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What causes blackened oil in bearing holes?

vernb

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Mar 19, 2002
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I repaired an Urgos UW03012A clock movement 15 months ago and now it stopped running. I orginally cleaned the movement with L&R clock cleaning solution and rinsed with L&R #3 watch rinse. I thoroughly dried the movement and installed some bronze bushings.
Blackened oil slug in some of the bearing holes caused the stoppage. I see traces of black in a few of the bearing holes, most of the holes have clean oil. I use NYE Synthetic Clock Oil 140B. Is my oil allowing the pivots to rust? Any suggestions as to how I can avoid this in the future?
Many Thanks for your help.
Vern
 

vernb

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Mar 19, 2002
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I repaired an Urgos UW03012A clock movement 15 months ago and now it stopped running. I orginally cleaned the movement with L&R clock cleaning solution and rinsed with L&R #3 watch rinse. I thoroughly dried the movement and installed some bronze bushings.
Blackened oil slug in some of the bearing holes caused the stoppage. I see traces of black in a few of the bearing holes, most of the holes have clean oil. I use NYE Synthetic Clock Oil 140B. Is my oil allowing the pivots to rust? Any suggestions as to how I can avoid this in the future?
Many Thanks for your help.
Vern
 

doug sinclair

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Vern,

About 10 years ago, I had the same problem with six or seven clocks. It happened right after I stopped using the traditional heat method of drying clocks. I learned real quick after a bunch of re-dos! The problem started when I started using compressed air. The problem you have is likely the result of not getting all of the solvent out of the bearing holes. The solvent turns the oil to "glue" in 12 to 16 months! It is not sufficient to have the surfaces of the plates absolutely dry. The solvent in the bearing holes has to be eliminated entirely. What method did you use to dry the clock? I blast compressed air down all the pivot holes several times during the drying process. By the way, if you use compressed air, it is wise to have a water trap installed in the line!

Doug S.
 

vernb

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Mar 19, 2002
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Thanks Phil & Doug for the information and rapid response.
Phil, I am setup with Bergeon bushing tools and I would rather not incur the cost of changing to KWM. How does the Bergeon brass bushing compare to the American KWM bushing.

Doug, You have a good point, I do not ensure that the pivot holes are dry. I use a hair dryer and box arrangement to dry the parts. There definitely could be rinse in the holes. Since the rinse is a petroleum product, I was not too concerned. The idea of using compressed air sounds good. How large a unit would I need for compressed air?
Vern
 

Mike Phelan

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Dec 17, 2003
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Doug, You have a good point, I do not ensure that the pivot holes are dry. I use a hair dryer and box arrangement to dry the parts. There definitely could be rinse in the holes. Since the rinse is a petroleum product, I was not too concerned. The idea of using compressed air sounds good. How large a unit would I need for compressed air?


 
D

David Holk

It does sound like someone is not pegging out holes. I almost always get out goop with my pegging.

Also, I prefer alcohol rinse. Alcohol absorbs water, petroleum solvents displace water, but not necessarily away from the part, especially small holes. Of course, the alcohol should be kept tightly covered as much as possible to reduce evaporation, and especially to keep it from absorbing water out of the air. The part should be dried with hot air since the alcohol's evaporation will cool the part and could lead to condensation.

David
 

doug sinclair

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Mike and David,

I have donned my asbestos suit.

Peg holes? I use ultrasonics, L & R 677, L & R # 3 rinse, and compressed air to dry. Try it. You'll like it! No need to peg holes! Believe me! Most of my jobs get cleaned twice. One with the mainsprings or barrels out, and all the ancillary stuff off in order to identify wear, and once again while in pieces. I tried this concentrate stuff years ago, the stuff you mix with water. One batch of clocks was enough to convince me. With THAT, you MUST peg holes. I have been doing clocks for over 50 years. I have done tens of thousands of them. All types. Peg holes?

Petroleum based rinses do cause the lubricant to turn the color and consistency of blackish green glue in about one year if you don't get rid of all of it before you lubricate.

Mike,

I use a standard Campbell Hausfield compressor. Nothing special. If I were to have to replace it, I'd look for the quietest compressor I could find. My shop is in my home, and my compressor is on the noisy side.


Doug
 

Robert Gary

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Feb 26, 2003
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Vern:

For those of us close to the ocean, one alternative to the high cost of a compressor is to go to a dive shop, buy a used scuba tank and guage, have it filled with air for about $5.00 and use that as your source of compressed air.

It is not as convenient, but is a lot less expensive, takes up much less space, and is quieter as well.

RobertG
 

doug sinclair

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Robert,

An auxiliary air tank can also be used. These are like the tank on a compressor, but without the motor and pump. They are readily available at automotive supply stores. Fill it at your local service station. After trying one of these, I opted for the compressor. But they may come in handy if you do the bulk of your drying with heat, and only require short "bursts" of air to blow out the bearing holes.
 

Robert Gary

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Doug:

Thank you for the idea of the auxiliary tank. Only problem is, here in S. CA gas stations charge for the use of their compressors. At $.75 to top off three auto tires, the capacity of an aux tank would be very expensive, and time consuming.

Maybe I could take the aux tank to the marine shop and have them fill it for the same price as a scuba tank. I will have to look into it.

RobertG
 

doug sinclair

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Robert,

Why not canvass your friends and see if any of them owns a compressor? I rather suspect the usual air pump at a service station with a gauge set for car tires will not give you the pressure you need to really fill one of these tanks. Maximum safe charge on mine is 125 p. s. i. which I suspect you won't get at a service staion, unless you go right to their compressor. Considering the price of a decent compressor, I'd just as soon not fool around with an auxliary tank. The compressor has so many other uses as well, besides clock drying.
 

Robert Gary

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Doug:

Thank you. I will have to do some asking around.

RobertG
 
T

Tom Chaudoir

Hi Doug,

I use pretty much the same method as you, but with the addition of pegging. My experience is the same as David's. I can count on getting a bunch more crud out of a "clean" pivot hole.

I'm also of the mind that pegging removes hardened particles that are partially embedded in the brass. I can't prove that, but we all do what we believe is probably right.

Please try an experiment. Clean a dirty movement and then peg the holes from both sides. Put a round toothpick in your Dremel, and a file on your bench. Use the file to shape and clean the end of the wood. At slow speed, dip into each hole from both sides.

Did the toothpick come away clean?

Regards,
 
T

Tom Chaudoir

Hi Doug,

I hope that you didn't take my posting as an insult.We all have our own beliefs and methods. I'm sure that there are those who would look over my shoulder and be horrified. I do what I believe to be right. We all do.

Regards,
 

doug sinclair

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Tom,

I can guarantee anyone who pegs a hole in a brass plate will see a stain on a piece of pegwood. Especially if you use a Dremel tool! The microscopic abrasion of clean pegwood used on clean brass will show on the pegwood as a dark stain. The microscopic particles removed come off as OXIDE! As I said, if the cleaning methods of some folks result in goop remaining in the pivot holes, I would hardly be the one to discourage pegging the hole. As I said, I am wearing my asbestos suit! Since most clocks are cleaned without dismantling (not in my shop), I suspect goop is a common problem about which little or no pegging is done. Especially with some cleaning solutions!

Since the original question was about what causes oil to turn black, and that was the query I was answering, I fail to see how this whole topic has expanded to include the whole principle of cleaning clocks.

Doug S.
 

Mike Phelan

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Hi Doug and Tom
Tom is right - we are a broad church.
Doug, I think the thread has gone in this direction because it was put forward that not pegging holes may cause oil to discolour.
I appreciate that an airline will probably clean a hole as well as pegging, as I use a compressor in the garage to dry off bits of cars and the like, but prefer the silence and compactness of a bundle of pegwood and a knife for clocks

Especially if you use a Dremel tool!


 

erngrover

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As I review the message that have been posted on this subject, it is likely you're all on to something. Are we talking about a tubular bell movement here?

Let me digress. The movements made during the 60's and 70's used plated arbors. The plating would wear off, leaving a black, dusty deposit on the seatboard and sometimes on the tops of the weight shells. I'm probably off base on my assumption here, because I'm not sure when the 03012A was manufactured.

According to Mark Butterworth's site, if I interpret this correctly, it corresponds with with the old 03/12 (which has been replaced by the 03096 - triple chime/ chain) or if your identification UW03012A is really UW03X012, then that's a Westminster tubular bell movement.

None of this has anything to do with the problem at hand. What I'm trying to discover is if your movement falls in the class of steel plated arbors where flaking caused adverse bushing wear.

("They're totally confused now, Mr. Charlie.")
 

timerider

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I hate to admit it but i've been having some trouble in the past several months, Im getting grandmother and father movements back in only a couple of months. I have not changed my repair technics but yet all of the sudden some have come back with tight second wheel bushings, and some with the blackened oil. I have been recleaning, repeging, and reburnishing the ones with the black oil and so far so good. I have been thinking its the new breed of movements as these are all from the 80s, I cant beleive the poor quality materials in these movments.

My repair technics,
1.Always disasemble to clean
2.Clean wheels and levers in L&R jar cleaning machine w/non-amoniated clock cleaning sulution.
(I never use consentrated cleaner mixed w/water)
3.Clean plates in stainless steel tank hooked to a small air pump for agitation w/same kind of cleaning solution.
4.Everything is rinsed with denatured alcohol.
5.Dryed w/hair dryer.
6.Bush as needed.
7.Peg all holes both sides of each plate.
8.Dressdown & burnish pivots and verge as needed.
9.Reassemble.
10.Oil.
11.Adjust/and test usualy overnight.

I've been repairing professionaly for nearly 18 years and beleive i do a top notch job.

TheTimeKeepingShop@msn.com
 

jacks61fd

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Timerider
These newer movements you are talking about get thier hardness on the pivots from the plating that is on them. When you dress them down and polish the pivots you are removeing this plating and exposing very soft metal underneath. The second wheels for these movements are available and not expensive at all, replace a badly worn second wheel.
 

erngrover

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I was of the impression that plating was no longer being done. I may be wrong.

But true, if there is plating and you are polishing the pivots (as one should), then you're exposing a mine field that will chew up your new bushing.

Under magnification, lead-steel alloy arbors, with the plating worn or polished off will guarantee that the little particles of lead will drop out (and fall on the seatboard or on top of the weight shells), exposing little craters with razor sharp edges. No matter how nicely you polish the pivots, they'll eventually eat through a bushing.

Now, if the new steel isn't the softer lead-steel alloy, you're polishing a stable surface and shouldn't have to be concerned with how it will wear against the bushing.
 

doug sinclair

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Timerider,

I have never used alcohol as a rinse, but some who have contributed to this thread have. It has been indicated that alcohol will take on water, just from sitting! Is it remotely possible that, somehow, water remaining in the bearings is causing these second wheel pivots to rust? As I mentioned in an earlier post on this topic, I use compressed air to dry. I HAVE had an occasional problem with water from my tank getting into pivot holes which causes a similar problem to the one you describe. I solved that with a water trap in the air hose, and voiding my air tank more often.
 

DavidEFahrenholz

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Vern,
I agree that it sounds like left over solvent on the movement or left over "dirt". You see a similar reaction when someone tries to "oil" the pivots in attempt to get it going again and the lubricant creates a slurry type mixture.How long are you soaking the parts in the cleaner? L&R can affect the brass if left in contact too long.

As far as the bushings you should have no problems unless you run into the plated arbors which as someone else stated are clearly visible upon observation and normally lead to further problems.
 

timerider

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I'm fairly sure its not a moisture problem as i dry w/heated air and peg all holes. As far as plated pivots go I have run into these many times, and dont see the sharp edges w/these ones as i have in the past. However in the past most of the problems would show up in the chain & second wheels atleast these are the ones that you could actualy scrape plating of with your fingernail, and now the problem seems to be further up the train.
I guess i would have to say the problem is in very soft metal?
Phil had said they blamed a similar problem on bronze bushings, but i have never used bronze.


TheTimeKeepingShop@msn.com
 

lylepete

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Feb 9, 2003
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Hi
I've seen blacked oil in just about every make of clock ansonia, chelsea, new haven, and seth thomas. However, modern movements do appear to have more blackened oil sinks. Most of the time when I find a blackened oil, that bearing is badly worn and will need to bushed. Of course these are several years or decades old.

Pegging out the bearing may also not cure your problem either. Although it should be done. There are bacteria that can and will eat up you nice oil and leave a nice black sludge behind for you. They need O2 to live so the oil in your bottle will take years to go bad, but that thin layer on the bearing is just right for them.
William
M.S botany
 

Robere210

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I have bought and also sold several very good compressors on my local Craigslist. I recommend taking a look at your local CL.
 

shutterbug

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Robere210;1034349 said:
I have bought and also sold several very good compressors on my local Craigslist. I recommend taking a look at your local CL.

You responded to an old thread, Robere :)
 

MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

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I have seen brand new units that have gone through the testing at the factory and have some of the black around the pivots. I believe some of it can simply be dust. Any time dirt or dust hits an oiled surface, it simply collects. it does not blow away.
 

eskmill

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The original query asks about the cause of blackend oil in (clock bearing or pivot) holes and I believe Tinker Dwight is correct in his reply stating that the black color is the black oxide of copper.

Clock pivot bearing holes are ordinarily brass or may have bronze bushings and both are copper-zinc or copper-tin alloys with the major component being copper. Thus the question concerns cause of the oxidation of the copper component and would the lubricated pivot hole turn black if the pivot hole was not principally a copper alloy such as are the pivot holes in a jeweled watch.

There are many contributing causes to cause the formation of black copper oxide (CuO) in the clock pivot hole, heat or local microscopic heat of the impact of the steel pivot "hammered" against the surface of the pivot hole being the root cause in addition to other factors which includes the hydroxil radical or pH of any entrained liquids present in the pivot hole such as lubricants.

Think about the motion of the steel pivot in the clearance space within the pivot as it is suddenly forced from at rest into rotation by the "less than perfect" disengagement of the pinion to wheel motion. We would all like to believe that the pivot moves in smooth angular motion within the hole clearance space but there is an "impact" force component as the pivot is compelled rotate. Any clearance space will result in a minute amount of vertical motion of the pivot against the pivot hole and thus a hammering force against the pivot hole alloy which will raise the local surface temperature of impact space.

I suspect that it is the minute amount of the heat of impact effect upon the copper component of the pivot hole that results in the black oxide formation seen in clock pivot holes. The amount of wear or clearance between the pivot and plate hole is an exacerbating influence in the formation of black pivot holes.

Does this happen in jeweled watch movements in the same way?
 

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