My reason for posting was driven by a decision to maybe clean and then oil my grandfather clock.
I built (wood work only, clock mechanism came completely assembled) an Emperor grandfather clock kit in about 1978. It has a moon dial, Westminster chimes. The clock works is in an open metal frame which is mounted inside a wooden case with glass doors and closed back. The bottom of the works "box" is open for the bell pull chains and the pendulum to hang through. So, the works is protected from the falling dust we see settling on the surfaces of tables, but the works are not immune from airborne (flying) dust.
The clock saw regular 24/7 use for about the first 8 years of its life. Then it saw only intermittent use since as we moved to a smaller house and the clock is in the living room, which we use (no family room). I'd estimate it has been used (keeping time) no more than 1 year in the past 20 years. This use has been for a few days or a couple of weeks at a time. I'd start it just to get the works going, to clean some of the dust off the stationary wheels and gears. A number of years ago it wouldn't run more than an hour or so and I opened the clock and put a drop or two of light oil (I think WD40, a "no-no") and the clock ran fine.
About a month ago I decided to start it up again. It wouldn't run more than about one minute before "grinding" to a halt.
I decided to open again and try to clean lightly clean it and put some proper oil in key wear locations. I was surprised to read, web on in a book I checked out of our library, that an ammonia/water solution is used to clean, not a petroleum/solvent type cleaner. It is also clear there are special light oils for use in clocks. Some indications are a sewing machine oil (available locally) may be used.
The first step is to blow dust out of the works.
I used my shop air pump to blow the works out, which I have not removed from the GF case. Then, not yet having any clock-oil I decided to take at tooth pick and put a drop of full synthetic 5W motor oil on the main shaft. I then gave the pendulum a start swing. The clock has been running for about 24 hours now and keeping very good time.
I have the Westminster chime bars removed, to gain better access to the works. I may leave them out, or put a piece of duct tape across them to make the clock silent or very quiet on its announcement of time marks. I don't like to see the clock just sitting in the corner of the living room, dead to the world. Being an old guy, the musical piece: "stopped short, never to run again, when the old, man, died..." comes sadly to mind when I look at it stopped short in the corner:crybaby:
So, this isn't a how to, more an interest in what other DYI'ers may do to keep old fashioned mechanical clocks going. I have no interest in trying to fix a pocket watch, or any electric devices, just the old stuff.
I may order a small bottle of full synthetic clock oil. It is advertised to not dry out like traditional oils (varnish up) and in fact clean out old oil residue. I may have put some trouble goop in with the engine oil I used, but for now the clock is running great. I don't see why oil detergents would be a problem...what else is in engine oil that could be a problem? Being full synthetic may provide some versatility offered by traditional engine oils.
If something doesn't read, sorry for the typos. We have some snow this morning in New Jersey, so I'll not take time now to proof read before posting. Please feel free to ask question if you see something you'd like to understand better about what I have done.