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littlered166
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Do any of you guys have wind up clocks and how do you clean the brass mechanisms when they get a little gummy? I have an OLD wind-up clock that will run a while and then stop. Yes it's wound up. I believe it's just a little dirty and needs cleaning, thus the question above. I don't want to take it to watch/clock man unless I have to. Would like to just spray clean if possible. All suggestions will be appreciated and thanks. Pembroke

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My cousin is going through the same thing with one he has from his dad . Hasn't figured it out yet

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Brass-o works wonders, but you've got to manually brush it in and rinse it well, so it won't work for you.

I'm not aware of a product that does work that way. It might be out there though. Would CLR work?

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Related: the show Repair Shop on Netflix is amazing. There's a guy on there who does clocks and small mechanisms exclusively. It's way better than anything on discovery because it doesn't focus on annoying personas, it's just repair and restoration.

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I have grandfather clock with weights, same problem - would just stop running. Cleaned it, oiled it for 2 years, couldn’t get it to keep running.

Found a company on the ‘net called ‘Clockworks’, lots of info, came to the conclusion the mechanism was just wore out. 

They had a replacement (mine was about 70 years old), they tell you where to find the numbers, so I bought one. Learned a whole lot about clocks and how to adjust them, it has been running fine for over a year.

Spendy though, was over $400 for parts.

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My Dad's hobby was repairing wind up clocks. We must have had a hundred at a time in the house. I'm sure I would have learned all about it if he had lived past me being 8. My only suggestion here would be spray contact cleaner since it's made for brass and copper and isn't supposed to leave a residue.

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1 hour ago, Dave Downs said:

Spendy though, was over $400 for parts.

But good for another 70 years.. dont make them like they used to, my watch was 275 ish to repair, but i like it, I would pay that again. 

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I’ve got a few 8 day clocks. There’s a guy that’s local that cleans, repairs, makes bushings etc. My clocks run perfect after he goes thru them. He says that dust and the incorrect oil is the biggest culprit. When he cleans em he takes the mechanism out of the cabinet and disassembles, replaces worn bushings, oils, then reassembled. I’ve seen him hit em with a blast of canned air but nothing else. Also soaked things in alcohol. My oldest clock was my great grandparents wedding gift. Married in 1888. Clock runs and keeps perfect time but it’s been worked on. I suggest finding a local clock person if ya can. 

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Brake Kleen be too harsh?

I use it on everything mechanical.

 

Content edited out because it had nothing to do with OP's question.

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i have a cuckoo and two 8 day key winders, none of them keep good time, i forget to wind them and I have a guy that works on them but after they bounce around coming home in the truck it seems they dont work quite right. Ive never used any gun scrubber, brake kleen, or chemicals on the, some air a time or two but honestly, got tired of the winding. Wife keeps the chain pulled on the cuckoo its in our bedroom and she likes the ticking sound to sleep to. 

 

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About why we have clocks.

Way back when I was a Sailor on a ship, there was a navigational area in the Combat Information Center, in a metal case with a glass framed lid were the ships chronographs.  3 wind up small clocks, no one but the navigators assistant touched them and they were never set but daily wound and compared.  There was chrono log kept with the clocks with deviation from each other .  At 10 AM every day the Captain got a report on the status  of the chronographs and an entry in the ships log  was made  by the current OOD. " chronographs have been wound and compared   "

The only time one was set was when it was replacing one that had time keeping issues.  Chronos that had time keeping issues were sent to the official chrono repair center.  There were various ships clocks around but there not used for navigation.

Before electronic navigation came around accurate time was required for accurate navigation from  the stars. All Navy line Officers were trained operate a sextant and a savvy Captain made sure they got routine training from the Ships Navigator.  Being lost on a giant ocean would not be fun!!

I still do WWV on an active  frequency every week but it is basically a novelty with all the time keepers available.

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going to try and clean the works myself soaking in gasoline for a couple hours and lightly blow dry. we'll see what happens. This old clock used to run pretty good. I think it stopped once and I squirted some wd40 around it. Should not have done that.  collects dust and grime not working since. Soooooo

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I have a 1906 Waterbury Mantel clock that my Grandpa bought . Runs like charm and keeps time and the chime works  yet to this day .

20200817_135714.jpg

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1 hour ago, littlered166 said:

going to try and clean the works myself soaking in gasoline for a couple hours and lightly blow dry. we'll see what happens. This old clock used to run pretty good. I think it stopped once and I squirted some wd40 around it. Should not have done that.  collects dust and grime not working since. Soooooo

There is a product called Houdini that is magical on brass locks. Frees up any stuck padlock or key and tumbler mechanism. Might be the ticket for you, or as stated before, it may need a good rebuild with new bushings. Let us know what you come up with.

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The spring is gummy and can’t unwind. Soak the works with something (I use blaster) and let the spring is unwind as much as possible. Then clean it  with a product that will dry and leave no residue. The springs are supposed to run dry, because lubricant attracts dust and will eventually gum up the works. However, it is ok to oil them if you take them down periodically (like every six months to a year) to re-oil them. If it is wound tight so the lubricant can’t penetrate the spring, you will have to disconnect the ratchet to let the spring go, or in the case of the chime, the governor that controls the clapper. In both cases, let off just enough tension so your penetrating oil can get in to there, then it will run normally.

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So far I've soaked in gasoline for about 8 hrs and have removed from gas and let dry. Came home and used pressurized air to blow away any loose dirt/grime. 1/2 drop light weight oil on all spindles. Just a small amount of motor oil on springs. Returned to case and fine tuned the pendulum. For now running again. We'll see how long and let you know. Thanks for all the suggestions. 

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