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 Post subject: mainspring grease
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:36 am 
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VV-IV
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:50 pm
Posts: 37
I have been doing a bit of reading regarding mainspring grease. it seems the consensus here is to use some sort of lithium/moly grease, or if you are a traditionalist, Vaseline mixed with flake graphite.

The main thing we want the grease for is to protect against rust and keep the spring from sticking to itself and the sides of the barrel, correct?

The clock repair people that I have read all recommend using heavy gear oil which they wipe on the spring, or drip over it when it is in the barrel. They then recommend winding and unwinding the spring a few times in order to work excess oil off of the spring. A lot of the clock people recommend this slick 50 brand "one lube" that comes in a spray can. the "one lube" is supposed to be high in teflon, which they say embeds itself in the metal a bit and keeps the spring slick even without using much lube. I was wondering if it would be smart to just use a teflon/PTFE spray on its own in order to keep dust and grime from sticking to the grease and making an abrasive paste. or how about silicone spray?

Are the springs in our phonograph motors that much more powerful than in a clock that we would need heavier duty lube for them? I know one difference between some clock mechanisms and the phonograph motors is that the clock mechanism occasionally have springs that are open and not in a barrel, which would make them more prone to picking up dirt and grime than a spring inside a closed barrel. But they seem to go for heavy oil or the slick 50 spray even when the spring is in a barrel. some have even recommended using ATF fluid because it is super slick.

any thoughts, suggestions on this topic would be appreciated.

thanks,
jon


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 Post subject: Re: mainspring grease
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:12 am 
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VV-IV
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:50 pm
Posts: 37
forgot to note that the clock people noted longer run times with more advanced lubricants than the traditional mainspring greases/oils that they would use. not sure if this would be the case with phongraph motors, but I imagine if too much space inside the spring barrel is taken up with grease that it would interfere with the spring unwinding properly. again, I'm not sure about how these mechanisms differ in terms of the strength and length of the springs used. I have only had the spring out on my brunswick parisian portable, but have read a bit on this forum about some of the more powerful, two, three, and even four spring models. I have also seen some pretty hefty looking clock springs, some as powerful or more than on my parisian/polly portable.

-jon


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 Post subject: Re: mainspring grease
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:17 am 
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VV-XIII
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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:42 am
Posts: 1911
Location: Western Canada
You may wish to check the "Tips, Tricks & Technical info" of this forum. There you will find several past discussions on this issue that you may find useful. Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: mainspring grease
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:21 am 
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VV-XIV
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:21 pm
Posts: 2502
Right or wrong?? my theory on this is than a phonograph motor does in 3 minutes, what a clock does in a week or month.
Aclock & phonograph spring are no different really. In fact I've heard of clock repairmen using clock springs to repair phonographs, provided the springs are the same dimensions.
But in a clock, the spring unwinds very slowly, giving the oil time to move along the surface of the spring as it's needed.
A phonograph spring on the other hand unwinds very rapidly, and while the friction of the coils may be equal in both mechanisms, the friction is far more frequent with a phono spring, so something a little more substantial in needed to keep the spring lubricated properly.

I'm certainly no scientist, so this "theory" of mine could be completely off base, but that's pretty much how I see it.
I also tend to think that oil on clock springs was use for a couple hundred years before the phonograph came along, so oiling springs was the norm, yet phono manufacturers chose to use grease in their barrels, so I'm pretty sure they had a legitimate reason to do so.

Personally, I only know of 2 motors that use oil for a lubricant where the spring/s are enclosed in a barrel, and those are the HMV No.52, and Garrard Super motor, and they are commonly called "oil-bath motors".
I've never actually pulled down an HMV No.52 to see exactly how it works, but I believe it was based on the "Garrard Super Motor" design.
I do have a Garrard Super motor, and it has a fully enclosed case containing all the usual bits & pieces including spring barrels, but it also has a filler cap, a sump, and a series of internal tubes & channels that carry oil to all the bearings.
The spring barrel actually sits in a pool of oil & it seeps in via the centre arbor hole, keeping the bottom spring constantly lubricated. The top spring is also lubricated through the top hole in the barrel, but each time you wind up the motor, a piston is activated which pumps oil from the sump to all the bearings, so the oil essentually runs down from the top of the arbor bearing & into the barrel, to ensure the top spring is freshly lubricated every time you wind the machine.
I would imagine the HMV 52 lubricates the springs in much the same way, except this motor doesn't automatically feed oil around the motor. Instead they have a knob located beside the turntable, and you pull the piston up & down by hand to operate the oil pump.
The only other phono springs I'm aware of that use oil instead of grease, are those with springs not enclosed in a barrel.


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 Post subject: Re: mainspring grease
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:15 am 
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VV-IX
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Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:42 pm
Posts: 176
Location: Doylestown, PA
Hi Jon,

I personally use white lithium grease in my spring barrels. It seems to do the job. I purchase the grease from Home Depot. Here is a link: http://www.homedepot.com/buy/tools-hardware-hardware-fasteners-lubricants-grease-funnels/lucas-oil-8-oz-white-lithium-grease-198915.html

Regards,
Kevin
The purchase of a Genuine Victrola closes the Avenue of Future Regret.

- ANNOUNCEMENT The Victrola Shortage Today (New Castle News, Friday, December, 20, 1918)


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 Post subject: Re: mainspring grease
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:25 pm 
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VV-IV
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:50 pm
Posts: 37
gramophoneshane wrote:
Right or wrong?? my theory on this is than a phonograph motor does in 3 minutes, what a clock does in a week or month.


this I could see, but is the spring unwinding that fast really? I doubt it would just sling oil off of it.

I found some lithium grease with teflon in a spray can. going to try that out and see what happens. also purchased a bunch of other lube products just to see how they behave. was thinking of putting some on a vertical surface and seeing how long it stays, and whether they start to get tacky, etc. I have yet to find a grease, even some expensive mobil synthetic motor grease that didn't start to separate in storage and ooze oil and "dry out"

being a traditionalist and doing things the old way is fun and interesting, but with some stuff, it just makes sense to use modern compounds. lubes of all sorts, rubber-like compounds, etc. all most all of the traditional ones have been replaced with vastly superior products that have superior wear and corrosion resistance, oxidation resistance, etc. I can't see putting vaseline and graphite on a piece of machinery, unless it would be because I really couldn't get my hands on anything else.


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 Post subject: Re: mainspring grease
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:47 am 
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VV-XII
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Victor Model Z, American Walnut VV-XVI, VV-4-3, Edison Standard
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:30 am
Posts: 1279
I use lithium moly blend from the Pep Boys auto store. In my opinion its ideal for
mainsprings.


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 Post subject: Re: mainspring grease
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:51 am 
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VV-XI
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Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:09 pm
Posts: 898
In my experience, if the coils of the mainspring are not lubed with a thick enough film, the spring will thump and rumble as the adjacent sliding coils momentarily catch hold of each other and then turn loose. I have had a strong bump send the reproducer skittering across the record. It is the same idea as earthquakes being caused once plates of rock sliding past each other are released.

I bought a Pathé machine whose spring was apparently lubed with WD-40 and that certainly was no good. Besides constant thumping, the motor's power was inconsistant. I tried thinning white lithium grease with 30 weight motor oil until I got a nice creamy consistancy. No good. I finally settled on using black moly-lithium grease undiluted. Ah, silence!

Some of the old spring stock was not made as uniformly flat and smooth as you might expect. Half of the blueing on that Pathé spring was rubbed off, indicating high and low spots which would cause drag. A thick grease film smoothed it out.

I've had no problem overpacking spring cases with grease. I want that grease to constantly squish back and forth between the coils so that the thick film does not wear down. I go so far as to plug any holes in the spring case to retain the grease.


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 Post subject: Re: mainspring grease
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:32 am 
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VV-IV
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:50 pm
Posts: 37
I ended up using a spray lithium grease... we'll see if it works out. it is in now. if it doesn't work out I will definitely go back to the heavy stuff. I bought a selection of lube products at the auto parts store last week, the mobil 1 synthetic grease is probably going to be what I stick with in the end. maybe some kind of moly grease since the Moly actually embeds in the rough spots of the metal and smooths things out a fair bit.

thanks for the replies, opinions, experience, etc. it's nice to to totally re-invent the wheel everytime I do something new.


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 Post subject: Re: mainspring grease
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:17 pm 
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VV-XII
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:01 pm
Posts: 1236
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Spray lithium is what I would have used, too. Let us know how it works for you.


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