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Lubrication

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AJW28/08/2020 21:59:43
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306 forum posts
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I have a 1941 US NAVY clock made by the Chelsea Click Co in Boston. This has been in my workshop unused for many years. Wound it recently and it runs beautifully for about a week on a wind.

I would like to put it in regular use but no doubt it could do with a service as I don't suppose it's ever been attended to. I has a simple but very well made movement and in good order I was considering tackling it myself although I haven't any 'clock oils'!

In the past on similar I have used a 0-30 sae synthetic engine oil, I've found it doesn't seem to go gummy like regular mineral oil.

Is this an acceptable alternative or should I get a drop of something?

Alan

Bo'sun29/08/2020 09:04:07
202 forum posts

A question for a Horologist I think. The wrong oil could end in disaster. The quantity, and what to oil may also be important.

Brian H29/08/2020 10:10:57
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1797 forum posts
108 photos

Please don't use a 30 grade oil. Look on Walshes (or other specialist) site for clock oil.

Brian

JasonB29/08/2020 10:18:38
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I use a clock oil on my smaller models, may well be suitable for clocks too.

roy entwistle29/08/2020 11:01:08
1251 forum posts

The old lubricant will need removing first. Ideally a complete strip down. If doing it yourself be very careful with the mainspring.

AJW29/08/2020 14:11:29
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306 forum posts
121 photos

Thanks guys, I had visions of buying a blooming great bottle of lube! 15ml sounds ideal.

I was going to dismantle and ultrasonic clean the parts to remove dried out lubricant, the brass and bright steel parts look almost as bright as the day they were made, I guess being secured in a virtually airtight case has helped. When I'm on the other 'puter I shall link up some photos.

Alan

clogs29/08/2020 16:51:06
578 forum posts
12 photos

AJW

it'd be nice to see the photo's.....

I'd be a bit worried about stripping it down....surely useing fresh clock oil will grad flush out the oil u used and also be wet enough to ease the cleaning of the old oil stains.....perhaps a small brush with a drop of white spirit will also help......??

I have a 1914 speedo for an Indian motorcyle I'm building.....it works but wonder if it could do with a service......

cant tell u the cost of it in case the wife reads this.....but they wanted another $800 to get it cleaned and serviced/rebuilt by a specialist before it was shipped over........just couldn't hide all that money......hahaha....

good luck

AJW29/08/2020 19:50:05
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306 forum posts
121 photos

I feel the way forward and remove all old residues is by dismantling it, luckily there's not a lot of parts involved. My biggest concern would be the balance wheel or more accurately - the hair spring!

I suppose I could put the whole assembled movement in the ultrasonic tank then once dry apply the oil to pivot ends?

Alan

ps, can't remember how to link in photos! But some clock photos are in my US Navy clock album!

Michael Gilligan29/08/2020 21:13:21
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16363 forum posts
712 photos

A bit of history here, Alan: **LINK**

https://www.chelseaclock.com/p/our-history

MichaelG.

AJW29/08/2020 22:30:42
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306 forum posts
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Thanks MichaelG, I see they have been making clocks for a very long time - nice to think they are still in existence. I have contacted Chelsea in the hope they can shed some light on the vessel it was allocated to (obviously not sunk) although I feel this information is 'Naval' , it has a Naval serial number on the face but have so far drawn a blank.

Alan

martin perman30/08/2020 08:27:01
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1874 forum posts
78 photos

AJW,

I've got myself into clocks and I have a friendly commercial clock repairer who suggested to me to place the whole mechanism into a cleaning tank and with tooth brushes clean away all of the muck etc then lubricate with a light oil but use it sparingly, each spindle tends to sit in its bearing which is in a dimple, the dimple will hold the small amount of oil.

If you take the mechanism apart you will not have enough hands and fingers to reassemble it smiley you can buy rings to put around your wound spring to stop it un winding when dismantled, My friendly clock repairer says to only take apart if you have parts that need repair of remaking,

Martin P

AJW30/08/2020 08:40:50
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306 forum posts
121 photos

Thanks, interestingly it looks like the mainspring assembly can be removed independently of the main movement so avoiding it going in a wash tank.

I have got some oil on the way, thanks JasonB.

Can't remember how to link photos but I have created a US Navy album with a few photos in

Alan

martin perman30/08/2020 08:57:21
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1874 forum posts
78 photos

Just looked at your pictures and realised that there are several on Ebay at the moment, Seth Thomas another clock maker also produced a deck clock which is very similar in design.

Martin P

martin perman30/08/2020 08:58:24
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1874 forum posts
78 photos

Just looked at your pictures and realised that there are several on Ebay at the moment, Seth Thomas another clock maker also produced a deck clock which is very similar in design.

Martin P

roy entwistle30/08/2020 09:39:54
1251 forum posts

Looking at your photos it would appear that it has a platform escapement. This needs to be removed and cleaned separately. More like watchmaking. Years ago I cleaned a platform escapement in an ultrasonic tank. the pallets and impulse pin all became detached. They were held in with shellac which dissolved. I would point out that not all pallets and impulse pin are held in this way.

roy entwistle30/08/2020 09:40:42
1251 forum posts

.Double post

Edited By roy entwistle on 30/08/2020 09:41:50

Michael Gilligan30/08/2020 09:42:57
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16363 forum posts
712 photos

Some useful information here: **LINK**

https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/mark-i-boat-clock-chelsea.53301/

MichaelG.

.

Edit: The impossible only takes a little longer angel

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112050284899&view=1up&seq=5

I suggest you read this before doing anything to it.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 30/08/2020 09:53:46

SillyOldDuffer30/08/2020 10:00:34
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6324 forum posts
1387 photos
Posted by AJW on 29/08/2020 22:30:42:

Thanks MichaelG, I see they have been making clocks for a very long time - nice to think they are still in existence. I have contacted Chelsea in the hope they can shed some light on the vessel it was allocated to (obviously not sunk) although I feel this information is 'Naval' , it has a Naval serial number on the face but have so far drawn a blank.

Alan

Very unlikely the supplier would know what vessel a particular clock was allocated too. Tens of thousands of these would have been made. Some went to Shipbuilders for installation in new builds, others to ship repairers, and many more into the Naval Supply system. Your clock may have spent it's entire life in a Warehouse in San Diego. Or shuttled around the world on different support ships and never issued. Fitted to everything from Launches to Battleships and also used in Stone Frigates and other shore establishments. The US Navy would have kept detailed records at the time but these rarely survive.

Things like this were often sold in original packaging decades later as War Surplus; others were kept as mementos by sailors (technically theft), others saved when ships were scrapped. I like to think yours chased U-Boats in the Atlantic and saw action against the Tokyo Express, but it may have been fitted to a Quonset Hut in New Jersey!

Value shoots up if you can prove the clock has a connection to a famous ship, incident or person. And value disappears in a puff of smoke if the clock has been 'improved' by an unskilled owner. One of my favourite scenes on 'Antiques Roadshow', is when the horrified owner is told their rare coin was worth £10,000 before they removed 90% of its value with a Brillo Pad...

As I'm a clumsy oaf who knows little of practical clock repair I wouldn't take it apart if it were mine. Sluicing out the bearings and re-oiling with a proper Clock Oil would be my limit. If the clock has value I'd have it done professionally.

Dave

Circlip30/08/2020 12:09:43
1197 forum posts

Take heed what Roy said, the platform escapement, (The bit that the Balance assembly is fastened to), is a magnet for careless handling. Doesn't take much to slip with a screwdriver and break the balance pivots.

Regards Ian.

AJW30/08/2020 22:50:09
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306 forum posts
121 photos

What a website, like a Haynes manual for the movement - but better!

It's still running at the moment losing about 3 seconds a day once it's exhausted and I have the oil delivered I shall consider tackling it. As can be seen from the photos the movement is very clean with no masses of gummy lubricant.

As has been suggested it might not have ever seen service and could have been sold off as war surplus!

Alan

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