View Full Version : Cleaning old shutters?

Robbie Bedell
19-Mar-2010, 15:27
I have read on a number of posts that people clean old shutters by soaking them in washes of lighter fluid. My old Volute shutter is all over the map. Is this something I can attempt to save money and fix myself by washes of Ronsonal or something similar or would I just be destroying it? I could send it to Flutot's, but as I said, I would for now like to save a buck. I would love to hear from the experts!

Peter K
19-Mar-2010, 15:55
What would you do with your grandfather's pocket watch? Soaking in lighter fluid or look for a watchmaker for a CLA? Because also a clock needs lubricant too.

Ernest Purdum
19-Mar-2010, 20:46
Erratic action on a Volute may be due to a dirty retard piston. You're pretty safe cleaning it. Don't use any lubricant on it. I do think Carol at Flutot's is a better idea still.

Nathan Smith
20-Mar-2010, 07:29
You have to be careful with the lighter fluid method, or even soaking the shutter in a ultrasonic bath - it's very easy to wind up redistributing the old grease over all of the shutter mechanism, including places there should be no grease. The result is often that you make little or no gain, especially if that old grease winds up in the shutter blades.

Obviously the best way to avoid that is complete disassembly, but you can do a quick cleanup using lighter fluid carefully applying it where it needs to go, working the mechanism, and dumping the fluid, making sure it doesn't spread anymore than need be.

My experience is that you can sometimes improve the action of shutter this way, but if you want it to be fixed you'll need to send to a pro like Carol.


Paul Fitzgerald
20-Mar-2010, 07:47
the Volute is an overly complex and delicate shutter so most shops don't want to service them. Soaking in naphtha is not a good idea, you will likely move the old grease to where it should not be.

As Ernest wrote, just clean the 2 air pistons and cylinders and see if that helps. Call around to see IF any shops will service this.

Good luck with it.

Robbie Bedell
20-Mar-2010, 15:50
Thank you guys. I think I will try to just do the piston. I am assuming it's the one one the right (facing th lens) as the one on the left is the air shutter release...

Robbie Bedell
20-Mar-2010, 16:17
OK, I just learned something, thanks to Ernest and Paul. It turns out that some time ago one of the two screws on the air shutter fell out and was lost. So, at that time, I 'borrowed' one of the screws from the retard piston (I confess I did not know what that was). That's when the shutter began got crazy. So I just now took the screw out of the shutter release and put it back where it came from in the hole in the retard piston, and voila, it's working again. I guess having just the one screw put unequal pressure on the piston. The slow speeds are about half what they should be (One sec. = two sec., etc.) but that's the way it always was, so perhaps it would be best at this point to just leave it well enough alone. I am back in business. Thank You guys!!!