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Opinion on using blue Loctite (thread locker) on clocks?

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Chris TickTock24/01/2020 15:36:37
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Hi, clocks especially old clocks over tightening can be a real issue. Therefore is the use of Loctite on threads acceptable and if so would blue be your choice?

Chris

SillyOldDuffer24/01/2020 16:32:04
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Thread-locker is best used when vibration or heat-cycling might loosen a thread. Not sure clocks are vulnerable to that, but thread-locker is certainly common on laptops. So it doesn't seem mad to use thread-locker as a way of lightly tightening a screw and still have it stay in place.

Rather than Blue I'd suggest Purple because it's intended for small screws and undoing with hand-tools (Purple is weaker). Not sure a future clock mender would welcome fixing a clock glued solidly together!

Dave

Neil Wyatt24/01/2020 16:34:55
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I'd use clear nail varnish, as it can be dissolved easily and teh loads are relatively tiny.

Neil

Chris TickTock24/01/2020 16:52:03
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Posted by Neil Wyatt on 24/01/2020 16:34:55:

I'd use clear nail varnish, as it can be dissolved easily and teh loads are relatively tiny.

Neil

Thanks Neil, I read a post stating acetone which can also remove nail varnish also removes blue Loctite. Note on my clock forum some do use Loctite...a case of being pragmatic perhaps...others protest...what's new there.

Chris

roy entwistle24/01/2020 17:52:33
1225 forum posts

I would consider the use of Loctite on a clock falls in the same class as the use of WD40 The perpetrators should confine their confine their efforts to sundials

Roy

Michael Gilligan24/01/2020 18:09:22
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Posted by roy entwistle on 24/01/2020 17:52:33:

I would consider the use of Loctite on a clock falls in the same class as the use of WD40 The perpetrators should confine their confine their efforts to sundials

Roy

.

So John Wilding is for the chop

MichaelG.

Brian H24/01/2020 18:14:18
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Posted by roy entwistle on 24/01/2020 17:52:33:

I would consider the use of Loctite on a clock falls in the same class as the use of WD40 The perpetrators should confine their confine their efforts to sundials

Roy

Don't see anything wrong with it personally, it is completely removable, in no way modifies the clock and prevents overtightening.

Brian

roy entwistle24/01/2020 18:30:02
1225 forum posts

Gentlemen Further to my comments above, I will agree that pinions and wheel collets can be fixed onto arbors with Loctite. but thats all. No screws should need to be that tight

Roy

old mart24/01/2020 20:12:40
1923 forum posts
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There are a lot of different grades available from Loctite, I suggest checking the website for the exact strengths and recommended applications. Asking for blue Loctite is not adequate.

speelwerk24/01/2020 21:09:36
372 forum posts
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You can use a torque wrench to prevent overtightening but that perhaps is a bit overdone in a clock, as is Loctite. Niko.

lfoggy25/01/2020 21:02:09
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I use a lot of anaerobic adhesives in my clock making for permanent assembly of components, often where soldeing, interference fits or brazing might have been used before. Not sure what you would ever want to use a thread retaining grade for though. I have never had an issue with screws coming loose in a clock in normal operation....

Ian P26/01/2020 00:01:27
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Posted by Chris TickTock on 24/01/2020 15:36:37:

Hi, clocks especially old clocks over tightening can be a real issue. Therefore is the use of Loctite on threads acceptable and if so would blue be your choice?

Chris

Surely the problem here is the overtightening? (Which Loctite cannot prevent).

As I understand it the art or profession involved in the repair and restoration of old timepieces is one that attempts to preserve the original makers methods and materials. When materials (chemical substances) are no longer available or considered safe, then obviously substitutes or other techniques will have to be used. I'm not any sort of horologist but I doubt any sort of locking compound was ever used on screw fastenings so I don't see why one would be needed now.

Simple answer would be that Loctite is not acceptable on threads of old clocks.

I have mixed up feelings about why this particular question was put to this forum since later in the the thread you mention your 'clock forum' and that some people use it, maybe the users are making and not restoring clocks. In any event it seems to me that a forum of clockmakers would have much more clock related focus than a model engineering forum.

Ian P

Michael Gilligan26/01/2020 05:40:35
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Posted by Ian P on 26/01/2020 00:01:27:
Posted by Chris TickTock on 24/01/2020 15:36:37:

Hi, clocks especially old clocks over tightening can be a real issue. Therefore is the use of Loctite on threads acceptable and if so would blue be your choice?

Chris

Surely the problem here is the overtightening? (Which Loctite cannot prevent).

[…]

.

[ engaging Devil’s Advocate mode ]

But the concern may be that by trying to avoid over-tightening, the screw is under-tightened ... at which point, a low torque thread-locker might help.

MichaelG.

.

It would be interesting to read the ‘clock forum’ to which Chris refers.

Andrew Johnston26/01/2020 09:59:20
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 26/01/2020 05:40:35:

It would be interesting to read the ‘clock forum’ to which Chris refers.

NAWCC

**LINK**

Andrew

Michael Gilligan26/01/2020 10:58:06
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Thanks, Andrew yes

... I do browse that forum occasionally

Searching today, for ‘loctite’ ... I found this sweeping generalisation in post #9 of **LINK**

https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/st-pillar-scroll-taking-it-to-the-next-level.165037

[quote] Loctite of course doesn't work on wood. [/quote]

... Which suggests to me that they are no better-informed that this group.

MichaelG.

Chris TickTock26/01/2020 11:54:46
563 forum posts
39 photos

Thanks for all the posts on this question. Yes the clock forum like this one has a spectrum of views which is always a good thing to listen to and if I don't agree with some views I see no merit in showing disrespect for no other reason than its not necessary and achieves little.

We all have our views, as a relative green horn but hopefully an intelligent person when when given advice  Iweight it up, I have met bricklayers who have spent 21 years laying bricks but still couldn't do it well.

. In this case my take is Loctite is perfectly OK but which Loctite depends upon the specific application and circumstance.

I asked the question to see if there were strong arguments against such uses. Red / green cylindrical bonding Loctite is to my mind totally acceptable for joining pivots etc. Blue / purple were of interest mainly.

What is thrown out as advice is the argument I've never done it or would never do it it and no credible reason given. Loctite again dependent upon which one we are talking about and which use we may wish to put it may be seen as a tool and / or material to achieve a particular purpose. As always there may well be alternatives but surely it is up to the person making the repair to decide in the light of his judgement reflecting on all known facts.

chris

 

Edited By Chris TickTock on 26/01/2020 11:55:36

Nick Clarke 326/01/2020 12:25:21
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Martin Evans (not the current editor of ME, the one before) came and gave a talk to the society I was a member of then and showed us a crankaxle for his Princess of Wales design built up and Loctited.

This generated a load of discussion and correspondence in the club newsletter with some saying 'Its not engineering, its a bodge' etc etc

This was 1971 ………………. !

SillyOldDuffer26/01/2020 13:37:52
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Posted by Chris TickTock on 26/01/2020 11:54:46:

...

What is thrown out as advice is the argument I've never done it or would never do it it and no credible reason given. Loctite again dependent upon which one we are talking about and which use we may wish to put it may be seen as a tool and / or material to achieve a particular purpose. As always there may well be alternatives but surely it is up to the person making the repair to decide in the light of his judgement reflecting on all known facts.

chris

I mostly agree : there is loads of outdated advice and folklore floating about in Model Engineering. Examples:

  • Trying to buy a long gone proprietary oil because it's recommended in an antediluvian manual. (The oils are nothing special, use a modern equivalent.)
  • Myford is the best lathe for Model Engineering. (Good, not perfect, many more alternatives available today, often better value.)
  • Buying cheap tools is always a waste of money. (Tools need only be fit for purpose.)
  • The dangerous workshop chemicals of yesteryear work better than modern equivalents. (Maybe!)
  • Good tools depend on careful craftsmanship. (Rather than mass-production with modern plant.)
  • Old steel is higher quality than modern steel. (Unlikely on average.)
  • Far Eastern is always inferior to British. (Times change.)
  • Imperial is easier than Metric and more patriotic. (Only for the over sixties and Americans...)

On the other hand, and this is important, Model Engineering and Clockmaking as practised in small workshops hasn't changed significantly in well over a century. For us, old ways really are often the best ways, tried and tested over decades. Not to be ignored lightly. Other times, silly old duffer is repeating what his silly old grandad told him in 1968 about a half-forgotten trick apprentice grandad misunderstood in 1912. I strongly recommend reading Model Engineer magazines published between about 1950 and 1965. And books from the same period. Many of the authors were professionals trained before industry went high-tech, and most of what they say about workshops, tooling and methods is first-class. The main problem is they wrote before DRO's, Carbide, many new materials, and a bunch of other developments. There's a gap because books written after about 1970 tend to be aimed squarely at academic engineers, not you and I. Sometimes the gap can be filled, for example reading Sparey's The Amateur's Lathe, and Neil Wyatt's 'The Mini-lathe', (which I think is the most modern lathe book) gets the best of both worlds. Other times you have to make your own mind up.

But, do not trust personal judgement or opinion in the absence of experience and book learning. The way to disaster is to look intelligently at an old clock and imagine there's a problem. Maybe no-one else has had that problem in the last 300 years, and you've spotted a new opportunity. Or maybe it's a Fairy at the end of the Garden. But don't worry, propose a solution like Blue Loctite on the forum, get a variety of ideas, and carry on regardless even though the majority opinion is mostly negative. That's unwise - you can do better!

Perhaps there are only 3 answers to any proposal:

  1. It's a good idea, well-known with maybe a few tweaks and risks to consider, but go for it.
  2. It's a bad idea, notoriously stupid or with a high risk of expensive failure. Don't do it!
  3. It's a middling idea, possibly novel and contentious and unclear if there's any advantage or what the risks are. If that's the case don't guess - engineers don't do that. The correct approach is more research, ideally from someone who has done before. Now I know from their comments that experienced clock-makers on the forum are generally against Loctite, I'd want to be sure it was a good idea before trying it on a real clock. Why not experiment? Make a brass plate representing a clock and thread it. Loctite some threads and not others. Is there a measurable improvement? Does undoing cause any difficulty or damage? After a successful experiment, much safer to apply the idea in the real world.

Reading the answers the original question may have been misinterpreted? I think Chris's idea is to use Loctite when re-inserting a screw to lock the thread without applying much torque to ancient threads. Instead of tightening conventionally to get a friction grip, he will instead barely tighten the screw and rely on glue to hold it in place. Others have focussed on Loctite's usual purpose, which is to stop fully-tightened bolts from coming loose due to vibration or heat-cycling. Which problem is it? Loctite in the first case might be a good idea, Loctiting a clock for the second reason feels wrong.

Dave

Paul Kemp27/01/2020 00:59:00
548 forum posts
18 photos

To take SOD's I think excellent post a little further, compare loctite to CNC machines. Both are relatively new developments in 'engineering' and both have a justifiable argument for use. Loctite used in the correct way is an excellent medium to assist in production, assembly and longevity of the product. It can reduce the need for close precision for press fits to a wider tolerance band making production cheaper, it can make products easier to assemble not requiring press tools or heated shrink fits it can also replace traditional locking mediums such as spring or serrated washers again cutting weight and also assembly costs.

CNC machining is an excellent development making components easier to machine, machining items that previously could not be or would be very difficult to produce and once correctly programmed and set are capable of churning out parts to close tolerance with minimal human intervention (which is expensive) so parts can be made quicker and cheaper increasing profits or cutting cost to the end user.

So for both there are good convincing arguments based on economics and performance why CNC machines and Loctite are part of modern production.

Again considering SOD's points, clocks have been hand made very successfully for 100 years plus before loctite was invented. One would assume (and I have little idea about clocks and watches apart from they are too small and fiddly for me to be attracted too) that if screw threads coming loose was a major problem then Loctite would have been something like the holy grail to the industry and every watch and clock now made would be assembled with the stuff and any old pre loctite clock or watch you find would have a bunch of loose screws laying in the bottom?

I think the answer to the question is if it makes you feel good, slap it on but in essence if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

When working on old stuff, particularly vintage engineering stuff using modern materials and methods to bring about perceived improvements is often frowned on when purists are examining the provenance of the article. Keeping to the traditional skills and materials is deemed very important and even old clumsy historical repairs are considered part of the articles life story (like the bent nail in the weight - sure it wasn't made that way but because the nail was put in the clock survived being scrapped because it was put back to work). If you want to develop a reputation as a skilled restorer and craftsman Loctite is best left on the shelf.

Paul.

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