Wd40 and my clock movement

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:40 PM GMT

Question

Hi John. I have a Howard Miller Grandfather clock that was purchased in 1981. I have removed the movement and done all my own lubing with a medical syringe and clock oil.I have used wd 40 with a plastic tube on the bushings as a cleaner. I then take a shop vac with a small suction hose (1/2 in dia.) and suck out the excess wd40 and the crud it loosens. I then relub the bushing with the clock oil.Seems to completely clean them. Is this an acceptable practice?

Answer

Jim, field cleaning and oiling as you have done is acceptable with some clockmakers, and others prefer to perform a complete breakdown. I take service calls on grandfather clocks in homes and make the decision depending on the age and condition of the movement. If your clock has not been serviced since it was purchased (29 years ago), I would think it might have some wear. I recommend a clock be serviced every 7 to 10 years, which includes cleaning, inspecting for worn parts, and replacing or repairing them, lubricating and testing. Now for the part that we do not do, and that is use WD-40 on clocks. I use WD-40 for many applications and it works very well, but not on clock movements. It sounds like you have done it the best way to remove the debris and the WD-40. However, some of it does remain and I'm not sure it is compatible with clock oils. There are many clock shops that will not take in movements that have been serviced with WD-40 for this reason. Other shops will charge additional fees for multiple cleanings to insure that all traces are removed. How can they tell? WD-40 has a distinctive odor. This is all an opinion, but it is pretty much in line with the 800+ members of my Internet Clocksmiths Group. And we do discuss the aspects of lubrication and application quite often.

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