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Bill_1856
15-Feb-2012, 18:38
How do I use Ronsonol to clean an old Wollensak Rapax shutter which obviously has dried lubricants? Or is there a better way (other than sending it to Flutot's)?

Leigh
15-Feb-2012, 22:02
The proper way to clean a shutter is to disassemble it, and clean the parts in a solvent in an untrasonic cleaner.

The difficulty with cleaning a shutter is that the lubricants lost in the cleaning process must be replaced.
The proper lube must be used in each location if you expect the shutter to work right.

- Leigh

E. von Hoegh
16-Feb-2012, 07:46
How do I use Ronsonol to clean an old Wollensak Rapax shutter which obviously has dried lubricants? Or is there a better way (other than sending it to Flutot's)?

You don't use Ronsonol. The best you will get is a half assed job. You will end up with a shutter that smells like a Zippo, and still doesn't work.

As noted above, either strip it, clean it properly, re-lube it as you are assembling it, or send it to someone who will.

rdenney
16-Feb-2012, 08:06
Some shutters work fine dry, but others need oil in the right spots, particularly in the slow-speed escapement, which spins fast and therefore runs at low force and is susceptible to friction effects.

I cleaned a slow-running Raptar a few months ago using lighter fluid, and it has run fine after the fluid evaporated. But if there is dirt in the wrong place, it won't work and you'll still have to take it apart.

Note that lighter fluid takes longer to evaporate than people think. It may take a couple of days before the shutter will assume its long-term status of either working or not working.

Rick "for whom the no-disassembly lighter-fluid cleaning has not worked well for Compur and some Ilex shutters" Denney

Ivan J. Eberle
16-Feb-2012, 14:24
Most of the Rapax shutters are 60 years+ old, so old that you may find the grease is saponified (more soap left than grease). First attempts with Naptha didn't quite cut it with one of my Raptars. A good CRC soak to re-emulsify the grease/soap can help prior to Naptha/Ronsonol bath, I discovered. Rapaxi don't seem to mind being run dry. But they do fare poorly with excess lube, and or dried grease or rust on shutter blades.

goamules
16-Feb-2012, 17:38
Lighter fluid works great for cleaning out the jammed, old grease. I flush it around inside until no more dirt comes out, then relube any metal on metal moving parts. There were no ultrasonic cleaners back in the 20s-60s when these shutters were made and adjusted every few years. There are a couple of books out there that show the lube points.

Since there are tens of thousands of shutters out there, and maybe 2 repair shops left in the US with any longterm experience, you are going to do as good a job as the average "repair shop." I took my 1915 Protar to the local, longterm camera shop to get the iris unjammed. He did so, then coated the inside with some gunky, messy lube. The entire iris is coated with the stuff. And he took a power tool to the outside, buffing off the lacquer to "make it look better." I'd say give it a careful try, you'll be more careful with your own lens.

Leigh
16-Feb-2012, 17:42
There were no ultrasonic cleaners back in the 20s-60s when these shutters were made and adjusted every few years.
In the 20's-60's there were technicians who knew what they were doing.

There are few left now, as is obvious from this thread.

Ultrasonic cleaners were invented c. 1950.

- Leigh

Bill_1856
16-Feb-2012, 18:34
Most of the Rapax shutters are 60 years+ old, so old that you may find the grease is saponified (more soap left than grease). First attempts with Naptha didn't quite cut it with one of my Raptars. A good CRC soak to re-emulsify the grease/soap can help prior to Naptha/Ronsonol bath, I discovered. Rapaxi don't seem to mind being run dry. But they do fare poorly with excess lube, and or dried grease or rust on shutter blades.

What is a CRC soak?

premortho
28-Mar-2012, 16:50
I just cleaned up my Raptar with ether that has a trace of oil in it. That was 10 days ago, and it is working fine. Mine has an external syncronizer so it's from the late forties. I was kind of surprised that a shutter almost 70 years old responded so well. The ether I used is also called engine starting fluid. It doesn't take much of this stuff to get the job done, so a light touch is reccomended.

Old-N-Feeble
28-Mar-2012, 17:02
Be VERY careful with engine starting fluids. Most will MELT plastic parts and destroy paint. Other than that... spray away.

jfdupuis
30-Mar-2012, 12:11
Since I was cleaning the shutter of an old Yashica 44 yesterday, I thought that illustrating this thread with a picture would be nice.

My method is to soak in pure methanol in an ultrasonic cleaner. Then lubricate with watch oil. I would not use any petroleum based cleaning agent as when then dry, they get sticky.
71088 71089

E. von Hoegh
30-Mar-2012, 13:01
The other problem with petroleum solvents is that most of them leave a residue which causes the oil to creep away from where it belongs. You can economise by using naphtha to get rid of the filth, followed by an ultrasonic rinse in something that leaves no residue. You can even use a water/soft soap solution, followed by a distilled water rinse, as long as you dry the parts immediately in, say, methanol. :)

Old-N-Feeble
30-Mar-2012, 13:05
While we're discussing alcohol... not that it makes much difference if blown out and dried quickly... but butyl alcohol is less corrosive to metals. Good luck finding it though. :)

Ivan J. Eberle
30-Mar-2012, 13:48
There's the old bromide that "Like dissolves like". Early dino grease that's stiff because the emulsion of petroleum and soap is now just soap and crud most likely isn't going to easily be dissolved in alcohol or lighter fluid. This is where all the advice to disassemble comes from. I really would recommend not soaking the Rapax in H2O because the blued steel shutter blades will rust and then hang on each other.

Leigh
30-Mar-2012, 18:31
Since I was cleaning the shutter of an old Yashica 44 yesterday, I thought that illustrating this thread with a picture would be nice.
That looks good.

One point re the ultrasonic cleaner that may not be obvious in the photo...
You should never allow anything to contact the bottom of the stainless steel tank while the cleaner is in use.
Doing so can cause the item to abrade a hole in the bottom of the tank since that's where the transducer is.

The object being cleaned should be suspended in a container of some sort. It can be porous or not; doesn't matter.

- Leigh

Drew Bedo
30-Mar-2012, 18:34
How is cleaning a 70 year old shutter different from cleaning a 70 year old pocket watch?

Leigh
30-Mar-2012, 18:43
Pocket watches don't have shutter blades and diaphragm blades.

These can be very delicate, prone to rust and contamination.

- Leigh

E. von Hoegh
31-Mar-2012, 07:11
Pocket watches don't have shutter blades and diaphragm blades.

These can be very delicate, prone to rust and contamination.

- Leigh

Pocket watches do have a balance spring, which is far more delicate than any part in any shutter. Not to mention that a fine pocket watch can have balance staff pivots as small as .0025", has pallet stones held in with shellac that will be dissolved by alcohol, has a mainspring which requires specialised tools and tecniques to remove and reinstall, has certain delicate parts (balance and balance spring) that can be damaged by ultrasonic cleaning, and is generally of a much finer class of construction than any shutter. It would use less space to list the similarities between a watch and a shutter. Also, one can cannibalise other shutters for replacement parts. With a few exceptions, this cannot be done with a fine watch.

Leigh
31-Mar-2012, 07:56
Emil,

This thread is about cleaning shutters, not about cleaning watches.

- Leigh

E. von Hoegh
31-Mar-2012, 07:59
Emil,

This thread is about cleaning shutters, not about cleaning watches.

- Leigh

So I can't answer a question about silmilarities between a watch and a shutter? They are probably the only fine and small machanisms most people will ever come in contact with. (winking smiley)

Leigh
31-Mar-2012, 08:05
Hi Emil,

I'm sorry. I thought your response was directed at me.

If you were answering Drew's question in post #16 you should have quoted it rather than mine.

- Leigh

E. von Hoegh
31-Mar-2012, 08:12
Hi Emil,

I'm sorry. I thought your response was directed at me.

If you were answering Drew's question in post #16 you should have quoted it rather than mine.

- Leigh

Well, I was elaborating on your response. The reply was directed at Drew. No worries. (smiling smiley)

Drew Bedo
1-Apr-2012, 13:02
Leigh: I know the difference between a shutter and a watch . . The question I have is how is cleaning them different? I have had watches serviced and there is no nystery to it. The movement is removed from the case and dunked in a solvent bath in a basket that is physically twirled. The movement is tremoved from the solvent whuich evaporates and the movement is selectivly lubricated. Watch lubes used to be whale oil based. Today it seems that synthetic motor oil (Multi viscosity) is used by many watchmakers.

Why can't this work for shutters?

Leigh
1-Apr-2012, 13:15
Why can't this work for shutters?
Who said it wouldn't????

- Leigh

Drew Bedo
1-Apr-2012, 13:20
Emil: Oopsódidn't read all ofr the thread before posting to Leigh. As I said, I understand and appreciate the differences between a Copal #0 and a railroad grade Hamilton. I cherish an heirloom pre-war IWC.

It just seems that while cleaning a watch is a known and understood practice, there is a lot of old wive's tails and by-guess-and-by-gosh when it comes to leaf shutters. My guess is that much of the technique, tools and solvents in watch cleaning could apply directly to mechanical shutters. Am I wrong?

Leigh
1-Apr-2012, 13:29
My guess is that much of the technique, tools and solvents in watch cleaning could apply directly to mechanical shutters.
Am I wrong?
Hi Drew,

Not wrong at all. In fact most of the tools used for shutter work actually come from the watchmaking craft.

The difference seems to lie with the inclination of many shutter owners to think they can do it themselves.

Watch owners don't feel that way, particularly owners of fine pocket watches like your Hamilton. :D

Suggestions of "Pour the shutter full of ______ and let it dry. It'll work fine." abound.

The unfortunate reality is that yes, it will work fine, for perhaps a few months, before becoming erratic.

By that time the original online conversation is long forgotten and the participants dispersed.
Add to this the fact that the original poster doesn't want to admit that he made a mistake, and
you're left with an invalid recommendation that is perpetuated forever.

The key point of your earlier post, and the point that's lacking in the DIY scenario, is:
"...the movement is selectively lubricated"

The DIY aficionados don't have the correct lubricants, nor knowledge of their proper application.

- Leigh

Fotch
1-Apr-2012, 14:16
Leigh: I know the difference between a shutter and a watch . . The question I have is how is cleaning them different? I have had watches serviced and there is no nystery to it. The movement is removed from the case and dunked in a solvent bath in a basket that is physically twirled. The movement is tremoved from the solvent whuich evaporates and the movement is selectivly lubricated. Watch lubes used to be whale oil based. Today it seems that synthetic motor oil (Multi viscosity) is used by many watchmakers.

Why can't this work for shutters?

Like taking a shower while fully dressed, shoes an all, you cannot properly clean and service a watch or clock without taking it apart. Nor can you inspect for worn or broke parts if the item is fully assembled. Using a Ultrasonic on a fully assembled watch or clock included. I would think a camera shutter is no different. The ultrasonic can be used on certain but not all individual parts, after it is take apart.

Leigh
1-Apr-2012, 14:19
The ultrasonic can be used on certain but not all individual parts, after it is take apart.
Correct.

- Leigh

Drew Bedo
1-Apr-2012, 15:53
Leigh and Emil: Thanks for the clarifications without drama. I have dabbled in the watch world and was a member of the watch and clock collectors for a few years (in the last decade of the previous century. ) Decided to narrow my interest to photography— LF at that. What the take-home from the watch-world was a deep appreciation for these fine mechanicals and the special people who are qualified to service them.

I do not have a Hamilton 992. The watch that has come to me is an International Watch Company pocket watch (specifics escape me just now) that belonged to my grandfather in eastern Europe before WW-II. It somehow survived persecution in the ‘30s, the war itself, communist subjugation and a revolution. It is stored in a safe place and gets serviced every 5 yrs or so by a watch maker.

My shutters are serviced by a qualified man of experience at Professional Camera Repair here here in Houston Texas.

Leigh
1-Apr-2012, 16:18
Hi Drew,

Sorry I misunderstood your original question. Didn't mean to get off on a tangent.

Interestingly enough when I first got interested in camera repair, I studied watch repair so I would understand how
the escapements and timing mechanisms worked. I repaired a few junkers just to get familiar with the process.

Sounds like the IWC is a valued piece of family history, as well as being a nice watch unto itself.

I've heard lots of good things about Professional Camera Repair in Houston, although I've not used them myself.

I used to do commercial camera repair, many years ago. Now I only service my own equipment.

Good luck with the effort. :D

- Leigh

Drew Bedo
1-Apr-2012, 18:26
The Texas Photographic collectors Association meets at Professional Repair. A group of older and younger folks who drink coffee and talk about photographica. Some of us actually take pictures! There is a formal meeting once a month, usually the 2nd Saturday at 10Am ending at noon. However, most saturdays sees an informak coffee clatch in the front loby area starting about 9AM. If you are in town please drop by.

The program for April is a swap-meet. Detailes were posted in the Announcements forum here. All are welcome!

Leigh
1-Apr-2012, 18:39
Thanks for the invite. I'll take you up on it if I'm in Houston. :D

- Leigh

E. von Hoegh
2-Apr-2012, 06:50
Leigh: I know the difference between a shutter and a watch . . The question I have is how is cleaning them different? I have had watches serviced and there is no nystery to it. The movement is removed from the case and dunked in a solvent bath in a basket that is physically twirled. The movement is tremoved from the solvent whuich evaporates and the movement is selectivly lubricated. Watch lubes used to be whale oil based. Today it seems that synthetic motor oil (Multi viscosity) is used by many watchmakers.

Why can't this work for shutters?

The "watchmaker" you bring your watches to is a butcher. A watch must be completely disassembled, each part cleaned and inspected, and lubricated with at least two types of lubricant as it is reassembled. Synthetic motor oil?? Please.

E. von Hoegh
2-Apr-2012, 06:51
Emil: Oopsódidn't read all ofr the thread before posting to Leigh. As I said, I understand and appreciate the differences between a Copal #0 and a railroad grade Hamilton. I cherish an heirloom pre-war IWC.

It just seems that while cleaning a watch is a known and understood practice, there is a lot of old wive's tails and by-guess-and-by-gosh when it comes to leaf shutters. My guess is that much of the technique, tools and solvents in watch cleaning could apply directly to mechanical shutters. Am I wrong?

Lots of "old wive's tales" regarding watches, too.

BrianShaw
2-Apr-2012, 07:34
Synthetic motor oil?? Please.

I've heard of Mobil 1 being used to lubricate clock mainsprings, but nothing finer than that!

E. von Hoegh
2-Apr-2012, 07:38
I've heard of Mobil 1 being used to lubricate clock mainsprings, but nothing finer than that!

A friend bought a 1988 GMC pickemup truck, new. He used Mobil 1 for 375,000 miles. Great motor oil. Lousy choice for watches. You'd be better off lubricating the watch with olive oil, at least that stays put.