Recent before and after examples of our antique clock restoration and conservation work
Fine French mantel clock circa 1840We were called to London one-day to look at a clock that had fallen to the floor.
This house was a particularly large London property to say the very least and this clock was rather important as apparently it was bequeathed to the property from Lincoln's estate.
This clock was in a particularly bad way, the dial was broken and the movement had a bent winding shaft and the main shaft arbor was missing completely, the movement also had other broken wheels and shafts, the marble base was also broken and cracked.
Below you can see photographs of the item as we received it in a box, prior to restoration.
On the photograph on the left you see in the centre that the main arbour is broken and missing you can also see the bent shaft which corresponds with the damage on the dial in the photograph on the right just below the 3 o'clock.
Below you can see damage to the marble of the clock which happened when the clock fell.
The base is broken and cracked matching marble is often quite complicated as are many types and matching old marble is even more complicated because it has some age associated with it then of course one has to cut it and mould it.
Below you can see an example of the finished movement dial and Marble case.
Below you can see an enlarged photograph of the damaged area which is on the right-hand side winding hole the dial has been re-enamelled completely.
Walnut Longcase Clock by Williamson of LondonA fine walnut longcase clock with features as used by the famous maker Thomas Tompion.
This fine antique walnut cased clock by Joseph Williamson of London circa 1680 came to our workshop in a rather sorry condition after falling to the ground.
Below you can see a picture of the damage as photographed by the client prior to our receiving the clock.
As you can see the clock has fallen apart completely, this is partly due to the weight of the clock, these early clocks were made from oak then veneered over with walnut and after a period of time the glue on the blocks holding the case together crystallise, the movement has received a heavy knock and is badly bent and broken.
One of the most important factors of restoration on this sort of clock is to undertake repairs in such a way as that when the clock is finished to make it so it is not obvious that the clock has received any damage whatsoever.
After this restoration work, the clock should look in original condition as if it had been looked after and polished and loved for years.
Below you can see photographs of the finished clock in the clients house.
The insurance value of these clocks generally exceeds £20,000 therefore they are certainly worth having restored well.
A clock rather similar to this was sold by P A Oxley in Wiltshire you can see a picture of the clock above. This clock sold for £22,500
French Gilded Ormolu Clock
I was contacted by client who said they had had a fire and their clock was damaged.
below you can see pictures of this clock prior to restoration, the clock is covered in verdigris and rust.
This clock was burnt and then soaked by fireman, the clock was then left for a period of time for the client and the insurance company to decide on the action. It was decided after about a year that this clock should be restored.
In the pictures above you can see the condition of the clock, the movement on the right was covered in rust and verdigris and builders rubble and apparently the firemen had used the clock at some stage as a doorstop.
The movement was so rusted all the pivots had to be remade and most of the bushes had to be replaced.
Most metal parts had to have the rust pitting removed and the brass cleaned to remove verdigris.The case was then disassembled and each part cleaned thoroughly and then gilded using the electrolytic process.
The glass from the dial was removed using very hot water which expands the bezel the bezel was then cleaned ready for gilding.
When this clock was made it was gilded using mercury but we cannot do that these days as the law does not allow it.
The brass case is cleaned and then a copper flashing is put upon the surface, it is then gilded in 24 carat gold.
Below and above you can see a picture of the movement after intense cleaning and restoration work.
After all the work on the movement is undertaken, and after
movement is reassembled and tested.
The case is reassembled and the gilded bezel again reheated in hot water and the glass re-added to the bezel.
below you can see photographs of the finished gilded clock,
This clock has been gilded using 24 carat gold with the electrolysis process, when the clock was made it would have been gilded using mercury, this of course has now been made illegal.
Even though the electrolysis process is not as original as the mercury process it actually lays rather more gold on to the to the item being gilded.
Below you can see the average repair undertaken in our work shop, this long case clock fell over damaging the hood and movement. This clock dates from about 1790 and is in oak with mahogany banding and a swan neck pediment.
Below on the left you can see a photograph of a long case clock movement circa 1780 with a missing date wheel and wheel post. These date wheel arrangements were often removed as they are famous for having all sorts of problems associated with them. The snail has been removed for clarity.
On the right you can see the same eight day long case clock movement with a date wheel made and fitted. This has to correspond with the snail and a seconds wheel which is fitted to the movement dial.
Freshly made but to original spec the seconds wheel with stay and click spring.
And on the right a picture of a rather unusual eight-day Long case clock movement where we have replaced most of the wheels.
Below is a picture of a long case clock movement prior to restoration, with some of the repairs we encounter, soft solder has been used to make repairs and other parts have simply been bashed and dented by a hammer.
The Snail above will have to be replaced as you can see a piece of brass has been added to the edge of the one o'clock position, that is to the top left of the picture this has been soft soldered badly and the rest of the snail is also misshapen therefore the striking sequence is irregular.
You can also see the wheel below this is the date wheel. Once more we can see the use of soft solder this also will have to be replaced when we undertaken a repair we often correct previous repairs that may work, but are simply incorrect or unsightly and will if not corrected will definitely devalue the clock.
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Tel : 01462 790646 or E-mail : Malcolm Green