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Other Vintage Household Electrical or Electromechanical Items For discussions about other vintage (over 25 years old) electrical and electromechanical household items. See the sticky thread for details.

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Old 5th Jun 2019, 11:48 am   #1
An Balores
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Default Lubricating Smiths Sectric Clock Type 1

Hi,
I have an old art deco Smiths Sectric clock with a Type 1 movement. I want to know what lubricant to use for the rotor arbor which sits in a cupped bush at either end - is it grease or oil? And also, what lubricant for the fibre gear.
Many thanks,
Peter
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Old 5th Jun 2019, 2:43 pm   #2
Mike Phelan
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Default Re: Lubricating Smiths Sectric Clock Type 1

Hi Peter,

The rotor is lubricated with thin oil from the sintered bronze bearings, which were heated when new, as was the oil.

To avoid all this, any thin oil like 3-in-1 (not clock oil) will be OK.

The fibre gear - thin grease or thick oil.
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 10:05 am   #3
An Balores
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Default Re: Lubricating Smiths Sectric Clock Type 1

Thanks Mike. So I intend to use 3-in-1 for the rotor bearings, 20/50 engine oil for the teeth of the fibre gear and clock oil for the rest of the train... does that sound about right?
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 3:43 pm   #4
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Default Re: Lubricating Smiths Sectric Clock Type 1

Hi Peter,

That should be fine. You only need a tiny touch on the pivots and nothing elsewhere.
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 4:07 pm   #5
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Lubricating Smiths Sectric Clock Type 1

The mechanisms in these are very robust and will survive lubrication with almost anything. It's not like servicing a mechanical clock.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 12:42 pm   #6
An Balores
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Default Re: Lubricating Smiths Sectric Clock Type 1

Thank you both. I shall get on with this next week sometime when I get the chance but feel more confident now about what to actually do
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 1:24 pm   #7
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Default Re: Lubricating Smiths Sectric Clock Type 1

I'm quite shocked by the suggestion of using 3-in-1 oil instead of clock oil.

For many years I used to use 3-in-1 oil for many things until I learned that the other two additives were likely to be one to make it spread everywhere and the other to act as a protective layer. I understood that the 'oil' part of 3-in-1 tended to dry up, particularly in a warm clock motor, leaving the protective layer part as a gummy substance spread over everything, so since then I've always kept the 3-in-1 for just the door locks and hinges etc.

I've actually got a Smiths Sectric clock up in the loft that I intend to put back into use, and although it actually works perfectly, was going to give it some lubrication using ordinary clock oil, but having seen this thread I'm wondering if I should perhaps go back to using the old 3-in-1 instead. I'm wondering if 3-in-1 has been recommended due to it spreading better for impregnating the pivot bearings in a better way than ordinary clock oil would do?
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 1:33 pm   #8
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Default Re: Lubricating Smiths Sectric Clock Type 1

There are all sorts of urban myths surrounding proprietary oil formulations. The fact is that all lubricating oils are volatile to some extent and will evaporate, which is why periodic relubrication is necessary. 3-in-1 does have penetrating qualities and isn't ideal for clocks, but there are unlikely to be problems with a Smiths Sectric mechanism.
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Old 8th Jun 2019, 9:27 am   #9
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Default Re: Lubricating Smiths Sectric Clock Type 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Techman View Post
I'm quite shocked by the suggestion of using 3-in-1 oil instead of clock oil.
My reference to 3-in-1 was only for the sintered bronze bearings in the rotor, where it needs to 'creep.'

Proper clock oil is formulated to do quite the opposite - it needs to stay put!

Paul's comment is quite correct - an electric clock train needs no force to drive it, as opposed to a spring or weight driven clock where the train has a considerable force applied to it.
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 9:21 am   #10
An Balores
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Default Re: Lubricating Smiths Sectric Clock Type 1

I found time to attend to this at the weekend and... success! It works again! So pleased as I have had this clock for over 30 years and it always worked until a few months ago, when it stopped in the middle of the night and would not re-start. The remains of the old oil looked more like earwax!
Anyway, thanks once again - and here is a picture, in case anyone is interested.
Peter
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