Monday, June 20, 2016

A Wonderful Find - Period Finial

Over the weekend, I went to a flea market with a friend of mine and I made three purchases. One was a small antique mirror, another was a No.1 burner and chimney for one of my oil lamps, and the third was this wonderful antique clock finial.

This is likely a banjo clock finial, but it could also be a longcase clock finial. It's a decent size at around 5 5/8" tall (not counting the stem), 2 1/4" wide in the centre, and 3 1/8" spanning the wings.

I spotted this sitting in a basket, and I immediately grabbed it. The price was right, and I paid for it immediately.

For those who might not be too excited about this finial, or who have never had the misfortune to shop for "just the right hardware", I can tell you that this isn't something you stumble upon too often. Period reproduction brasses tend to cost an arm and a leg, and they're only available by mail order, so shipping must be added to the price. Regular spun brass (cheap) longcase clock finials can't be found for less than 20-30$ each, and the really nice ones are more in the neighbourhood of 150$ each. The same is true for quality locks, knobs, handles, and hinges. This particular finial is not a pattern I've ever encountered before, which makes it even more rare and unusual. The eagle matches many found on banjo clocks, but the urn portion is very different.

The Greek Key trim is an unusual feature, but very much appropriate for the period. I estimate that this finial is from around 1830, possibly a bit earlier. It's hard to tell for certain.

The back of the finial confirmed that this is not a modern reproduction, since it has stress cracks and casting flaws. You can see how the Greek Key banding is made from a separate strip of brass.

The hollow finial is made up of several components which are held together with a central stem. The stem is threaded into the base of the eagle, and fits into the turned base.

I will likely fit this to a reproduction clock case at some point. More than likely a banjo clock.

Monday, June 6, 2016

John Birge & Co. 1848 Column & Cornice Clock - The Finished Restoration

This post shows the completed restoration after nearly 2 years working on the clock on and off. For all the previous posts relating to this project, please refer to the following links:

New Purchase - John Birge & Co. 1848 Column & Cornice Clock
John Birge & Co. 1848 Column & Cornice Clock - Before Photos
John Birge & Co. 1848 Column & Cornice Clock - Movement Restoration

John Birge & Co. 1848 Column & Cornice Clock - Case Restoration

For comparison, I would urge you to take a quick look at the "Before Photos" post above to refresh you memory before viewing all the finished results.

I still need to locate an old dial grommet.

Black stain removed.

Some of the small chips along the base were simply filled with wood filler, and painted to match. They are visible if you know where to look.

There are 4 veneer patches in this photo. Top corner of the sleigh curve (inside near the door), top corner of the lower door, bottom of the vertical divider strip next to the upper door, and the bottom corner of the main (upper) door.

Teeny little veneer patch on the corner.

Lots of hidden repairs in this photo. Most are cracks within the wood. New veneer along the base. Broken corner at the back fixed. Do note, however, that I did not fix the "crushed" front corner. I decided to leave that alone.

This "door stop block" was missing.

The original pendulum wire was kept (no rating nut) and an old spare bob was found.

Lastly, this is the repaired tip of the minute hand. This was fixed with a taper pin that was filed to shape.

I'm very happy with the results. I'd love to hear your comments and questions.

Small Wag-On-The-Wall Clock Restoration & Custom Wall Shelf

This is a really cute little clock that I picked up a few years ago. It didn't need too much work, but it had problems with all the dial hooks, it needed new doors, and some general cleaning and maintenance.

While I took the clock apart for cleaning, the original keeper for the count wheel broke. I had to make a new one.

I'm not sure if these are factory markings, maker's markings, or simply a former owner, but more than likely they are in German, and I can't read German.

The dial appears to be printed paper glued over wood, but I'm not 100% sure. I bought the clock purely because it had such a wonderful dial. Many of these Black Forest clocks have beautiful, colourful dials.


Front (after cleaning and repairs):

The bottom still has the original dark red paint. I tried to match this for the side doors and shelf.

New doors. The "hinges" are more or less just bent staples, and they were tricky to install. They are drilled at an angle, and then driven into the wood. A lot of care has to be taken not to split the wood while forcing the staple end in place.

The teeny tiny little slots were cut with a small drill bit and a jeweler's saw.

The clock came with original (painted) weights and pendulum.

All done! This one is fairly small. The dial is about 8 1/4" high.

The paint is sort of a 2-tone (mottled) burgundy that is bordering on dark pink. I was aiming for more of a red, but the pink matches the dial. The shelf was made of thin pine, and wax polished after painting.

For size:

The only issue with the clock is that both chains are only about 3 feet long. I would need 2 new chains at 50 or 51 LPF and these are not available.