Saturday, September 1, 2012

What $10 Will Get You - The Cleaning!

This week, I got an old L&R Master watch cleaning machine from Cary Hurt. 

This makes it SO MUCH EASIER!!!  Up till now, I've been using mesh teaballs to swirl the parts around in pickle jars full of the cleaning solution.

Here's the disassembled watch, with the cleaning baskets, ready to start!

The pillar plate and bridges plus the bridge screws go into the bottom.   Really small parts like jewels, jewel screws, and the clutch and click springs go into a fine mesh capsule that holds them securely.

The top has dimples to hold the different sections - balance, train, pallet (and regulator) and keyless works.  Then the mesh lid goes on top of that.

 The basket attaches to the holder on the impeller blades.

Then you move the motor head over to the first jar which contains the washing solution (Zenith, in this case) Lower the motor till it rests on the jar, and start the motor running at moderate speed.  Every 30 seconds, I reversed the direction of the spin to break up the flow for better cleaning.  Note the pilot light.  While cleaning and rinsing, the drying heater is warming up.

 After 3 minutes, you raise the motor to just above the level of the liquid.  Spin the basket at 'a fairly high speed' to remove as much as possible of the solution before transferring the motor and basket to the next jar.  As per L&R's instructions, and common practice, the second and third jars have rinse fluid - also Zenith. 

Then the basket is lowered into the preheated drier chimney.  The column has a stop to hold it at the right level, then the basket is spun at a low speed for 3 minutes.

Here are all the parts, clean and dry, ready for the next stage - inspection, and pithing and pegging! 

Pithwood is  like natural styrofoam, with a mildly abrasive action.  It's used to clean pivots and pinions down to bare metal, by stabbing them into it.

Of course, the train wheels aren't the only parts with pivots.

It also cleans the roller jewel, if you gently push the balance into it.

Next, the pivot holes are all cleaned with sharpened pegwood.  Some folks use toothpicks for this.  The idea is to use the wood to polish the bearing surface, so you use a razor blade to sharpen the end to as fine a point as you can gently insert it into the pivot hole, and twirl.  When you pull it out, you should have a pointy end.  If not, you left it in the pivot and you have to do it all over to get it out.  Once you think you're done, look through the hole with your highest power loupe to make sure.

Next the other end of the pegwood is sharpened  to a chisel point to polish the flat surfaces of hole and cap jewels.  It's JUST POSSIBLE to see the residue on the surface of this cap jewel

When you're done, the surface should glisten.  That will keep the oil where it's put, and friction to a minimum. 

Once you've pithed and pegged, and inspected every piece, you can start putting it back together.  That's for the next post!

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