Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mirror Clock Project Part 4 - Hardware & Antiquing


For this mirror clock, I needed a few pieces of hardware. Depending on how custom you want to go, or how much you want to spend, you can simply buy all the hardware, or you can try making some yourself. The only hardware on the case is a pair of hinges, a door catch, and corner rosettes. Hinges are easy to find, clock door hooks are also available in a variety of sizes and styles, and historically accurate copies of mirror clock rosettes are available through Horton Brasses.

Since my clock is an odd size, the only rosettes that fit were the 1" rosettes at 5$ a piece plus shipping. I thought they might be a little too fancy, and I really didn't feel like spending 30$ or 40$ on these (Shipping to Canada plus customs makes certain small purchases quite expensive), so I decided I would try making some myself. If they didn't turn out, then I could still order some.

I made my rosettes using a very simple pattern made from hard maple. To go with it, I made a matching die that would square-up the outer edges.

I used very thin brass sheeting, which was heated to red hot, and left to cool. The pattern was stamped against some old pieces of drywall, then reheated to red, and stamped again in pine.

Once the rosette was stamped into the edge die, and cut, it looked quite good.

The only problem with them is that they were very thin and fragile. To remedy this, they were filled-in on the back with plaster. They were then drilled, left to dry, and hammered onto the corner blocks with escutcheon pins (the photo above is before they were nailed in place - the pins are visible in other photos).

Latch Hook

For the hook, I wanted to make a fairly heavy brass custom hook similar to the one on my miniature Vienna. It is a simple L shaped hook with a small finger grab on the top. The basic pattern was traced onto a scrap of brass.

The pattern was then cut out (roughly) with a jeweler's saw, and then the edges were filed to the final shape. The last step was to heat the brass finger loop, and then hammer it over in a small vise.


Antiquing wood can be tricky, but I find that it really helps if you're using actual old wood as a guide when mixing your colours.

In the next photos, you can see the back of the door, which is antiqued (stained) old wood, and the screws used to attach the front columns have also been antiqued. These screws are actually brand new.

As a guide for the back, I was using the backboards of these two clocks.

If you remember, I used old wooden boards for the backboard, and the interior surfaces were left 100% original. The back, however, is freshly planed.

I wasn't completely happy with the colouring on the back, but it came out not too bad. It's a bit more grey than brown, but it still matches fairly well with the wood on the interior.


Glazes are an incredibly useful and simple way to add age and to dull (or darken) details on furniture or painted surfaces. Before mixing a glaze to antique the gilding on my clock, I took some time to study some antique gold surfaces on items around the house.

The gilded door on a small Gilbert Cottage Clock:

An antique picture frame:

An old carved base that came from a church. This piece actually has water gilding, oil gilding, and painted gold, which creates 4 different shades.

One common theme in these is that the shading is greyish. I made a glaze in a grey tone, and I applied it to the entire door. It doesn't show up as much in the photos, but the brilliance of the gold has toned down considerably, and all the recesses have been darkened.

It is up to you how far you want to go with the antiquing process. Nicks, scratches, dents, coloured toners, dark wax, polishing through the gold to create wear, paint drips (particularly on the top), etc. The possibilities are limited to your imagination. I chose not to go too far with the antiquing, since the overall texture of the clock is already fairly convincing.

Compare with before:

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