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 ( I had glued down the loose sections of the veneer for this case.



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.


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.


Putty-filled repairs:


Veneer patch on the corner, putty on the chips.


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


Top left corner:


Top right corner:


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


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.


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


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).


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


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:
Part 2:

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.


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.


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


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.



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).


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


After antiquing:


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.


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



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:


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


All these techniques can be used to repair clock cases.