Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wag on the Wall Clock (Cleaning)

Several months ago (last year, actually) I posted about the purchase of a German Wag on the Wall clock.

Since then, I've cleaned it, and I've been meaning to make a quick post about that for those who may find the information useful.

Since these clocks use wooden frames, they can't be cleaned the same way as other metal framed clocks. Start by carefully removing the hands and the dial, which on this clock was held in place by 4 pins. Once the dial and hands are removed, you must also remove the back board. The back board is usually pegged and doweled in place.

Items like the motion works and count wheel can be removed easily. The time and strike train outer pillars are pinned in place diagonally at the top. Once all the gears have been removed from the case, cleaning can begin.

Please note: There are various opinions on how these (and other wooden clocks) should be cleaned, and I am simply showing my method here. I have done cabinetry and woodworking for over a decade, and I don't have any problems wetting wood parts, but some people do. I find that some moisture is fine, so long as it's not excessive, or on only one half of a board (since it will warp).

That said, I cleaned the main case and the pillars with a damp cloth, with mildly soapy water (one drop of dish soap in a small bowl of warm water). I used a paint brush to get into the crevices, and I made sure to dry the parts almost immediately. If the gears in your wag on the wall clock are mounted on wooden arbours, I would suggest hand cleaning them, but dry if possible (fine steel wool and brushes).

To clean all the pivot holes (which are usually brass bushed and quite gummed-up) I used a combination of toothpicks and cotton swabs dipped in glass cleaner (which has a bit of ammonia in it). Clean the holes until the toothpicks come out CLEAN.

This clock was very dirty, and I think this is the most toothpicks and swabs I've ever used on a single clock. There were actually more that had already been thrown out. You can also see by the newspaper date that I worked on this in mid January.

The gears on this particular clock were normal brass and steel, and they were cleaned in a normal cleaning solution. The rest shows assembly and detail photos.

One of the largest escape wheels I've seen in a domestic clock. Probably close to 2" diameter.

I decided to make a simple metal bracket for the clock (below), however, it's a bit of a failed experiment. The clock is a bit too heavy, and it projects 9" from the wall, so the bracket sags a bit. I plan to make a wooden one this summer.


Here's the finished clock, before I trimmed the excess rod on the pendulum. There is also a video I made of the clock.

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