L&R cleaning solution
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Thread: L&R cleaning solution

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  1. #1
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    L&R cleaning solution

    I have an old L&R watch cleaning machine. It has 3 jars, an oscillating basket and a heating chamber.

    I was screwing around with hardware store cleaning solutions, and finally bit the bullet and bought a gallon each of L&R extra fine cleaner and rinse #3.

    Do either of these solutions have a strong smell like my hardware store mineral spirits?

    Is it safe to put the pallet fork (potentially shellacked) into the extra fine cleaner? I read the MSDS and it appears this cleaner contains an alcohol.

    Are there any other parts that I should not use these cleaners on?

    How long should I oscillate the watch parts in each jar?

    What mechanical cleaning steps do I need to perform in addition to running thru the machine?

    Is one dip for the balance complete? No need to pith the pivot?

    Thanks.



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  2. #2
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    Re: L&R cleaning solution

    Hello! I use L&R, and think all their products are excellent. I hope you will discover the odors tolerable...folks have been using L&R for decades, and I have not heard anyone report unacceptable results...of course, your senses are unique!

    The pallet fork will be fine in these solutions...they are formulated for watches, and are very thorough and 'kind' to all the pieces!

    I suggest checking with the company to see what they recommend @ times in jars...I reckon that different users will give you different times.

    As for additional steps: I almost always 'peg out' the train jewels / bushings...a piece of peg wood, brought to a chisel-end, works just fine. Do take a very close look at any cap jewels...it's not all that uncommon to discover a film of oil that the solution did not remove...the peg wood will do it.

    Do understand that cleaning solutions sometimes will loosen / remove the colorings ( lacquers?) from engravings on the plates...in my experience--to mention just two examples-- USA-made Hamiltons are almost never affected, while Keystone Howards seem awfully delicate. To my mind, unless the watch was cleaned years ago with an inappropriate solution, the engraving's colors should be fine.

    The complete balance should be cleaned, just as any other part...some very experienced workers leave the balance in the watch during cleaning--I do not do this, but the more I think on it, the more I'm liking it...pivots and hairsprings are delicate, and cleaning the balance in situ, certainly affords maximum protection...yes?!

    I use "One Dip" on balances only after I've had to work on them, after cleaning, and before assembly...in other words, if I've had to manipulate timing screws or the hairspring, I use "One Dip" to remove any residual oil or other material that might have been deposited...rusty hairsprings are a no-no!

    Good luck with your watches...go slowly, think carefully, keep your screwdrivers in shape, and never tighten anything until you're SURE it's OK...if I had $5.00 USA for every plate jewel I've seen ruined by a train pivot being forced against it, by prematurely tightening a plate screw, I'd be driving a Mercedes ( well, almost...!). Michael.
    Last edited by Michael Maddan; 1 Day Ago at 11:07.
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  3. #3
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    Re: L&R cleaning solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Maddan View Post
    Hello! I use L&R, and think all their products are excellent. I hope you will discover the odors tolerable...folks have been using L&R for decades, and I have not heard anyone report unacceptable results...of course, your senses are unique!

    The pallet fork will be fine in these solutions...they are formulated for watches, and are very thorough and 'kind' to all the pieces!

    I suggest checking with the company to see what they recommend @ times in jars...I reckon that different users will give you different times.

    As for additional steps: I almost always 'peg out' the train jewels / bushings...a piece of peg wood, brought to a chisel-end, works just fine. Do take a very close look at any cap jewels...it's not all that uncommon to discover a film of oil that the solution did not remove...the peg wood will do it.

    Do understand that cleaning solutions sometimes will loosen / remove the colorings ( lacquers?) from engravings on the plates...in my experience--to mention just two examples-- USA-made Hamiltons are almost never affected, while Keystone Howards seem awfully delicate. To my mind, unless the watch was cleaned years ago with an inappropriate solution, the engraving's colors should be fine.

    The complete balance should be cleaned, just as any other part...some very experienced workers leave the balance in the watch during cleaning--I do not do this, but the more I think on it, the more I'm liking it...pivots and hairsprings are delicate, and cleaning the balance in situ, certainly affords maximum protection...yes?!

    I use "One Dip" on balances only after I've had to work on them, after cleaning, and before assembly...in other words, if I've had to manipulate timing screws or the hairspring, I use "One Dip" to remove any residual oil or other material that might have been deposited...rusty hairsprings are a no-no!

    Good luck with your watches...go slowly, think carefully, keep your screwdrivers in shape, and never tighten anything until you're SURE it's OK...if I had $5.00 USA for every plate jewel I've seen ruined by a train pivot being forced against it, by prematurely tightening a plate screw, I'd be driving a Mercedes ( well, almost...!). Michael.
    If I leave the balance installed in the otherwise-stripped movement during cleaning in the machine, should I remove the balance jewel and cap or leave them in place?



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  4. #4
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    Re: L&R cleaning solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Maddan View Post
    H
    As for additional steps: I almost always 'peg out' the train jewels / bushings...a piece of peg wood, brought to a chisel-end, works just fine. Do take a very close look at any cap jewels...it's not all that uncommon to discover a film of oil that the solution did not remove...the peg wood will do it.
    Because almost all the watches I do haven't been serviced in decades, I ALWAYS found film on the cap jewels after cleaning. I started pegging the jewels BEFORE running the disassembled movement through the cleaner. They come out glistening! And I don't have any pegwood crumbs to clean up.

    I thought the old wrist watches were bad, till I started picking up pre-1875 Elgin keywinds. Yeesh!
    pilotingpete likes this.
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  5. #5
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    Re: L&R cleaning solution

    Quote Originally Posted by pilotingpete View Post
    If I leave the balance installed in the otherwise-stripped movement during cleaning in the machine, should I remove the balance jewel and cap or leave them in place?
    I follow technique described in this video and it works well for me.
    I remove balance jewels.
    Last edited by YuriyV; 4 Hours Ago at 15:53.
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    Vintage Zodiac addict.

  6. #6
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    Re: L&R cleaning solution

    Always remove balance jewels and any other cap jewels. Watches with Incabloc or Kif protection leave the balance attached to the cock and replace on mainplate during cleaning. Non-shock watches remove balance from cock for cleaning.

    Peg your jewels (recut the pegwood for each jewel) and plunge pinions in pithwood. It takes little time but saves a lot of frustration later. Check the winding system parts and interior of barrel for remaining dried caked oil/grease post-cleaning, especially auto barrels will often have some junk left around the interior wall. Ideally preclean these stubborn parts with a brush and solvent or watch cleaner prior to machine cleaning.
    pilotingpete likes this.

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