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Author Topic: Should I coat/spray old watch parts  (Read 2624 times)
shpangle
Swab

United Kingdom United Kingdom

shpangle_
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« on: March 17, 2011, 08:53:41 pm »

Hi all,

I am new to this forum so Hi! I am a jewellery maker and have asked this question on various craft/jewellery forums that I frequent but haven't had an answer so thought I would try here!

I am looking to create some steampunk jewellery using old watch parts. The parts are nice and clean and shiny but should I coat/spray them with anything to preserve them? I want to keep them 'naked' (i.e. I don't want to embed them in resin or anything).

Secondly, I have read somewhere that there are risks of radiation from some old watch parts. If this is true, what should I be looking for?

Many thanks
Mick
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Professor Oilcan
Zeppelin Captain
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


Steam in the blood, birthday 10th March,


« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2011, 09:02:20 pm »

I would keep them natural, as for radiation the risk is from the clock hands and dials these were painted with Radium a good test to see f the dials or hands have been painted with Radium is If the intensity of the glow remains constant over a long period (several hours) in the dark, the item probably employs a radioactive source. However, the phosphors (but not the radioactivity) degrade over time. As such, the absence of a glow does not necessarily indicate that the device is not radioactive see this website that explains how todeal with such items http://www.midwestcs.com/elgin/help/luminous_dials.html

Hope this helps
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Professor G O Pivot Oilcan
Teacher of mad Steam related mayhem, mentor to a few mad scientists and owner of the Imperial Steam Powered Airship and Transportation Company.
shpangle
Swab

United Kingdom United Kingdom

shpangle_
WWW
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2011, 09:13:51 pm »

Many thanks for that and yes it helps a lot. Think I will leave the dials and hands off the things that I will be making then just to be sure.

Many thanks!

Mick
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Professor Oilcan
Zeppelin Captain
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


Steam in the blood, birthday 10th March,


« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2011, 09:22:06 pm »

Just remember that the degrading solids and fine dust left in the workings etc are just as radioactive as on the dial, its important to remember that Radium decays into Radon gas, which can spread out to leave radioactive decay products all over the watch.

A short article by Robert Free of the Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Radiation Control. Two relevant quotes are:

    Individuals manufacturing the jewelry [made from old watch parts] are exposed to dusts containing radium from buffing and brushing exposed watch faces, dials and hands. As a result, they run an increased risk of cancer from ingestion and inhalation of radioactive particles. People who repair and refurbish old watches are also at risk. In addition, contamination of the workplace is a serious problem. Decontamination can cost thousands of dollars.

Although you have to take in a fair amount of the stuff breathing in the dust lays in the lungs and can cause increased risk of lung cancer, If I was you I'd get yourself a detector if your doing this commercially and keep yourself safe.

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Professor Oilcan
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom


Steam in the blood, birthday 10th March,


« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 09:34:01 pm »

Just as a sideline here is what you can do with a few watches and a boy scout.
Don't try this at home!
http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/radscout.html
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Drew P
Zeppelin Admiral
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United States United States


« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 02:24:47 pm »

Looking at his picture...I don't think he took 5yrs off his life either!
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