Tuesday, September 5, 2017

11 Clocks Update

Some of you may be wondering what has been going on with the new acquisitions. Well, so far I have done many of the case repairs on the bulk of them, but none are completed yet. Here's a quick summary of what's done and not done on the clocks I've started to restore.

8 Day Sperry Ogee:
- Veneer repairs done
- Case corners reglued
- Dust covers stained and ready to use
- Loose label fragments reglued
- Gong screws antiqued and reinstalled
- Piece of brown paper tape on backboard darkened to match (I didn't want to remove it but I wanted to hide it)
- Additional dial holes and movement mounting block holes patched

Still to do:
- Shellac touch-ups/wax polish
- Find and fit a wood dial (or make and paint one)
- Clean and repair the movement
- Make a minute hand to match the hour hand
- Fit missing parts (weight lines, hooks, weights, bob, etc)
- Painted stenciled glass


8 Day New Haven 2 Door Ogee:
- Veneer repairs to case
- Centre bar rebuilt, veneered, and installed
- Case corners reglued/repaired
- Bottom of case flattened and stained
- Extra dial holes filled
- Pulley repair

Still to do:
- Repair the doors (reglue, square-up, veneer patches, reinstall hinges properly, etc)
- Fit dust covers
- Shellac touch-ups/wax polish
- Find/fit a correct movement, dial, weights, hands, etc
- Painted tablet


Sperry & Shaw 8 Day Column Clock:
- Case repairs
- Veneer repairs

Still to do:
- Shellac touch-ups/wax polish
- Clean and repair movement
- Fit dust covers


E. W. Adams Wooden Works:
- Case repairs (reglue/clamp several pieces)
- Veneer repairs

Still to do:
- Shellac touch-ups/wax polish
- Fit dust covers
- Find/install movement, dial, and parts (this is still largely an empty case)


Jerome & Co. Column & Cornice Clock:
- Veneer repairs

Still to do:
- Shellac finish entire case/wax polish
- Clean and repair movement
- Fit dust covers
- Painted glasses
- Fit hands


C. & L. C. Ives Triple Decker:
- Veneer repairs & case touch-ups
- Cut and fit ivory escutcheon to lower door
- Tint lower door darker
- Cut, veneer, and fit top returns and glue blocks
- Chipped column repair
- Fit hands

Still to do:
- Fit mirror or tablet in centre
- Fit dust covers
- Shellac touch-ups/wax polish
- Clean and repair movement
- Cut, fit, and install rear crest stiffener strips
- Cut and install new (old) dial glass


Wadsworth Pillar & Scroll:
- Patterns cut and prepared (top scroll, base, side returns, etc scaled on the PC from an original)
- Front damaged veneer band pieces removed (wire nails removed) and reglued

Still to do:
A lot. I only just started this one.

Cast Iron Weight Repair - Ogee Weights

Here is a quick and easy repair job I did on two ogee clock weights. I bought this mismatched pair of weights this past weekend from an antiques place (for the bargain price of 5$ for the pair). Unfortunately, both weights had their top loops broken, basically making them useless. Fortunately I was able to add loops back onto them.

There are several ways that broken loops or weight hooks can be repaired. Some methods are better than others. Some methods are ugly, but functional, while some are downright risky. I have used a few different methods to attach loops to cast iron weights in the past. I believe I've done one with a tapped and threaded hole, which was fine, but left a rather large eye bolt for the loop (which wasn't the nicest looking). I have seen weights with large loops of bailing wire wrapped around them, and also some hooks held with poor solder joints (risky) and adhesives like epoxy (which can work well if the holes are cleanly drilled (free of oils) and if the proper epoxy is used.

This new repair (which I decided to try) used a tight friction fit only. These are pretty light weights (under 4lbs).

The new loops were made from old rusty wire to match the old rusty cast iron, and these are dropped into a hole drilled into the top of the weights. The holes are about 1/8" diameter or less, and about 3/8" deep.

The loops are held firmly into the holes with the addition of a taper pin. The taper pin is chosen for a tight interference fit, and it is trimmed so that it won't be too long, and it can be driven down into the hole. The shiny end of the pin can then be darkened with gun blue.

Here are the results.

Note: The two mismatched weights were paired with two other matching weights in my spare parts. You can see one weight with an original loop, and the one with the repair.

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Here is what the new loops look like before they are installed:

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Monday, August 14, 2017

An Amazing Visit - 11 New Clocks!

I'm not even sure exactly how to start this post, or what details I should include or omit, but: long story short, my good friend Jim (from Texas), whom I've known for years now, decided that he would be driving down near-enough to me to make a detour and come visit. This trip had been mentioned numerous times over the past several months (maybe since April? I can't remember), and a bunch of planning and scheduling went into it. All I knew was that he was going to bring down a "whole bunch of stuff" for me. Jim has (in the past) mailed me several items (clock books, tools, and the occasional clock), and I've always been very excited and grateful for them. Some of the tools he's sent me, like the Swiss files, are ones I use almost every day.

Jim repairs clocks, specializes in wheel-cutting, has bought and sold many clocks. I believe he makes at least two big clock-related trips across the US every year (visiting friends, seeing other collectors, and stopping by clock shows). The most recent one was in Syracuse New York (3 hours south-east of me) on August 4th. I believe he said that on this particular trip, they covered over 4500 miles, and made numerous stops across the US (as well as myself in Canada).

Anyhow, I was pretty excited to see what Jim would bring down, but I was also told not to get my hopes up too high. I wanted it to be a surprise, so I didn't really ask him any questions. There were only 3 clocks that I knew he was bringing me, because we had discussed them before hand (the pillar and scroll, the 8 Day Jerome 2-door ogee, and the Marshall & Adams). Some of these clocks had been dropped off (donated) at his shop last summer and most of them need a whole bunch of work done on them (the kind of work I do all the time).

Jim's visit was on August 5th. He arrived with his good friend George, and I gave them the tour of the house and my collection. It was nice to spend some time with other clock collectors (I have only met a few), and also meet a friend whom I've (so far) only known over the internet.

Note: Jim was the one who made the custom mirror-clock movement for my reproduction New Hampshire mirror clock: http://jcclocks.blogspot.ca/2015/07/mirror-clock-project-part-9-finished.html

Without further ado, here are the goodies he dropped off. These next several photos were taken just after the visit, and before I really looked at the clocks and unpacked the boxes:

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Since there's so much to see (and too many photos and details to share for each of them), I've limited this post to ONE photo per clock. When I work on them as individual restoration projects, I'll share the other photos and details that go with them (labels, movements, dials, etc).

This first clock was a bit of a mystery for about a week. It has a Sperry lyre movement (fancy plate 8 day weight movement), but the case has a Forestville Manfg. Co. label. I could not find any matching Forestville clocks (with swivel hinges, and with this particular movement). After 5 days of research, I removed the gong base, and discovered that the Forestville label is an OVERPASTE on top of a Sperry & Shaw label. This made so much more sense. The current dial is beautiful, but it does not fit (hand shaft and winding squares aren't aligned). The mahogany on this clock is absolutely stunning. It has a sort of rich, buttery, smooth finish, and wonderful patina. All it needs is a few veneer patches, and a wax polish (and a dial, pendulum bob, key, dust covers, etc).

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This 8 Day ogee might be one of the worst in the lot (condition-wise), but I was actually really looking forward to working on it. I have a pretty serious love of ogee clocks, and I don't yet own a 2-door example. This one is a Chauncey Jerome 8 Day. The centre bar between the doors is missing, it needs veneer repairs to the case, and the doors are both in terrible shape, but it's all fixable. Another funny note on this clock is that the bottom board is so rounded that the case rocks back and forth like a rocking chair (see paper wedges in the photo). This is definitely not something you want on an already fairly tipsy weight driven clock.

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This is a petty rare Wadsworth, Lounsbury & Turners pillar and scroll clock. I've wanted a pillar and scroll clock for probably over 10 years now, and I came close a few times to buying one in similar condition for a few hundred dollars. This one looks like it's in pretty rough shape, but it should clean-up fairly well, and I might even be able to save some of the original finish on it. It will obviously need an entirely new top and base, several minor case repairs, and some sensitive refinishing. I don't plan to do anything with the tablet. It's obviously damaged, but you can still see what it's supposed to be, and it *is* almost 200 years old by this point (1820s). The dial, sadly, doesn't fit the movement, however, I have a 95% flaked-off dial plate in my spare parts that does fit, and I may try to do a repaint on it. The spare dial that I have can always be swapped out later.

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Also fairly rare is this transitional wooden works clock by Elisha Hotchkiss. It has a lovely original tablet, original finish, and a nice label. The unfortunate back story on this one is that the entire backboard was marked-up with pencil lines and drilled full of holes (15 holes!) The original dial was also completely butchered and thrown away. The entire dial centre (with all the numerals) had been cut away. All of this for fitting this clock with a kitchen clock movement. This doesn't really affect the case too much, but it will always be permanently scarred with all the holes (even if I fill them). Fortunately the movement and dial will hide the holes, so normally none of them would be visible. All it needs is a few veneer patches, and a movement, dial, and parts (hands, weights, key, etc), and those can just be popped into it at any time. The trouble will be to find the correct short-drop movement. I believe Jim said that this clock was out of George's collection.

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This next one is a really beautiful Sperry & Shaw 8 day column clock. I really like this one. It has the original dial (and special hands), fancy lyre movement, and original tablet. The dial glass is also original. It just needs veneer patches, holes filled, and touch-ups (and weights and a bob). The label on this one is in mint condition. The case has the original finish. I think once this one is done it will be one of the highlights of my collection. Everything about it is great!

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Another really amazing clock is this C. & L. C. Ives triple decker. This one dates to around 1835, I believe. This is now the largest and tallest shelf clock in my collection (37.5" tall). It has a beautiful strap brass Ives movement with roller pinions, and the circle-cut-out wheels with square teeth. It will need a bell, weights, and a few small case repairs (bone escutcheon, a few small veneer chips, side returns on the top, etc.) The centre glass will probably be a reverse painting (or less likely a mirror), but I'll need to find a very thin piece of antique glass to fit the old grooves.

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This one is a Marshall & Adams (Seneca Falls New York), wooden works shelf clock. This is (so far) the only clock I have with carved columns. This one is also in pretty good shape, but it will need a lot of parts for it (it is just an empty case). There are just 3 or 4 veneer chips, and the whole case is loose, but otherwise I won't need to do very much on this one. The key in the door is one of my spares. This one should have an antique mirror in the base. It's hard to gauge the size from this photo, but this is a very large clock. 32" tall, 21" wide at the crown.

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This is yet another beautiful column clock. This one is by Jerome & Co. (New Haven). 8 Day, rosewood veneered, with gilt column tops and bases (I believe they were regilded since I found loose flakes of gold leaf in the case). The finish seems to have been stripped off this one (pretty well, too), so I will just need to do veneer patches, and add a few coats of shellac to it. It should have a pair of "decal type" tablets, so I'm not exactly sure what I'll do for them yet. The label in this one is also mint. There is just one small tear near the top, but aside from that it's pretty crisp and white considering the age (around 1870).

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This one is a bit sad. It's an early (and really nice) Waterbury beehive case in crotch mahogany veneer, but the back board has had a huge rectangular hole cut into it. Jim bought this clock just for the glass tablet, which I've since transferred to the Brewster & Ingrahams clock (which was missing its original cut glass tablet). I will likely see if I can re-convert this one, but it will probably be a bit of a Frankenstein, and it won't be very high on my to-do list.

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A lovely E & A Ingraham gallery clock. This one had been painted with gold paint, and Jim stripped it. A lot of the original gold leaf (80-90%?) is missing. I may try to re-gild it (sympathetically), and try to keep a bit of the wear and tear. It just needs a key (which I have in my spare parts) and I may try to match the hands. Either replace the hour hand to match the minute hand, or vice versa.

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This is the saddest one in the lot. It's a large size Brewster & Ingraham gallery clock. The gesso finish over the wood frame is badly damaged in places, and the dial is pretty toast. And speaking of toast, there is also what looks like a candle burn-mark through part of the edge in one spot. This one will likely get a complete restoration. Dial repaint, case rebuilt (puttied/patched/repainted), full refinish, etc. It has all the parts except the hands and a key.

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Jim also included some boxes of parts and movements. Some rare and interesting ones (like the Acorn Lyre Forestville movement, and the Lenderman banjo movement). The wooden works is actually a Boardman & Wells, which is what I needed for my clock in the living room (which just had a placeholder movement in it for the past 5-10 years). There are also blank ogee dials under the painted antique one on the left.

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So there we are. I was absolutely blown-away by all this. My expectations were far lower, but these are largely all really nice mid 1800s clocks in pretty decent condition. I've already started repairing 5 of them, so expect more posts soon.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Waterbury Miniature Ogee Clock - Part 1

I have had this clock for long enough that I seem to have lost the paper work for it. I bought it as an empty case. Actually I just checked a purchase list, and I bought it in summer 2006! At the time I wanted a miniature ogee clock, and I believe I may have had a spare Waterbury shelf clock movement for it. I had only paid 34$ USD for the case, plus shipping. Not such a great bargain based on today's prices, but mini ogees back then would normally sell for 200-300$ USD.

Anyhow, the case had lots of loose or flaked-off veneer, and it needed work.

A few years ago (early 2015), while I was working on a whole bunch of different veneering repairs (http://jcclocks.blogspot.ca/2015/02/veneer-patching-extravaganza.html) I had glued down the loose sections of the veneer for this case.

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Then a few weeks ago I finished the rest of the repairs. This involved gluing another big section that popped off on the door, and patching the missing sections on the veneer. Before I start showing the patches, this is how the clock looked after the 2015 repairs.

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The edge uses curved veneer, so I used some of my pre-curved mahogany veneer stock for the patches. Any of the small chips, I did not use wood, I used putty. This is especially good for small chips along the bottom where the veneer is already really dark.

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Putty-filled repairs:

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Veneer patch on the corner, putty on the chips.

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Again, a mix of veneer and putty. Keep in mind that any putty repairs must be touched-up with paint.

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Top left corner:

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Top right corner:

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All the repairs and patches before stain, paint, and touch-ups.

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Stain is applied first. Depending what stains you use, how much sanding you did, and what wood was used, the colour may be too light or too dark. It's kind of difficult to predict how certain spots will turn out. For the painted putty areas, those mainly work best on very dark finishes. This case is quite dark brown, so it's pretty forgiving to mix any "close enough" shade of blackish-brownish-reddish paint, and blend that in. I use one or two small paint brushes, but a lot of it is creative finger painting. Water is used to add transparency.

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Bottom chips after painting. There are 4 decent sized chips, and a veneer patch in the left corner.

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All the repairs and patches were then coated in several layers of orange shellac. The entire case was then buffed down with #0000 steel wool lubricated in dark paste wax. The wax is left to dry and go dull before polishing.

This shows the wax-buffed case just before polishing (so looking quite dull overall).

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Here's just a small bit once you start buffing the wax.

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Hopefully I can photograph the finished case soon.

Rosewood Seth Thomas (Thomaston) Ogee Clock - Part 3

I have yet to finish this series (as well as a few others). This is part 3, which covers some of the final details of the restoration.

Part 1: http://jcclocks.blogspot.ca/2016/02/rosewood-seth-thomas-thomaston-ogee.html
Part 2: http://jcclocks.blogspot.ca/2017/04/rosewood-seth-thomas-thomaston-ogee.html

In this part, I tacked an extremely unusual problem. For whatever reason, this ogee clock was NOT BUILT CORRECTLY. When I was finished working on the movement, I had trouble fitting it into the case properly, especially with respects to the dial. The hands would not clear the dial. This is a paper thin zinc sheet dial with a raised ring (which is standard on ALL older Seth Thomas clocks). The hands would not clear even in the centre (flat) portion of the dial.

I decided to take out the runners and set up the movement clearances correctly outside of the case.

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In normal cases, the winding squares should be just a hair below the dial surface.

Playing around with tongue depressors (or popsickle sticks) I found that the movement would need to be raised at least 1/4 inch. HOWEVER, with the movement moved forward this far, the hand shaft would hit the glass, and you wouldn't be able to close the door.

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Curiously, the seatboard had already been partially shimmed on the back side.

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The real problem, however, was that the depth of the rails was wrong. I could see that the dial mounting tabs had actually gouged into the back of the door (the door was closing tightly onto the pins), because they were too far forward. Normally these rails are about 2 1/4" to 2 3/8" deep. These were almost 2 5/8". Nearly 3/8" too deep.

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So the solution was simple. Trim the side rails (on the back) and reinstall them. I did not cut them down the full 3/8". I trimmed them only by how much I needed to shim-up the movement (the amount of pospickle sticks), so about 1/4 inch.

Once that was done, everything went back together just fine (I used old and new square nails), and the dial and movement fit perfectly, with proper clearance for the hands, and perfect clearance for the door (the door is no longer rubbing up onto the dial or pins).

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I still need to post multiple photos of a half dozen restored or repainted dials. This was the fully repainted dial (before antiquing).

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After antiquing:

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Another case repair that I needed to do was to repair the worn out hole for the movement hold-down. The chip-out was puttied, and the area was colour-matched to hide the repair.

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Hole patch from the interior. I used poplar for the plug since it will last a bit longer than pine (which is softer).

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The final part will just be final photos and before and afters of the clock. Not too sure when I'll post those, but you can see most of the completed clock in Part 2.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Antique Mirror Repair

This was a really beautiful antique mirror with beveled glass that I picked up at a Flea Market. I think I paid 10$ for it. The mirror was in perfect shape, but the frame had a few big chips in the curved veneer. I assume that this mirror is from around 1880, but it could be slightly older or newer. Definitely older than 1900.

For probably close to a year it's been patiently sitting and waiting to be repaired. I'm not even sure where I want to hang it yet, but since I've been doing a LOT of veneer patching on clocks lately, I decided to do the repair while I had fresh hide glue on hand.

As purchased:

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All 4 corners had chips, but the real issues were with this one bottom corner. The other corners had very tiny chips (I didn't photograph them, they were only about 1/8" wide).

Because of how this corner was broken, I would either need to make two striped patches (which would be tricky and possibly ugly as a repair), or remove the entire corner section, and install a larger patch. This is what I did. With the wood veneer that I removed, I was able to patch all the other 3 corners, so those repairs ended up being virtually invisible.

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Corner section removed. The mesh is something new to me. I'm not sure exactly what it was for, but it seems original and I left it there. Part of the veneer was loose past where I cut it, so hide glue was brushed/pushed under there.

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The wood was a bit odd. It looks a lot like walnut, but I was fairly sure it was actually mahogany, so I used mahogany for the patch. The wood had to be pre-curved around a form (you just wet the veneer in hot water, clamp it around a curve that is tighter/smaller than what you need, and leave it to fully dry). Once it was glued down (using hide glue and painter's tape as clamps) the edges were trimmed, sanded, and the repairs were stained as needed.

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The finish on the mirror was kind of dry and flaky, so I scrubbed down the finish lightly with steel wool and alcohol, and then I added a few thin coats of shellac over the repairs and then over the whole frame. This was then buffed down and wax polished with steel wool (#0000) and dark tinted wax.

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The colour match on the patch is not a 100% perfect match because the old veneer was somewhat sun bleached. It blends in fairly well, and it's only a simple mirror, so not a museum piece.

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All these techniques can be used to repair clock cases.