn

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Thank you so very much for taking the time to answer my questions, extremely helpful. On videos people never go into the nitty-gritty of the US, they just show a bunch of balls :). Great news on the dial too because I'd love to make that crack less visible.

On the center wheel tip, that makes so much sense. What would you use to straighten it? I wonder how soft the metal is and I would greatly worry about breaking it.

Thanks again!!
 

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,899
258
83
Gothenburg
Country
On the center wheel tip, that makes so much sense. What would you use to straighten it? I wonder how soft the metal is and I would greatly worry about breaking it.
It is usually very hard. If soft the canon pinion would wear it out quickly.....

I don't know if I dare to recommend how to straighten it .... It is very easy to break... Similar to the arbor for the seconds hand. I have broken a few but have had several to practise on, and one gets better with time.....

Anyway what I do is to carefully straighten it with a heated pair of pliars. If badly bent it will break but if bent within reason, SEVERAL SMALL BENDS eventually will get it straight.... Yours looks like it should straighten out without to much problem..... Just take it easy and as I wrote, SEVERAL SMALL BENDS......

Edit: If you have a book about watch repair you might find a chapter dealing with straightening the pivit for the seconds hand and some tips on how to.....
 
Last edited:
  • Love
Reactions: Quinn

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Thank you so much for that info. And I should really get a book on watch repair so I'll do some browsing, I am sure there is a list here somewhere.

I may just send it out with the jewel. Since I have to send that out anyway, why not toss in the wheel to be straightened rather than risk doing irreparable harm. For this kind of watch replacement parts are impossible to find compared to most American pocket watches. It will be hard enough to find watch hands to fit it.

I polished the case with Hagerty foam (gentle for silver plated), and it came out gleaming. Not a professional polish, but it's a lot cleaner.

I'll look at the barrel and main spring tomorrow. Thanks again for all your help!

2021-02-25 16.27.40.jpg 2021-02-25 16.27.51.jpg
 

Bohemian Bill

NAWCC Fellow
Nov 5, 2010
302
16
18
CENTRAL TEXAS
Country
Region
Thank you all so very much for your input!

I have a rather uncomfortably large shopping cart sitting on esslinger, incl a demagnetizer and brass and demagnetized tweezers, just didn't want to pull the trigger in case I needed more.

Thanks Skutt50 on the aging, I thought early 1900s also given the enamel dial and overall style of the watch.

Thank you Graham on the vital tip of using tissue paper for the hairspring, and the explanation of the mechanism. I'll have to look back through my pictures of the disassembly to take a good look. Rather fried now from the 5-hour disassembly but everything is documented and inspected.

I did notice on the center wheel that the tip is slightly bent. Might this be an issue?

Have not opened the barrel yet but I'll leave that for tomorrow when I'm not seeing double.

For the cleaning cycle, I have quite a few questions before I start if that's OK. I have an ultrasonic with heat. L&R cleaner and rinse on the way. I purchased small brass and bigger steel balls. I was wondering how precisely to clean. Do all parts go in, including the tiny screws? Is the grid on the balls tight enough to they won't escape? Should certain parts go together and others not (would bigger parts have the potential of damaging smaller parts). Do jewels go in (I am guessing not) - pallet fork? The dial has a crack so I am guessing also not a good idea for that one. Any and all help much appreciated!

View attachment 640328 View attachment 640329 View attachment 640330
Hi All..just reading this post and brought up questions about cleaning watches. I just recently disassembled and cleaned a 18 size KW KS Waltham M#1877 brass colored movement and it was extremely dirty with some kind of old black staining speckled all over the exposed plates and key winding area. The L&R cleaners would not remove it. Semi chrome polish would not touch it. What do the experienced watch folks do to make the movement look good and restored again? The staining look like it been there a long time.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Bill,

I just recently disassembled and cleaned a 18 size KW KS Waltham M#1877 brass colored movement and it was extremely dirty with some kind of old black staining speckled all over the exposed plates and key winding area. The L&R cleaners would not remove it. Semi chrome polish would not touch it. What do the experienced watch folks do to make the movement look good and restored again? The staining look like it been there a long time
Some pictures would certainly be a good place to start. The 'brass colour' on the surface of the plates is probably gilding, and once this is compromised, which can happen for several reasons, mechanical or chemical, the base metal underneath, (which really is brass in most cases), is then open to attack from whatever the environment can throw at it.

Although this is clearly related to the rest of this thread, perhaps it would be better for future researchers if you started a new thread for your watch problem. A moderator will split it off for you if you request it via the 'Report' button at bottom left.

Regards,

Graham
 

Bohemian Bill

NAWCC Fellow
Nov 5, 2010
302
16
18
CENTRAL TEXAS
Country
Region
Hi Bill,



Some pictures would certainly be a good place to start. The 'brass colour' on the surface of the plates is probably gilding, and once this is compromised, which can happen for several reasons, mechanical or chemical, the base metal underneath, (which really is brass in most cases), is then open to attack from whatever the environment can throw at it.

Although this is clearly related to the rest of this thread, perhaps it would be better for future researchers if you started a new thread for your watch problem. A moderator will split it off for you if you request it via the 'Report' button at bottom left.

Regards,

Graham
Hi Graham and Skutts. I just reported this requesting for a new posting. I just retired from my paying job and since I was cooped up due to the cold weather I started on fixing some of my watches that I bought years ago and was on my back burner. I have came across some watches that refuse to clean up to my satisfaction that remain to dull or have staining spots that won't come off. I seen some before and after restoration of watches on the internet and wonder if there are some tricks of the trade that have not been uncovered here. I have used Brasso and Semichrome polishing paste with a cloth or toothbrush to some degree of success for dullness but here on the Forum may be frowned on. I have removed some of the staining with 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper but that may be frowned on also. I wonder what the watch restoration folks do at the museums.
I have not been successful in the past in posting photos but will try again to take a picture and post it. Thanks
 

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,899
258
83
Gothenburg
Country
To continue on Grahams response above:

Watch plates are often guilded. Unfortunately during the years the gold is damaged or even removed and the underlying brass becomes visable. Guilding may be damaged by e.g. ultrasonic cleaning or corse polishing paste. (Sandpaper definately included...)

When the brass is exposed it will oxidise. This may show as darker areas inbetween the areas that still are guilded. You can usually polish the plate with some metal polish to make it shine but, it won't be long untill it turns dull again. These oxidised parts may show up darker untill polished both two, three or more times.

A typical exampel of this is a gold plated case where the gold has been worn off. If polished it will be hard to see the brass parts (unless you examine it closely) but after a couple of days the brass starts to oxidise and the case looks bad...... (Watch out if you buy from on line auctions.)

The method to fix this is to re-guild the plates but this is not something you do on just any watch. Wall clocks are sometimes protected with a lacquer sprayed on the plates, making them look shiny and bright.... I don't think this is a good solution for a pocket watch but I have never tried....

Now having said this I have had a couple of movements over the years which did not clean up with normal methods.... Turned out that the plates wede stained with some paint type stuff that had to be dissolved with paint remover........

We can possibly advise further after having seen some photos...........
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Bill,
I have used Brasso and Semichrome polishing paste with a cloth or toothbrush to some degree of success for dullness but here on the Forum may be frowned on. I have removed some of the staining with 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper but that may be frowned on also. I wonder what the watch restoration folks do at the museums.
All these methods will remove some of the surface, which is why they are indeed not widely approved. Museums mostly take a conservation approach, stabilising what they can but not attempting to do any restoration.

I have not been successful in the past in posting photos but will try again to take a picture and post it.
I think it's easier now than it used to be; using the 'Attach Files' button at the bottom of the edit panel you can select pictures from your computer and upload them, then select 'Thumbnail' to insert them in your post. All pretty painless!

Regards,

Graham
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
On my watch, I put the parts in the ultrasonic; most parts came out OK but the wheels show corrosion.

Could you advise me on the best method to remove corrosion? Thank you!

WIN_20210226_13_11_59_Pro.jpg WIN_20210226_13_13_34_Pro.jpg WIN_20210226_13_16_01_Pro.jpg
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

On my watch, I put the parts in the ultrasonic; most parts came out OK but the wheels show corrosion.

Could you advise me on the best method to remove corrosion? Thank you!
Were you using the L&R cleaner and rinse, (if so, which ones), or something else? This type of corrosion usually accompanies water-based cleaners that aren't immediately dried thoroughly.

Regards,

Graham
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Graham, the L&R is taking its sweet time to arrive. I used Masterstages clean 2020, which is water based. I am in the desert though with 2% humidity, everything here dries in minutes. Other parts doe not show corrosion, same cleaning method.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

I'm not familiar with that cleaner, what did you rinse it with? The second picture shows apparent signs of liquid of some sort, and the non-ferrous parts also look an odd colour and are by no means clean.

However it happened, you do need to remove it. I've never used it, but I hear good reports of Evapo-Rust, and also Renaissance Metal De-Corroder, but as an immediate measure to slow the rusting process, I'd be inclined to drop everything in a light oil and leave it there until you can obtain a rust remover. The old way was with phosphoric acid, but that's rather aggressive and can discolour the steel.

Regards,

Graham
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
hi graham,

Thanks for your help. I rinsed it with water which my beau proclaimed "stupid" .. live and learn. The fluid you see was likely a bit of water since I just pulled it out of the US when I took that pic. It's hard to say if the corrosion was there before because it was so caked with goop, it took many many cleanings to even get it this far. There was green corrosion around the collar of the center wheel and since the watch didn't have a chrystal it is possible water or humidity got in there.

I have WSI Rust Off actually on hand, which is a fairly gentle but effective rust remover so I'll put them in that. Do I need to do anything with the other parts since I made the mistake of rinsing them with water? the cleaner is supposed to have a rust inhibitor.

Should have waited for the L&R ...

here's the spec of the cleaner should you be so inclined

thanks again!!
 

Bohemian Bill

NAWCC Fellow
Nov 5, 2010
302
16
18
CENTRAL TEXAS
Country
Region
Hi Bill,


All these methods will remove some of the surface, which is why they are indeed not widely approved. Museums mostly take a conservation approach, stabilising what they can but not attempting to do any restoration.



I think it's easier now than it used to be; using the 'Attach Files' button at the bottom of the edit panel you can select pictures from your computer and upload them, then select 'Thumbnail' to insert them in your post. All pretty painless!

Regards,

Graham
Hi Graham and Skutts..Sorry for the delay..I have been working all day hauling dirt in my raise bed vegetable garden getting it prepared for planting and plus my 10 plus year old computer is giving fits today.
Per your request... I took a couple pictures of the staining and my sanding job to make it less noticeable with my Dinolite computer microscope. The left photo show the type of stain specking that was also on the right photo but much more coverage on the plates until I sanded it off each plate with 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper and run it through the L&R cleaner. Graham It took me an hour trial and error to get the photos load to only see if I was successful by the preview button to get the thumbnail
Waltham 1877 dial side stained.png Waltham 1877 cleaned & sanded.png
 
Last edited:

Bohemian Bill

NAWCC Fellow
Nov 5, 2010
302
16
18
CENTRAL TEXAS
Country
Region
Quinn..In my opinion, .I would get some fine grit Craytex rubberized abrasive sticks and rub the rusted areas. You can also use a knife and cut a wedge on the end of the craytex sticks and rub the inside the pinion teeth to get it clean and shiny again. It will take some time and patience. I got the red and gray 1/4 inch craytex sticks. I hope this helps
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

It looks as though your rust remover does contain some mineral acid, possibly phosphoric, which produces that characteristic black coating.

Another way of removing the black coating, which shouldn't be too firmly attached, is to use a glass fibre scratch brush. This will get in between the pinion leaves but won't necessarily produce a polish. That will require some Simichrome or similar and a lot of work!

You should consider the nature of what you're cleaning before using the more aggressive types of abrasives, especially on the more fragile surfaces such as gilt brass. As Bill has discovered, the thickness of the gilding on some watches isn't sufficient to resist too much scrubbing. Older, mercury gilt surfaces are much more robust with a thicker layer of gold.

I'm a little puzzled by the state of the brasswork; did it come out of the first Masterstages cleaner like that?

Regards,

Graham
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Hi Graham, yes I was thoroughly disappointed at my lack of chemistry knowledge, a class I never had patience for in high school, coming to bite me in the ** now. Apparently evaporust does remove the black oxide, but I will try it will some rusted drywall screws first to test. The black is not pretty, but it does protect against rust I guess.

I didn't take any close ups of the brass, attached is probably the best picture I have from before the cleaning. I am curious to hear what you are seeing that is off? I see blotches, is that what you mean? Thanks again for all your help.

2021-02-25 12.02.05.jpg
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

I didn't take any close ups of the brass, attached is probably the best picture I have from before the cleaning. I am curious to hear what you are seeing that is off? I see blotches, is that what you mean?
Yes, there are blotches, which may be due to the poor quality of the original gilding, but also lumps of debris:

WIN_20210226_18_20_43_Pro_edit.jpg

Regards,

Graham
 
  • Like
Reactions: Quinn

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,899
258
83
Gothenburg
Country
Bill,

Those staind looks like damage after the guilding layer has been damaged and oxidizing has turned the brass black.....

I would guess that a metal polishing creme would remove the black stains if applied a copule of times however it will come back (and possibly even more since the guilding will be further damaged). I don't know what I would do.... probably polish and just leave as is unless someone would consider the movement a candidate for re-guilding...... (I would not!)

The plate you sanded could probably get some shine back by polishing it. The guilding is most likely gone so it would not be a long lasting solution, but it will look good for now..........

Edit: You could also have a look at "Steffen Pahlow" and his videos on Youtube. He has posted several film with all kind of watch making methods, well worth watching.....
If you search for "Restoration of movement M. Grossman 3955" I think you will find some interesting tips. (Can't link....Only wiewable on Youtube. Sorry!)
 
Last edited:

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Bill and I both seem to have brass issues :).

Thank you Graham for your reply, I see what you mean. What I noticed is that on the center wheel all those blotches on the outer ring are gone now but it has stayed in the area closer to the pinion. These wheels aren't clean by any means. I will take a close up under the microscope so you can see what it looks like.

I wanted to ask, when parts are this gunked, is it best to soak them for some time before the cleaning cycle? I've heard people say that but they don't say in what, and I'm now hesitant to use any cleaner without advice.
Also for the jeweled parts, what would be the appropriate cleaning method?

FYI, I did some research on the Swiss hallmarks on the watch case and the dancing bears, which this case has two of, and this 0,935 hallmark were used from 1887-1933 from what I read.

Thank you again for all your time educating me.
 

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,899
258
83
Gothenburg
Country
quinn,

You to might find the film I mentioned above of interest, in particular linked to removal of corrosion on your pinions.

Look in Part 1 about 3:40 into the film.......
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

I wanted to ask, when parts are this gunked, is it best to soak them for some time before the cleaning cycle? I've heard people say that but they don't say in what, and I'm now hesitant to use any cleaner without advice.
Also for the jeweled parts, what would be the appropriate cleaning method?
Soaking them in the same cleaner won't hurt, although if your L&R cleaner is the #111 with ammonia, don't leave them in there too long. This cleaner or the non-ammoniated #566 won't soften the shellac or damage the jewels. If you don't want to use up your expensive L&R solutions on filthy movements, Coleman fuel (naphtha), will do very well. Using two rinses is good practice, discarding #one when it becomes too contaminated with cleaner and moving #two to #one then using fresh rinse for #two.

The usual bear count for Swiss 0.935 silver is two large and one tiny one, (see David Boettcher's website), but yours only appears to have the two larger ones.

Regards,

Graham
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Thank you so much Graham. Also good to know I did not get the worst cleaner, I did do a lot of research. The nice thing about that one is that it's a concentrate and so you use very little. First I did 1 cup water to 7 ml of the cleaner (3%) but that did nothing. I then moved up to 6% and added a bit more heat (55C). The first cycle removed some, the second cycle removed a lot more. I was doing just a few minutes at a time and then checking. The L&R I have coming is non-ammonia. I have one dip coming. I did use the glass jar method in the US, is that OK? If there is a resource you know of I should read on it I'd be much obliged.

On the bears, yes, British rules required 3 for import, but other areas, like the US did not, and the Americans preferred a single bear. The significance of 2 bears I could not find anywhere. Swiss hallmarks and other marks found in watch cases
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

I did use the glass jar method in the US, is that OK? If there is a resource you know of I should read on it I'd be much obliged.
Yes, that works very well and minimises the usage of the solutions. The makers of my US, (Walker Electronics here in the UK), recommend using plain water and floating glass beakers or similar containing the cleaning liquids. They also suggest adding a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the water to reduce the surface tension, which improves the power transmission, and running the machine for a few minutes to de-gas it before use for the same reason. I don't know how much information other makers include in their instruction manuals.

Regards,

Graham
 
  • Like
Reactions: Quinn

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Thanks Graham, that is very insightful. My manual of course included no such wisdom! My glass jars are fairly heavy and stand well in the basket that came with the US.

I took some detailed pictures of the brass wheels for you. There seems to be some banding, darker brass in the center of the wheel and then a fairly sudden transition to lighter brass. Whilst looking back at the pictures I could tell that I definitely caused the corrosion on the steel. Water rinsing <facepalm>.

I noted small cut marks in the third and fourth wheel, wondered what those are.

WIN_20210227_13_16_31_Pro.jpg WIN_20210227_13_17_00_Pro.jpg WIN_20210227_13_17_52_Pro.jpg WIN_20210227_13_18_25_Pro.jpg WIN_20210227_13_21_43_Pro.jpg WIN_20210227_13_22_24_Pro.jpg WIN_20210227_13_23_41_Pro.jpg
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,

If you're using a water-based cleaning system, it's important to get the parts as dry as possible as soon as you can. Alcohol will absorb water and can be dried more quickly. An alternative is to apply some heat once you've removed surplus water, a hair-dryer will do the job, but be careful not to blow away small parts! The old way was to drop the parts in a container of boxwood dust, which absorbed the moisture immediately.

I'm not sure what those marks in the wheel rim are, perhaps part of a batch marking system.

I can only think that the difference in the colour of the wheels is due to the way they were gilt.

Regards,

Graham
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Ha blow them away ... I already nearly managed to do that with the dust blower :). Alcohol seems like a good bet.

Thanks for the note on the marks and the brass, interesting.

I still need to open the barrel, tomorrow I think. Since the watch would not wind I am concerned what I'll find there.

Thanks again for all your help!
 

Bohemian Bill

NAWCC Fellow
Nov 5, 2010
302
16
18
CENTRAL TEXAS
Country
Region
Bill,

Those staind looks like damage after the guilding layer has been damaged and oxidizing has turned the brass black.....

I would guess that a metal polishing creme would remove the black stains if applied a copule of times however it will come back (and possibly even more since the guilding will be further damaged). I don't know what I would do.... probably polish and just leave as is unless someone would consider the movement a candidate for re-guilding...... (I would not!)

The plate you sanded could probably get some shine back by polishing it. The guilding is most likely gone so it would not be a long lasting solution, but it will look good for now..........

Edit: You could also have a look at "Steffen Pahlow" and his videos on Youtube. He has posted several film with all kind of watch making methods, well worth watching.....
If you search for "Restoration of movement M. Grossman 3955" I think you will find some interesting tips. (Can't link....Only wiewable on Youtube. Sorry!)
Hi Skutts I watched all Steffen Pahlow's five part video twice that you mention but since it was in German with English subheadings, it was hard to understand everything He is a old time master watchmaker and he has a complete watchmakers workshop with all the old time equipment that I can only can dream and also salvate about. What I gather, from the videos, he uses fine white diamond powder on a wooden stick for screw heads and also chucked up a toothpick or pegwood stick in a motor driven foredom tool to remove rust from pinions, arbors. On some small flat steel jewel support pieces, he uses pegwood stick to move the steel pieces around on some kind of flat polymer plate with recesses what I am assuming diamond white powder. On larger pieces he uses a wooden ( assume boxwood) disc charged with some kind of abrasive mounted in lathe. All the lightly rusted flat steel pieces came out shining like a mirror. He had to find some replacement parts and made many parts that was pitted. He did not show how he polished the balance wheel or the brass wheels. He did show the mainspring bridge plate mounted to a piece of wood and uses a special technique that he uses to polished it on a special silver smith buff wheel ( don't know what abrasive used). He applied a sharp knife above the piece as he was polishing?? . What I gather to prevent graining to keep the frosted appearance. He did not show any cleaning of the main plates but he show the gold electro re-plating at 1.5 volts in the shop. Great video.
Skutts..I do have one question:???:. With all your watches you worked on Skutts, was all the old English, European and American pocket watches made had either assuming nickel ( white finish) or fired gold guilded finishes on plates? Was any pocket watches made had any just brass plates? Thanks ..Bill
 

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,899
258
83
Gothenburg
Country
With all your watches you worked on Skutts, was all the old English, European and American pocket watches made had either assuming nickel ( white finish) or fired gold guilded finishes on plates? Was any pocket watches made had any just brass plates?
The majority of the pocket watches I worked on had guilded plates. Quite a few had nickel plated plates but some were plain brass.... I don't know which method that was used but possibly the older movements were fire guilded.....

The plain brass watches were either verge movements (less fancy models) or dollar type watches.
I have even seen some (former) guilded watches where the gold layer was worn out completely. I can't figure why or how but possibly some old repair person used some agressive chemicals....

The Steffen Pahlow's workshop is unbelievable. More of a running museum I would say.....

His skills is also something extraordinare.... Making complete cases from scratch or building a Turbulion from scratch... One can't be but impressed.... The only negative i have heard in the comments is that he does not use any finger protection when he handles the parts.
 

Bohemian Bill

NAWCC Fellow
Nov 5, 2010
302
16
18
CENTRAL TEXAS
Country
Region
The majority of the pocket watches I worked on had guilded plates. Quite a few had nickel plated plates but some were plain brass.... I don't know which method that was used but possibly the older movements were fire guilded.....

The plain brass watches were either verge movements (less fancy models) or dollar type watches.
I have even seen some (former) guilded watches where the gold layer was worn out completely. I can't figure why or how but possibly some old repair person used some agressive chemicals....

The Steffen Pahlow's workshop is unbelievable. More of a running museum I would say.....

His skills is also something extraordinare.... Making complete cases from scratch or building a Turbulion from scratch... One can't be but impressed.... The only negative i have heard in the comments is that he does not use any finger protection when he handles the parts.
Skutts..I notice he lost a part of his one of his finger. He did used finger cots on the video part 5 when he finally assembled the watch for the last time. I assumed, he cleaned all the parts prior to final assembly. I think it his way and his technique process. This why I am researching here quizzing the experience folks here on this forum. I need to find the proper cleaning and polishing technique to handle any old pocket watches that come my way and the proper techniques with what tools that I have available. I don't want to destroy any old watches for preservation for future generations to enjoy. I am always amazed looking at the watches of the past design and machining processes without any engineering schooling available at that time. It was all by past experience past on and by trial and error. Bill
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,641
2,227
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Bill,

Has a moderator replied to your request for splitting off your posts into a new thread?

Returning to the polishing question, If I need to flat polish a part, I use 3M Lapping Film which is an aluminium oxide abrasive, available in plain and self-adhesive backings, from 40 microns, (350 grit), right down to 0.05 microns, (500,000 grit). I stick strips of the self-adhesive variety on a small sheet of plate glass to ensure flatness and just work down through the grades until I reach the finish I need. I don't usually need anything finer than 0.3 microns. This stuff has the advantage that it's used dry, so there's no risk of getting the polishing compound where it isn't wanted.

If you want to be sure of a really flat finish without the risk of rounding off any edges, the part can be mounted on a bolt tool and then rubbed on the glass-mounted papers.

You can stick it to a surface of any form, within reason, for polishing other shapes, and the non-adhesive types can be cut into narrow strips for polishing rounded surfaces in the lathe.

Regards,

Graham
 

Bohemian Bill

NAWCC Fellow
Nov 5, 2010
302
16
18
CENTRAL TEXAS
Country
Region
Hi Bill,

Has a moderator replied to your request for splitting off your posts into a new thread?

Returning to the polishing question, If I need to flat polish a part, I use 3M Lapping Film which is an aluminium oxide abrasive, available in plain and self-adhesive backings, from 40 microns, (350 grit), right down to 0.05 microns, (500,000 grit). I stick strips of the self-adhesive variety on a small sheet of plate glass to ensure flatness and just work down through the grades until I reach the finish I need. I don't usually need anything finer than 0.3 microns. This stuff has the advantage that it's used dry, so there's no risk of getting the polishing compound where it isn't wanted.

If you want to be sure of a really flat finish without the risk of rounding off any edges, the part can be mounted on a bolt tool and then rubbed on the glass-mounted papers.

You can stick it to a surface of any form, within reason, for polishing other shapes, and the non-adhesive types can be cut into narrow strips for polishing rounded surfaces in the lathe.

Regards,

Graham
Hi Graham... I am new to this new forum format.. No...I reported it when you asked and wrote a comment but still no response from the moderator. Do I need to reported it again for each posting?? I think yours and Skutts responses to my posting is great and would help others and new beginners when searching on it google.
Graham ..That a great idea using the 3M lapping film to prevent abrasives getting into the cleaner solutions..I will see where I can purchase some and try it.
Still another quiz question: What do you do to a gold or nickel guilded movement's plates that come out of the L&R cleaning solution jars couple times and still dull and not bright. Do you take it to the buffer wheel with some kind of abrasives like Steffen Pahlow does but he is probably will re-plate? I am just trying to see what the experience folks & shops are doing or just leave as is. Bill
 

Forum statistics

Threads
167,199
Messages
1,457,026
Members
87,361
Latest member
whitrzac
Encyclopedia Pages
1,057
Total wiki contributions
2,914
Last edit
E. Howard & Co. by Clint Geller