View Full Version : Cleaning old shutters

Martin Patek-Strutsky
28-Mar-2004, 03:43
I brought several old and sticky shutters back to life without disassembling them. I simply detached them from the lens, took off the covering and gave them a firm splash with lighter fluid. Usually after this treatment the shutters worked perfect at all speeds.

However this technique has one shortfall. It seems to wash bits of dirt on to the blades and then dry out leaving them behind. Cleaning the blades with cotton buds soaked in lighter fluid or alcohol didn't work. I didn't dare to try other techniques.

Has anyone experienced the same problem and got around it?

david clark
28-Mar-2004, 09:34
Hi Martin, I think I ruined a shutter once by the very technic you describe. I think the solution for the blades was to remove them and polish them. It seems some of the success of the older shutters is knowing what to lube and what not to lube. Some of the older shutters are easier to work on than others, just by virtue of the fact they don't have as many parts. Good luck.

Martin Patek-Strutsky
28-Mar-2004, 11:16

fortunately my experience has been more successful than yours. The shutters I cleaned using the method above work perfectly. Additionaly the light dirt coating on the blades seems to have no effect on functionality. It is just that the visual impression disturbs me.

I just wonder how a pro would clean a shutter. I don't think he would completely disassemble it. Otherwise it would take hours and the price for a shutter CLA would reach the dimensions of overhauling a fine watch (300$ and up).

Alan Davenport
29-Mar-2004, 07:41
I've used the lighter fluid method with good results. There are some older shutters, I'm told, that have blades made from some kind of fiber-based material and might swell or soften in lighter fluid. Make sure your aperture has metal blades before proceeding...

Scott Walton
29-Mar-2004, 10:40
I take apart my Seiko's, compounds, and compur's but with alcohol and works great. It has just enough lube to be effective.

david clark
29-Mar-2004, 10:46
I don't know guys. It seemed to me the speed of the openning and closing of the blades was dependent on a twitching action of a ring running in a race or grove. I thought that any lube in the grove would slow the action. I know that like metals gull, and so it seemed the mechanism is based on the action of two dissimilar metals sliding against each other. And it seemed that those surfaces have to be clean of tarnish or corrosion that builds up over time, and so I thought it necessary to polish the ring and grove assembly that the blades are attached to. But then I was working on some pretty old shutters too.

george jiri loun
29-Mar-2004, 13:53
Generally considered, what is lubed, is lubed for a good reason. If you take away the lube it can work for some time but later it will need lubing. The problem is not to take away the lube with the lighter fluid but to lube the mechanism afterwards. The proposed solution is an invitation to future troubles.

Alan Davenport
29-Mar-2004, 21:50
Absent any specific factory-based advice to the contrary, I limit relubrication to the ends of the rotating shafts in the mechanism. I use the smallest screwdriver tip in my arsenal to apply micro-drops of oil to the shaft ends. So far, so good...

Ole Tjugen
29-Mar-2004, 23:22
There are specific points that should be lubricated with any one of four different lubricants. I bought a compur repair manual on eBay, so now I know at least that much... I also know how to adjust the times, and how to reasemble the shutter ;) The only shutters I'm not willing to open are Compounds. I resort to prayer to keep them running and precise. It's worked so far?

Martin Patek-Strutsky
30-Mar-2004, 02:49
Ok, but coming back to my original question: Don't you discover some dirt residues on the blades after successfully completing the shutter wash?

Is this just unavoidable or what is my mistake?

Jon King
30-Mar-2004, 09:48
I've succesfully cleaned dial-set Compurs and Compound shutters. Ole, I've found the Compund shutter simpler than the Compurs.

I first tried a simple flush, but got the same residue on the shutter blades, so I now remove the shutter blades and aperture mechanism before cleaning, and clean the blades seperately. This approach has worked well. I have not disassembled the mechanism further than that, but flushing the clockwork, and lubricating pivot points has worked for me.