Sunday, April 30, 2017

Highly Unusual Vienna Clock - Part 2

As you may have noticed in Part 1, the clock was in somewhat shabby condition, with a large chunk of the crown broken off (and missing) in the top left, as well as some breaks to the bottom bracket and a few veneer issues.

Other missing pieces include all the finials (x5) and two top corner blocks (there were square shadows to each side of the centre crest).

The hardest part to replicate was the upper crown moulding piece, but I was able to get a close-enough shape with a few passes of a cove router bit and some saw cuts. The rest was careful sanding. For the bottom moulding, I chose to replace it with a single rectangular piece, rather than rebuild it in 3 sections like it was.

The veneer on the bottom bracket had some damage to both sides. Sadly my camera has been having a hard time lately (it needs to be replaced), so I did not get many good photos of the repairs. This was the worst side. Most of the back edge was badly chipped, so I replaced a full strip. This was difficult to cut and glue. I had to pre-bend the veneer around two forms to shape it into an "S" before I could glue it. The large chip at the top was just puttied. A veneer repair there would have been difficult and unsightly. It was either putty, or remove another inch-wide strip of veneer down the length of the bracket. This is so low on the clock that the repair isn't that visible.

This was followed by a bit more sanding, some dark stain, and a bit of diluted paint to blend the harsh line. I used orange shellac to varnish the area and blend it into the rest of the original shellac. None of the photos turned out so I may try to take new ones later.

After more touch-ups, small chip repairs, a bit of black paint and shellac, this is the finished case:

The clock still has the original old wavy glass with several imperfections.

The clock originally had wall stabilizers, but they were missing, so I installed a sew set. The finials are still being planned/chosen and they'll be shown in Part 3 once they're installed.

For the two little top blocks, I had to make an educated guess as to what they should look like. As I mentioned earlier, there were two square shadows, and a faint circle outline in the centre of the squares indicating finials. I made the blocks from pine and veneered them in some salvaged antique walnut veneer. The ebonized tops were made to match the bottom bracket detail.

You can sort of see the typical German/Vienna case construction detail of the "lock joint" at each corner of the main box.

All it needs now are the finials.


  1. Interesting repair job. Transforms the clock. The clock should really standout with the new finials. I really like the ebonized features of the clock.

    1. Thanks Ron. I've picked out and scaled up/down the finials to what I think should look good. I just need to prep some blanks (or dig through my scraps) and then turn them.