If you have decided to go ahead and clean the movement without stripping it down
for attention, and provided that it lies within the categories described
earlier, prepare the movement for cleaning.
There are various
proprietary brands of cleaning fluid available and these have considerable
advantages over home-made mixtures. Some are water soluble concentrates to which
you add 7 parts of water to every one of fluid.
Others are oil or spirit
based cleaners that are normally used in ultrasonic cleaning machines.
Ultrasonic cleaners are tanks of liquid with transducers behind the sides or
bottom. These transducers create such high speed vibrations in the fluid that
the dirt and contamination is literally knocked out of the pivot holes. They are
almost indispensable in a busy workshop, particularly for servicing small alarm
clocks and other mechanisms not needing to be stripped.
the fumes from any of the cleaning fluids on the market, and always read
the labels. Wear safety protection where appropriate, such as chemical resistant
gloves and eye protection.
Immerse the movement in the fluid. Any part
not immersed will be marked along the fluid line, so be sure to use a container
large enough. The time taken to remove the oil, tarnish etc. will depend on the
condition of the movement. Check after about 10 minutes. Light brushing will
help loosen the grime. A convenient vessel for immersing the movement is a
plastic tub with a lid. When the brass is clean and free of grease etc., remove
it from the solution and rinse thoroughly in warm water.
It is essential
to dry the movement thoroughly to prevent rust forming on the steel. Ensure that
no moisture is trapped between the coils of a spring. A hair dryer is one way of
drying out the movement, but remember that they are not designed for use in wet
environments or with flammable liquids, and there could be a risk of
electrocution. When thoroughly dry, refer to the chapter on oiling.
clock repairers will decry this section on the grounds that the clock needs to
be dismantled and checked. They are right, but if the alternative is the
dustbin, then surely this action is justified?