Jump to content
  • Current Donation Goals

    • Raised $236.67

Cleaning movement parts with acetone


Timelord
 Share

Recommended Posts

Had an interesting encounter this afternoon at the hardware store when I bumped into a retired watchmaker. He had  stopped to buy a can of acetone to clean some metal prior to priming the welds before the  final coat of paint!  
 

As we discussed the old and the new, he mentioned as a passing comment that acetone is a good substitute if you are ever cleaning watch movement by hand,!   
 

I had never thought of it as most hand cleaning solutions such as lighter fuel, naphtha, white spirits and essence of Renata are commonly referred to!!  I am not sure how effective acetone is in comparison to the naphtha etc.  My guess would be that if it is as good, then it may be less toxic since it also occurs naturally in the human body!  
Anyone  ever tried using acetone in cleaning watch parts and how were the results?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Dlf said:

If you’re on a budget I’d use campfuel / (Coleman’s) , I’d never use acetone it’s a bad idea.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your input!  
 

I also had never heard of cleaning with acetone!  My interest was not so much on the budget side, but more of an alternative to petrochemicals or benzene based fluids like naphtha!   A more environmentally friendly fluid than these commonly used ones would really suit me 
 

Like most of us here' I don’t have a cleaning machine and live in a small dwelling with my family where the smell from these fluids gets me into trouble with my my partner!  The last watch I cleaned by hand came out really nice but one needs a proper ventilated area to work in!     
 

Alcohol  would be great too, but that would not go well with the balance roller jewel and the pallet stones!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Acetone leaves a residue, which is why I would not use it on watch parts. I often use brake cleaner, which available from every auto parts store, when I run out of the appropriate watch cleaning solution. On non painted steel, it works great, leaves the part squeaky clean & leaves no residue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

"If you’re on a budget I’d use campfuel / (Coleman’s), I’d never use acetone it’s a bad idea."

 

Yep, good advice imho.

 

Coleman camp fuel, Zippo/Ronsonol lighter fluid etc is all the same basic stuff (naptha), you can also buy naptha in gallon cans at Home Depot, hardware stores etc.  Most brand name watch rinses are naptha solutions except it might be filtered a bit more.

 

Most commercial watch cleaning solutions are made out of finely filtered 'Stoddard Solvent' aka mineral spirits/paint thinner with a few additives...very few probably.

 

Some brake cleaners will work too, especially the older types with tetrachloroethylene.  It is very noxious stuff though and goes by the common name 'dry cleaning fluid'.  Watch mechanics call it 'One Dip' or hairspring cleaner.

 

Acetone is not too hot for watch parts...or your bright red fingernails.  :animal_rooster:

 

What Is Stoddard Solvent (questionfun.com)

 

?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOVP.Dg3sIrtX0rrl6zLwP5Y35QIIEk%26pid%3DApi%26h%3D120&f=1

 

Zippo fluid is better !!! Zippo vs Ronsonal - YouTube

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guys thanks for your responses!!!!   

 

I knew it had to be-  too good to be true!!!  

 

Bottom line is that there is no less toxic environmentally cleaning solution  apart from the petrochemical ones!!   

 

If only pallets and roller jewels weren't shellacked, isopropyl alcohol would have been ideal!!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I have used lacquer thinner.  Seems to dry fast with no residue I can see but keep it away from the pallet forks as I have had it dissolve the glue that the stones are attached with!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, jmb said:

I have used lacquer thinner.  Seems to dry fast with no residue I can see but keep it away from the pallet forks as I have had it dissolve the glue that the stones are attached with!


lacquer thinner is similar to isopropyl alcohol as it is used in French polishing and therefore dissolves the lacquer that is used to fuse the pallet stones and also the roller jewel on the balance staff of the hair spring!   Two very important and expensive parts that are the most fragile in this liquid!!

 

I was hoping that one of these type of  alcohols would have been a good substitute for benzene based solvents!  Sadly not the case because of those two delicate parts!  
 

just the other day, I found a post from some site that uses ammonia based liquid to clean but am not sure if it was for movement parts!  I wonder what the environmental watchmakers would use apart from detergent and distilled water?  I haven’t been able to hand clean any movement parts due to some family members allergic to the smallest exposure to these chemicals and living in a small dwelling on the 8th floor adds to the complication! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I have used lacquer thinner.  Seems to dry fast with no residue..."

 

I have used it on many occasions but not on watch parts.  Back in my Bondo days we called it '3608'.

Earl Scheib paint shops used it to wipe cars down after lightly sanding them before applying their 'grease jobs'.

'Grease job' = enamel paint job. 

220px-Earl_Schieb_Auto_Painting_sign%2C_upper_detail%2C_Olympic_Boulevard%2C_Beverly_Hills%2C_California_LOC_37579331214.jpg

 "I'm Earl Scheib, and I'll paint any car, any color for $29.95. No ups, no extras," 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
  • 1 month later...
On 8/16/2022 at 5:38 PM, Precifreak said:

99% Isopropyl alcohol is recommended by most. You may have a look.


Not unless you are replacing your pallet fork and balance, I would agree!  Isopropyl Alcohol will dissolve the shellac that glues the pallet stones and the roller jewel under your balance!  
 

looks like benzene based hydrocarbons are still needed!  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...