• The NAWCC Museum and Library & Research Center will reopen starting Wednesday, January 6, 2021 as per Governor Wolf's reopening mandate.

sewing machine oil

chrsvor25

Registered User
Jun 16, 2005
1,243
3
0
Has anyone ever used sewing machine oil on a clock or known anyone that used it?

My dad always used it on our grandfather clock (a 1976 emperor). My grandmother had worked in a clothing factory, and loved to sew in her spare time. (she lived from the 20s until the early 80s)

I am sure many of the masters on here will say only use clock oil, but the fact is that the clock has been running and chiming absolutely perfectly without being repaired since it was made. The only time its ever stopped was when someone forgets to wind it or stops it on purpose. Has anyone else heard sewing machine oil stories, or something similar?
 

Scottie-TX

Registered User
Deceased
Apr 6, 2004
936
55
0
80
Mesquite, TX
Country
Region
My mom used it often. She had a sewing machine.
Would you oil your sewing machine with clock oil?
 

chrsvor25

Registered User
Jun 16, 2005
1,243
3
0
They are both fine oils suited for the purpose, and I doubt it would do much harm. I probably would if there was nothing suitable available. But I understand the point you were making.

I always use lubricants specifically made for clocks, I was just wondering if anyone else heard of the uses of sewing machine oil on clocks, and if using it on clocks is bad.
 

Smudgy

Registered User
May 20, 2003
2,874
24
38
Country
Region
Using sewing machine oil on a clock won't damage the clock. The difference between sewing machine oil and clock oil is that sewing machine oil is designed to spread, while clock oil is supposed to stay where you put it. As long as you don't over-oil the clock, using sewing machine oil shouldn't cause any problem. Capillary action should suffice to keep the oil at the pivots unless you put on too much.
 

Willie X

Registered User
Feb 9, 2008
12,774
990
113
Chrs,

I would agree with what others have said.

Also, using a certain type of oil is not nearly as important as a regular schedule of both cleaning and oiling of not only clocks but just about everything mechanical.

One big difference is that sewing machines use high rates of application (usually every day, or after each use) and one of the oil's functions is to flush the bearings of lint and dust. On clocks the application is usually very infrequent so the oils are designed to hang around where needed for long periods of time.

IMO a clock should be carefully re-oiled every third year of use. Cleaning when it appears necessary.

Willie X
 

R&A

Registered User
Oct 21, 2008
4,203
107
63
Country
I used to know a clock repairman that used trany fluid to oil clocks.
 

R. Croswell

Registered User
Apr 4, 2006
10,727
1,003
113
Trappe, Md.
www.greenfieldclockshop.com
Country
Region
I believe that just about any kind of oil is better than no oil, as long as it’s not too thin or too thick. But why use a product that’s specifically formulated for some other application when there are oils available that are formulated specifically for clocks? The per-clock cost is nil regardless of what product is used.

The difficult part for me is deciding which of the clock oils is the best clock oil. Everyone seems to have a favorite but how is one to know for sure? If I change from something that works to something I hope will work better it could be dozens of clocks and years later before I find out if my choice was the correct one. There may be an oil that’s sold for some other application that’s just perfect for clocks as well, but for now I’ll limit my experimentation to oils that are at least labeled as clock oil.

By the way, what ever happened to that thread about the nano diamonds super magic clock oil – did anyone try the stuff?

Bob C.
 

Nano-Oil.com

Registered User
May 28, 2010
16
0
0
Petaluma, CA USA
www.Nano-Oil.com
Country
Region
Hello R.Crosswell,

It is my educated opinion, that "sewing machine oil" defined as "generic sewing machine oil" should not be used in Clock movements of any type,
My reason for making such a bold statement:
this type of oil is actually meant/formulated not to soil garments as obviously it can and often will come in contact with such, if you are sewing harnesses or other materials such as webbings, Cordura, Ballistic Cloth, Kevlar etc., obviously it does not matter.

However garments could visually and chemically be affected by such exposure
should one use the wrong type of lubrication.

So, a long story short
what sewing machine oil DOES:
- Allows lubrication without potentially ruining the materials being sewn
rendering lubricity of dynamic contacts marginal unless the steps below are observed and maintained.

What sewing machine oil DOES NOT DO:
- Does not maintain lubrication needed unless you:
A-wick it to the dynamic contacts
B-splash it to same as above
C-sump it to same as above
D-deposit/lubricate by FELT licking to same as above

Statements above are Christian StClaire's opinions based on experience with Industrial Sewing Equipment since 1974 with Juki, Nakajima, Brother, Adler ,Husqvarna/Viking, Pfaff,Singer, Thomson and quite a few others,
from HIGH SPEED SURGERS to DOUBLE NEEDLE WALKING FEET which can sew through industrial webbing stacked over a half inch thick such as industrial Lift Bag used in Diving Salvage operations to truck Harnesses.

You all have a wonderful weekend and Happy Mother's day to all you Lady Members who qualify.

Christian StClaire


I believe that just about any kind of oil is better than no oil, as long as it’s not too thin or too thick. But why use a product that’s specifically formulated for some other application when there are oils available that are formulated specifically for clocks? The per-clock cost is nil regardless of what product is used.

The difficult part for me is deciding which of the clock oils is the best clock oil. Everyone seems to have a favorite but how is one to know for sure? If I change from something that works to something I hope will work better it could be dozens of clocks and years later before I find out if my choice was the correct one. There may be an oil that’s sold for some other application that’s just perfect for clocks as well, but for now I’ll limit my experimentation to oils that are at least labeled as clock oil.

By the way, what ever happened to that thread about the nano diamonds super magic clock oil – did anyone try the stuff?

Bob C.
 

harold bain

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Deceased
Nov 4, 2002
40,851
172
63
72
Whitby, Ontario, Canada
Country
Region
Hi, Christian, welcome to the message board. You have given some very good reasons why sewing machine oil isn't adviseable to use on clocks. It was developed for specific purposes/usage that is not the same as clock requirements. Thanks for the educational posting.:thumb: