Rust within a year.

Altashot

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I serviced this really nice Gustav Becker in May of 2020.
It came back March 2021, still under warranty.
The client claims it started acting up about 4 months ago and now it won’t run at all.

Upon inspection, I found a lot of rust everywhere in the movement.
I then asked him if he knew why there is so much rust in there. I asked if it was kept in a damp area...

Well, he answered that to keep the wood from drying out, he keeps pill bottles full of water inside the case...

35298C7E-C5F7-4A7E-B101-215702D81DE5.jpeg

I had polished all the brass, it was gorgeous. Now the bob, weights and bezel are all tarnished brown...

Ugh!

I guess it’s my fault, I never told anyone to not keep water inside their clocks.

He fully understands that this is not covered by my warranty.

End of rant.

M.
 

Altashot

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Lol!

I thought about telling him about the chicken, but that wouldn’t have been productive in any way. I’ll probably tell him in person when he picks it up and we’ll laugh about it then.

He knows however that for now, I am not impressed.

He just feels dumb about it now.

I’ve Read this somewhere. “it’s not what people don’t know that is the problem, it’s what they know that isn’t so”

M.
 
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Schatznut

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The small container of water is a common trick used in lower-quality pianos in dry climates to prevent the soundboard from drying out and allowing the piano to drift out of tune. You might query him where he got this idea - there's probably a piano mixed in there somewhere.
 
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MuseChaser

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Thanks, Thomas. I learned something today....now I can take the rest of the day off.....:)
 

R. Croswell

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Chicken feathers? No comprendo..... anyone willing to elaborate?
There are several variations on the kerosene in the clock technique. It was my understanding that the chicken feather was wetted with kerosene and poked around in the movement as a duster and lubricator. Some folks would place a sewing thimble filled with kerosene in the case hoping that the kerosene vapors would lubricate the clock. Others would place cotton balls in the case and periodically add a few drops of kerosene to the cotton. There are probably a lot more such stories. It's debatable whether it actually worked or not but there is general agreement that it made the clocks smell like kerosene. In the day people used kerosene lamps, kerosene kitchen stoves and space heaters so the smell was probably not noticed.

RC
 
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Willie X

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Muse,

Back in th day, most clock owners would remove the hands and dial from their cherished clock and, using a little bundle of chicken feathers (as a brush) and a small container of kerosene, they would rinse out the movement, often on a yearly basis. The smell wasn't an issue because the clock usually sat on the mantle, next to a kerosene lamp that was refilled regularly from a one gallon can of kerosene that lived close by, usually on the hearth. Kerosene was a smell that was in all houses back then.

This all ended with the coming of electric clocks and paved roads. In most places somewhere between 1900 and 1940.

With all the dust back then, a regular rinsing with a high fraction oil was a very good thing.

Willie X
 

MuseChaser

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Fascinating details, all! Amazing what one can learn just by asking what I thought was a silly inquiry regarding an inside joke of some kind.

Which brings me to a slightly more serious question... I've started using kerosene instead of mineral spirits for heavy initial cleaning, and for some follow up stuff to stubborn deposits or strange residues left over after using the ultrasonic. The kerosene seems to work even better, and it is of course much cheaper, too... and I always have gallons on hand for my center draft lamps that I restore and use regularly. Two of those do a great job heating my shop, too. Here's the question..

When I get a kerosene lamp that hasn't been used in a while and stored improperly, the kerosene that has been left behind turns into the most awful shellac/glue stuff, fusing the entire burner and wick raiser parts together. I typically boil the entire lamp in a large 5 or 10 gallon kettle, and that dissolves the kerovarnish garbage enough to dismantle the lamp for proper cleaning and restoration.

I'm torn between wanting to leave the thinnest film of kerosene on movement parts for protection against future rust and corrosion, and wanting to make SURE none is left behind so it doesn't turn into sticky goo like it does in old lamps. Given the past practices detailed above with kerosene, is leaving a film behind (meaning, wipe it off, but don't wash it off with soap followed by a thorough heated air drying or alcohol dip) an acceptable practice?
 

Thomas Sanguigni

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Here in sunny Arizona, the weather is dry and dusty. If you fill a kerosene lamp and leave the container outside, the Arizona soil covers the kerosene. You probably said it best above
and that dissolves the kerovarnish garbage
After cleaning many clocks with tons of garbage from Kerosene to graphite, I would say don't do it.
 

Willie X

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There will be no problem.

The problem you describe is caused by long time kerosene storage, being left to dry up, or concentrate, leaving the impurities behind. Modern K-1 or J-1 kerosene is more closely related to paint thinner or mineral spirits. The amount of residue left by rinsing is not a thing.

Note, very old kerosene will be dark and have a different smell. It's only good for burning brush piles. :)

Willie X
 

Bruce Alexander

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Ouch! That's a new one.

Sounds like a job for Evaporust! I think the brass will just have to be polished and perhaps lacquered.

Here's a good quote from Shutterbug about Chicken Feathers which I've lifted from an old Thread:
I like to dip the whole chicken in the kerosene, and just let it loose in the case :D
Classic.

Good luck.

Bruce
 
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ToddT

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Altashot, I see you are in Canada. Just how dry does it really get? Or is it a concern about heating systems and not enough indoor humidity?

At one time I kept a small flock (10 or so) of chickens for eggs. I decided to let one hen hatch a bunch. Somewhere I'd read that it was important to keep the humidity high during sitting. It had to do with keeping the air sack inside the egg from growing too large, leading to small chicks. The easiest way was to put some fresh grass in the nest every few days.

The chicks did not hatch. Upon inspection, all the chicks were fully formed inside the eggs.

Follow-up research indicated if the humidity was too high, the air sack in the egg would stay too small and when the chick was ready to hatch it wouldn't have enough room inside the egg to peck its way out. Recommended average humidity was about %50, +/- a fairly wide range.

I live in Michigan. The humidity would have been fine without the added grass. I learned something. And didn't gain any chicken feathers for spreading kerosene.
 

Altashot

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I am in one of the western provinces, one of the 2 land locked. It is known to be dry in comparison to the coastal provinces but still...we have a continental humid climate.
Winters tend to be dryer but our heating furnaces are normally equipped with humidifiers to keep the humidity within the comfort zone.
In summer, we tend to be humid, sometimes uncomfortably so.

I have several antique clocks and other objects of my own and our climate in general doesn’t seem to cause issues. If anything, it’s perhaps too humid at times.

in any case, there is no need to keep water inside clocks. The excess moisture also turned the oils into a gel, maybe the oils are hydrophilic? I think it also had adverse effect on the hide glue, it seems that the case is now loosely joined. I am not sure about the latter but I might have to rebuild the case if it sways with the pendulum.

we’ll see. I normally attend to returns immediately but since this one is not under warranty, it went to the back of the queue. I’ll get to it in about 6-8 months.

M.
 

JeffG

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I remember reading a theory that the kerosene fumes were also meant to repel vermin and bugs.
 

Tim Orr

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Good afternoon, all!

I have a small garden shed that was plagued by wasps every summer. For my own protection, I had to get one of those "No-Pest Strips" each year to hang from its ceiling. Until I got a small snow-blower, and stored it and the gasoline for it in the shed. There's a definite odor of gasoline and burnt gasoline (from the exhaust pipe) in the shed. Now, I no longer have wasps. Same premise as that presented by Jeff, I suppose.

Best regards!

Tim Orr
 

JeffG

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Nut meats are oily, and I've discovered those in several clocks.
The internet is full of the old wives tale that walnuts repel spiders.

Back to the original post, Evaporust works miracles! And I was referred to Inox MX3 as a good preventative to keep rust away.
 

Kevin W.

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Thats a new one, keeping water in a clock. Wow, the things some people do.
 

Altashot

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It’s all serviced again and now testing.

I feel like that episode of Seinfeld when the car mechanic didn’t approve of how Jerry was taking care of is Saab and he wouldn’t give it back...

image.jpg

I decided not to put it at the back of the queue, I just want it out of here. I’m still ticked off.

M.
 

Kevin W.

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Sorry lol, but thats a nice pun, ticked off.
 

kinsler33

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It’s all serviced again and now testing.

I feel like that episode of Seinfeld when the car mechanic didn’t approve of how Jerry was taking care of is Saab and he wouldn’t give it back...

View attachment 649916

I decided not to put it at the back of the queue, I just want it out of here. I’m still ticked off.

M.
I would be, too. Nobody likes to see their work damaged, regardless of compensation.

Mark Kinsler
 

MuseChaser

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I understand, but if I got ticked everytime somebody talked loudly in the middle of a heartfelt ballad, I'd have died of high blood pressure decades ago. We simply cant expect our customers to understand our arts and our loves as we do. No good comes from being bothered by it.
 

shutterbug

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This thread, starting with post #24 started a whole series of threads with humorous comments regarding chicken feather cleaning.
You can use search to find more.
 

Bruce Alexander

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Nobody likes to see their work damaged
True, and nothing is "Fool Proof". All we can really do is try to give comprehensive instructions when we return a clock. I never would have thought that "Don't put open jars of water in the case!" would be a necessary caution though. :) Handle the situation with professionalism, gentle humor, and humanity and you'll probably have a long-time, repeat customer (if you want it to be so). Now if they do it again...all bets are off! :emoji_rage:

I have been upset with FedEx all too often, for their rough handling and damage to my newly completed work (or their addition to the list of things I need to do). I don't trust them anymore and I won't use them as a shipping option. I don't care how cheap they are. There's a good reason for that. I'm done with them...but that's a whole different subject/thread. I also get upset when I see substandard repair short cuts that create more work and expense. I can't get mad at whoever did them, usually, because I don't know the circumstances. I can only the see the end results. That's the infamous H.O.S. thread that you love so much Mark. :whistle:

Regards,

Bruce
 

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