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Author Topic: oil for gears?  (Read 1481 times)
Zeppelin Overlord
United Kingdom United Kingdom

The Green Dungeon Alchemist

« on: October 06, 2009, 11:52:51 pm »

What kind of oil should one use to lubricate one's gears? Said gears being in a clock mechanism, they are made of brass and steel, what oil for the mainspring too? Do loop end and barrel kinds of mainspring require different oils?
My recent forays into clockwork have been more than successful so there will be many more and the clockwork to come will require smooth operation unlike my first ramshackle little devices Smiley

Green Dungeon Alchemist Laboratories
Providing weird sound contraptions and time machines since 2064.
Steam Theologian
Zeppelin Overlord
Canada Canada

« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2009, 12:11:44 am »

Different oils for different purposes..
Now, I'm more a watch guy than a clock, but most of the supply catalogs I have recommend:

Novastar "R" - Pallet stones, Balance staffs and escapment wheels..
Novastar "L" - most other clock wheels
Novastar "H" - hi-viscosity - can be used as needed like the "R"
Novastar Winding Grease for mainspring and barrles -

There is also NYE Clock Oill.

Moebius 8030,8031 and 8040 clock oils are also listed, as well as Mobius Classical Grease for barrells and mainsprings..


You never know what lonesome is , 'til you get to herdin' cows.
Zeppelin Overlord
United Kingdom United Kingdom

The Green Dungeon Alchemist

« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2009, 12:24:46 am »

Thankyou very much Harold Smiley I don't know where we'd all be without your vast knowledge of steam and ticking things Grin
Zeppelin Captain
United States United States

« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2009, 02:20:53 pm »

Discussing of what oils to use among clock repairers is akin to discussing religion and politics.  Passions run surprisingly deep.

It kind of breaks into 2 camps:
  • 1.  The traditionalists.  They feel you should use specific products because that's what has always been used and is therefore correct.  Like many traditionalists they tend to use an arbitrary definition of "what has always been used".  I've never heard one suggest we should use duck fat even though that's what the French used to use on mainsprings.  BTW, 150 year old duck fat is not pleasant to smell.  Traditionalists tend to feel that people using modern oils are just not doing it right.

  • 2. The modernists.  These people feel that advances in chemical science have given us better lubricants than our forebearers could dream of.  They argue that if the previously mentioned French clockmakers had access to synthetic oils they would have used them.  They also tend to feel the traditionalists are just being snobby.
The products Harold mentioned are perfect, and others can be found at  If you would prefer to go the modernist route 3-in-1 or sewing machine oil work well on the pivots and there is a synthetic oil that many repair people claim great success with on both hole end and loop end mainsprings in the automotive repair store sold under the name Slick 50. 
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