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harold bain
08-12-2007, 06:20 PM
I am trying to restore an IBM 1950's vintage master clock. It appears to have been exposed to weather extremes, possibly moisture. The original finish is flaking off at the bottom. I doubt that shellac was used. Do I have to strip it or can I fill in the missing finish?

Kevin W.
08-12-2007, 06:36 PM
Harold i am no expert here on finishing.Maybe a light rubbing with 0000 steel wool and then apply a few coats of shellac and see how it looks after. :thumb::thumb::clap:

clockdaddy
08-12-2007, 08:09 PM
... It appears to have been exposed to weather extremes, possibly moisture. ..The original finish is flaking off at the bottom. Do I have to strip it or can I fill in the missing finish?

Unfortunately, Harold, you will need to remove all of the finish and lishtly sand and refinish in order to have an even color.

Finishes are photochemically reactive and change color from ultra violet rays from the sun. The finish has darkened with age and matching the color, texture and aged look is a nightmare.

If you choose to scrape of the finish rather than chemically remove, the color will remain in tack and there will be little, if any, sanding. A good sharp scraper or a piece of glass can be used and will make short work of the project.

CD

Scottie-TX
08-12-2007, 08:51 PM
Alas, I know we're not voting but "DITTO".
"What th' C-DAD said"
I do know that many here will advise against scraping (my choice), but your preference. "Yes". It will need stripped.

harold bain
08-12-2007, 09:00 PM
I was hoping for an easier fix, but you are likely right. I have tried stain on a small part of the side, and while the color is close, it still is a noticable repair. It will need a combination of chemical strip and scraping, as the finish has a pretty good grip where it isn't peeling.
Forgot to mention, this is veneer. It was loose in a few areas as well.

Thyme
08-13-2007, 09:59 AM
I was hoping for an easier fix, but you are likely right. I have tried stain on a small part of the side, and while the color is close, it still is a noticable repair. It will need a combination of chemical strip and scraping, as the finish has a pretty good grip where it isn't peeling.
Forgot to mention, this is veneer. It was loose in a few areas as well.

Harold,

Then reglue your veneer before stripping and refinishing. At least you won't need to be too fussy with any excess glue. Let's hope you don't have to strip the entire case. :?|

harold bain
08-13-2007, 10:35 AM
I have been working on the loose veneer, which is on the sides and backboard. The door is solid oak and has a few small spots where the finish has come off, mostly at the bottom. This would be the hardest part to strip. Working with shellac is much easier than the modern varnishes.

Sooth
08-13-2007, 07:07 PM
Harold, since it's veneer *IF* you do any sanding, or scraping, be very careful. I try to never sand any veneer, unless it's entirely by hand, or if I use a soft sanding sponge with a fine paper over top. Do NOT use any power sanders.

Good luck, and please post the finished results!

clockdaddy
08-13-2007, 08:32 PM
Harold,

That's good advice from Sooth...leave the power tools outta this!!

Even though it is veneer, don't get rattled! Let's walk through the steps.

1. Stabilize any loose veneer.
Using a pocket knife softly tap the veneer using the side of the blade.
any where the veneer is tight , you hear the tapping of the knife blade. If the veneer is loose, you've hear a smacking sound.
for the loose veneer, if it's along the edge, no problem. using the knife spread a small amount of wood glue thinned with about 20% water. The reason for thinning the glue in to prevent from getting too much behind the veneer causing a lumpy surface.
After inserting the glue, press the veneer very firmly to squeeze out any excess glue. Clean the excess using a damp cotton rag. Apply a piece of waxed paper over the area then a small block of wood. Clamp as needed.

If the veneer is loose in the middle of the veneered area, using a single edge razor blade, slice the veneer going with the grain of the veneer. Open it up enough to allow you to insert your knife and more glue. I would use hyperdermic needles and thin the adhesive enough to flow through it. About a 20 to 24 gauge needle worked best.
Again, squeeze out all the excess glue you can get out. Over this lay your waxed paper, your block of wood and start adding weight in the form of books, bricks, or your money bags to flatten the area completely and allow overnight to dry.

2. Wood has two directions in which the grain will run. Obviously, it runs horizontal but it also runs vertically in the horizontal lines. When you start scraping the wood, if you feel the scraper snag the wood, turn the board around and scrap from the other direction. Although the grain of the wood that you see is running away from you, the vertical direction of the grain caused you scraper to snag the end of the vertical grain. When you turned the board around the scraper slid over the ends of the vertical grain and didn't snag.
Keep your scraper very sharp by stroking it with a file going the length of the blade. Scrape slowly but firmly until all the finish is off.

3. Most people are afraid to sand veneer because they can't judge how much they've sanded off. Using a #2 pencil, simply start at the top of the board and draw zig-zag lines the length of the board. Using 220 sandpaper sand the surface evenly until the pencil mark is gone. At this point the veneer is slick and ready to clean and finish.

When you are finishing with shellac, start with a 2 lb. cut and mix it 50/50 with denatured alcohol. This is the consistency you should use to apply the finish. Sand lightly between coats with the worn 220 sandpaper. apply 8 to 10 coats and allow to dry over night. The piece can be rubbed out the following day using 0000 steel wool and paste wax.

I hope this process helps rather than confuses you!!

CD

harold bain
08-14-2007, 04:20 PM
I've got the veneer glued back down. I used a long second hand to work the carpenters glue in as far as needed, then clamped with wooden blocks to hold flat. This veneer is relatively thick compared to the antique veneer on old OG's and such, about 1/16" thick (I should have miced it). It is more like a thin plywood, as it seems to be layered.
The damage is consistant with water damage, mostly at the bottom. The finish comes off easily where it is loose.
With much time spent matching colors, I have refinished one side without a total stripdown, just need to build up the varnish to be smooth to the old finish. It looks good so far.
Keeping my fingers crossed, I will just work at it a little at a time (leaving max drying time between coats).

clockdaddy
08-14-2007, 07:51 PM
Harold,
Knowing you to be very maticulous, I'm sure it'll look just great!

As you said, take it slow and easy. Sand lightly between coats and do it to your satisfaction. You made it easy for yourself by getting the color right. That's the hardest part...Good for you!!

CD - the other Harold!

shutterbug
08-15-2007, 07:27 AM
And don't forget to let us see the results :)

harold bain
09-10-2007, 10:58 AM
Just thought I would show my progress so far on this clock. The door is closer to completion than the case, but both are coming along. I started by sanding and scraping all the loose finish off, then stained the bare wood to match the remaining finish. took a lot of stain mixing and matching to get the color I was after. Then I started the finish coats of Minwax polyurathane (the case is still just stain added). A good sanding between coats, and it looks pretty good to me.
Not finished yet, though
The pictures aren't that good, but on the bottom of the door, about half the finish was gone. You cant tell where now.

Kevin W.
09-10-2007, 08:40 PM
looking good Harold.It is coming.Must be a long job to match the colours.
Your pictures are not that bad.:thumb:

harold bain
09-10-2007, 09:29 PM
Veritas, it is taking a lot of coats to build up to the level of the original finish so it will have a smooth texture. I use thin coats, giving at least 24 hours between them. I am just ready to start the polyurathane on the case interior. I am also running the clock between coats, testing the movement.

lostnyc
09-10-2007, 10:01 PM
Probably late now, but... my day job is woodworker, this is one time I would say stripping the finish to bare wood is warranted, the finish is in such poor, probably water damaged condition that any aged patina look it otherwise would have had, is negated by the flaking discolored finish.

The veneers of old, including plywood using veneer were quite a bit thicker than today's paper thin veneers.

You can generally sand with an orbital and 150 grit paper on today's plywood enough to remove pencil marks, scuffs, maybe a little accentally spilled glue, but that's about all. If you edge glued and biskit plywood today and have ANY little raised edges on the seem from differences in thickness or alignment, you cannot sand that smooth without going through the veneer with certainty.

In contrast, the older veneer was much thicker, and plywood often used good wood inside, we had to machine sand down a special piece of 3/4" thick 1950's furniture plywood to 1/2" thick to compensate for a modification without changing the wood which would look like a replacement. we took it's thickness down to what was a veneer like the face but 1/4" down, and once we sanded down to that layer we cleaned it carefully with 220 to remove the glue and then stained it.

You cant do that with today's plywood!

You could use zipstrip to remove the finish to bare wood, and clean it up, then with a little 150 grit paper remove residue and scratches, then 220 and restain.
Stripping is better than scraping as scraping can leave little gouges, nics and scratches- all of which will be a chore to sand out later.

220 grit paper is pretty mild, it doesn't really remove wood unless you really go at it HARD, it's fine enough that it really only serves to smooth the wood and remove raised grain. 150 is more aggressive and will round off corners and edges pretty fast if you aren't careful, while 100 is a lot more aggressive and will go through veneer pretty fast.

About loose veneer, a warning- older wood works were glued with hot melt animal hyde glue, this is water soluable and comes apart with water or heat, but it will rejoin good as new once the water dries out, the warning is- modern aliphatic glues (yellow, white Elmers etc) will NOT STICK or hold if there is any hyde glue residue on the wood, you must either remove the old glue or if it IS hyde glue- you can use the same type of glue to repair.

Old aliphatic glue if used ALSO must be removed or the new glue will not stick to that either.

This is a "FUN" job when it's loose bulged veneer, sometimes you can't get an effective gluing unless the veneer is removed, cleaned, the substrait cleaned, and then reglued, removing old veneer usually can be done carefully with the heat of a hair dryer or heat gun on low, hyde glue will loosen when the temperature melts the glue, warm damp rags also work but much slower and can damage other wood.

Last caution- you can use Watco stain if you like, but NEVER use a water based polyurethane over Watco! Watco has a surface WAX in it that does a real nasty number on water based poly.

If you use Minwax oil stain you can use lacquer, oil poly or water poly.
I happen to prefer Minwax oil stains as this brand just works so well and is rich and deep, but Watco is very nice for natural or light stain colors.


Here's some woodworking I've done in my house, can't see much but enough to back up my skills, most everything that can be seen I designed and built, except the 3 tan colored organ pipes at the far corner of the room in the center of the image. Hanging gothic lamp, bookcase on the left, pet gate in the foreground, door trim, iron gate and organ facade;

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b375/Randall2/1271766544_3f83825715.jpg

Thyme
09-10-2007, 10:13 PM
Veritas, it is taking a lot of coats to build up to the level of the original finish so it will have a smooth texture. I use thin coats, giving at least 24 hours between them. I am just ready to start the polyurathane on the case interior. I am also running the clock between coats, testing the movement.

Harold,

If you haven't yet opened that can of polyurethane, please don't use it!

I doubt that polyurethane existed as a finish in the 1950's. Considering all the purists we have on this list, why would you want to use a plastic finish that is not original to the clock.? ???

From what I saw of your photos, you will need to scrape or sand down all the original finish on that panel; otherwise there is no other way to get a uniform look to it. When water damage removes all the finish in blotchy areas (as is the case here) there is no way of hiding that other than to remove it all and redo it.

Minwax penetrating stain is fine to use. You can put the varnish of your choice over it, and build it up, several coats with a rub down of steel wool inbetween coats.

But please, no plastic coatings... :%

lostnyc
09-10-2007, 11:47 PM
Harold,

If you haven't yet opened that can of polyurethane, please don't use it!

I doubt that polyurethane existed as a finish in the 1950's. Considering all the purists we have on this list, why would you want to use a plastic finish that is not original to the clock.? ???


I honestly feel the TYPE of clear top coating is of no real difference, a clear coating is a clear coating, be it satin, gloss, semi gloss or what have you whether it is varnish, shellac, polyurethane solvent based, water based polyurethan etc, it is there to protect the stain and wood and give it a sheen or shine, as well as repell water/moisture.

Varnish is rapidly going away, and for that matter ALL kinds of solvent based paints and lacquers are coming under increasing regulations by the various state, Govt and OSHA regulations, fire insurance etc. and are being slowly phased out not only due to the toxicity and fumes, but also the carcinogenic, explosion, fire hazards, and air pollution.
There used to be dozens of different varnishes of various names around the 1890s, most are gone.

Shellac is not especially durable and is easily damaged by water.
Varnish takes days to dry depending on humidity and temperature, and while it's sitting there sticky it's picking up dust, pet hairs, lint and anything else that happens to be floating in the air.
Shellac however dries quickly so that is one plus for that, but shellac has a fairly short shelf life , if it's expired it won't dry so buy FRESH and check the date on the can!

Brushing shellac is very different from brushing oil-based finishes such as varnish or polyurethane. Part of the difficulty is that because shellac dries so fast you can't come back later with a brush and even it out.

Water based polyurethane not only tested harder than solvent based, but it dries fast and a satin finish looks good and is very durable.
I use water based polyurethane or lacquer on any wood I makes things from, no fumes with the water based, you can get it in satin or gloss, satin would be the better choice, and you can build up several coats if you wish.
I use a water based sanding sealer first.

The use of shellac as a furniture finish never caught on in the West until the early 1800's and it eventually replaced wax and oil finishes used prior to this. It remained the most widely used protective finish for wood until the 1920's and 30's when it was replaced by nitrocellulose lacquer, this is the lacquer all the commercial furniture makers coat their furniture with.

So if this clock was made post 1920-ish, chances are it was spray lacquered, especially if it's a factory made commercially made production item/

General Motors was the first (1923) to introduce one of the new fast drying nitrocelluous lacquers.

These lacquers are also used on wooden products, furniture primarily, and on musical instruments and other objects. The nitrocellulose and other resins and plasticizers are dissolved in the solvent, and each coat of lacquer dissolves some of the previous coat. These lacquers were a huge improvement over earlier automobile and furniture finishes, both in ease of application, and in color retention. The preferred method of applying quick-drying lacquers is by spraying, and the development of nitrocellulose lacquers led to the first extensive use of spray guns. Nitrocellulose lacquers produce a very hard yet flexible, durable finish that can be polished to a high sheen.


If this was MY clock, I would be inclined to go with lacquer than shellac, especially since I spray it a lot at work and we have a walk-in spray booth and gun. This choice would differ of course if this was a rare, valuable museum quality iten that deserves a careful restoration.

By the way, on polyurethane, it's older than most people think;

The pioneering work on polyurethane polymers was conducted by Otto Bayer and his coworkers in 1937 at the laboratories of I.G. Farben in Leverkusen, Germany.

With development constrained by World War II when PU's were applied on a limited scale as aircraft coating, it was not until 1952 that polyisocyanates became commercially available. Commercial production of flexible polyurethane foam began in 1954.

harold bain
09-11-2007, 11:01 AM
This clock was made in the mid 1950's, and it definately did not have a shellac finish. I may regret not doing a total strip (time will tell). I think IBM would have been among the first to use new products on their cases (if they actually made them).
Most of the finish damage was at the bottom, consistant with a flooded basement.
I am using minwax stains to match the color of the original finish, which is working out good so far.

Thyme
09-11-2007, 12:09 PM
I honestly feel the TYPE of clear top coating is of no real difference, a clear coating is a clear coating, be it satin, gloss, semi gloss or what have you whether it is varnish, shellac, polyurethane solvent based, water based polyurethan etc, it is there to protect the stain and wood and give it a sheen or shine, as well as repell water/moisture.

Polyurethane is great for floors (which have heavy traffic) and things like bar counters (where liquids are spilled). The main problem with it (esthetically) is that it looks like polyurethane. That's why I would not use it as a clock finish and I certainly would not use it on a musical instrument (as you mentioned).;-{


Varnish is rapidly going away, and for that matter ALL kinds of solvent based paints and lacquers are coming under increasing regulations by the various state, Govt and OSHA regulations, fire insurance etc. and are being slowly phased out not only due to the toxicity and fumes, but also the carcinogenic, explosion, fire hazards, and air pollution.
There used to be dozens of different varnishes of various names around the 1890s, most are gone.


We already live in an over-regulated world in which virtually everything is seen as being hazardous. (Nowadays even a cup of hot cofee becomes a goldmine for trial lawyers.) Soon everything wil be made of plastic... :(

So perhaps we should throw out all this old junk we are trying to preserve and simply buy plastic clocks that are disposable. ???

lostnyc
09-11-2007, 12:57 PM
Harold, I'm pretty sure IBM had used commercial Lacquer then on this, in fact everything points to that. In a production environment both varnish and solvent based polyurethane take far too long to dry and harden and are too finicky in that dust and the like in a factory setting would really mar the finish.

Look at the Howard Miller factory video clip, you have people basically working on an assembly line type production, one guy may cut strips for doors, one guy may cut the glass, another may fit hinges and so on, it's almost like the automotive or appliance assembly plants where workers just assemble the same parts every day and they produce hundreds of widgets that all get sent to the shipping dept for packing and boxing up.

It's all geared for speed and efficiency, I've seen the SAME kind of factory video about a famous
theater organ company- Wurlitzer- showing how they built their theater organs, they were all mass produced in a huge factory by hundreds of employees, each making and assembling one part or component. They also produced wood cased juke boxes in the 50's by the thousands, same way, and on an assembly line one guy sprays on the stain and then the stained cases move into the finishing dept where another guy sprayed them with lacquer and so on.

Here's the two clips from 1950, this should offer some idea of how the commercial or mass produced clocks were probably made in that era, these show the manufactur of their juke boxes;

http://www.archive.org/details/VisittoW1950
http://www.archive.org/details/VisittoW1950_2

NOTE: On the first clip, around 16 minutes in, they show a detailed segment about staining and finishing their cases, as you can see it was done FAST on an assembly line with high pressure spray equipment, even the base color was just sprayed on.
They even mention two things that are important; their base colors and LACQUERS were all developed in their own in-house laboratory, also, the narrator specifically said "lacquer" I noticed.
So we learn two things there, some of these manufacturers developed their own custom made formulas and colors, and they used lacquer.

On this archive site, there are old film documentaries as well about Thomas Edison, including one I remember showing how lightbulbs were made by workers on machines one by one.

Thyme said "Polyurethane is great for floors (which have heavy traffic) and things like bar counters (where liquids are spilled). The main problem with it (esthetically) is that it looks like polyurethane."

I honestly don't see a physical difference between the two when I have used both, floors are usually given a GLOSSY finish so they look shiny, this certainly WOULD look very plastic on furniture, which is why you would want a SATIN poly not gloss. If you used gloss varnish on furniture it too would look "plasticky" because it's so shiney, but both poly and varnish can also be rubbed down with oil and rottenstone. You don't want a shiney bright finish on an antique.

It really boils down to the brand/quality and the sheen (satin v/s high gloss) cheap anything will LOOK cheap and not flow/ level nicely.





added pointer

harold bain
09-11-2007, 01:55 PM
Randall, I appreciate your input. I don't have a professional restorer's background, just doing the best I can with what I have. The original finish did have a shine to it. Not sure the difference between shine and plastic looking. I am using satin finish poly. My main concern was matching the colors so the repair wouldn't stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. So far, so good.
It is unlikey that hide glue would have still been used in the 50's. Carpenters glue is holding the veneer down quite well.

lostnyc
09-11-2007, 08:20 PM
Randall, I appreciate your input. I don't have a professional restorer's background, just doing the best I can with what I have. The original finish did have a shine to it. Not sure the difference between shine and plastic looking. I am using satin finish poly. My main concern was matching the colors so the repair wouldn't stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. So far, so good.
It is unlikey that hide glue would have still been used in the 50's. Carpenters glue is holding the veneer down quite well.


Sure thing Harold, my comments are as much for other readers as yourself too of course, so while your project may already be done or underway, someone else may have questions in this specific area at any time.

I am glad to hear you are trying your best, that is all anyone can do. In a text based environment we don't always know the skill levels of other post authors, and then of course we deal with readers who may be professionals or total amateurs, in which case most of this information is for the latter so they can research more rather than jump into a project not knowing the pitfalls or issues involved.
I was going to say, on the choice of finish, first I think your SATIN poly is appropriate and you should have good results, I find lacquer a little easier to use but then I have access to a car sized spray booth with heated make-up air, pressure pot automotive type spray gun and plenty of raw materials- the boss buys lacquer in 5 gallon pails- a dozen at a time and I'm the guy who usually sprays most everything.

One thing I noticed over the years, we buy retail type rattle cans of lacquer and sanding sealer- the kind you would find at the hardware store, just for touchups on the jobsites and tiny items in the shop, I have found that the commercial lacquer we buy in the 5 gallon pails is FAR superior, the rattle cans' contents are so thinned out it takes half a dozen heavy applications to get ANY finish on a piece of wood, and then it never really looks even. In contrast the other stuff takes one pass with the spray gun and it's done, the difference is dramatic.
So you consumer type folks who are stuck buying from the local hardware store are getting inferior products to begin with, and it's tough to get good results with inferior paints, stains or finishes and lacking professional spray equipment. This alone can color someone's perception about a particular product GROUP like polyurethane etc- the poor results they got or saw done by consumer products.

Another thing is, that glossy finishes accentuate and draw attention to any scratches, imperfections, dents, or over-eager sanding dips, that is one good reason to use a semi- gloss or satin.

I've been a woodworker full time for ten years at a small 17 person factory that builds pipe organs for churches, Universities etc. One task I had to perform about 8 years ago was restoring the boss' personal vocallion reed organ built in 1888, it had been dismantled and dumped in a BARN where it sat for years, parts were missing, it was a disaster.
One thing I had to do was repair joints in the heavy case that had the animal hyde glue, and that was where I learned about that glue- marvelous stuff and I've used it for some of my own projects.
Your 1950 clock was certainly glued with an aliphatic resin glue or similar, not the Hyde, but many hand made items by carpenters and small shops even then stuck to the hyde glue more out of tradition and experience of use than anything.

Your glue repair should hold ok as it's not under stress, it's just a much stronger bond if the old dried glue is removed so the new wood can soak into the pores and GRAB it, think in terms of velcro strips- glue grabs the open pores of wood in a similar way, anything that interfers with that creates a much weaker bond- be it wax, oil, dirt, old finish or dried old glue, so the best action if/whenever possible, is to try to get to bare wood for that reason.

Carpenter glue is an aliphatic resin, pretty standard stuff, we use it by the 5 gallon pail.

Here's a couple of pages on a recent project that we finished, you probably won't understand all the terminology but as you can see we work LARGE, and on the second page is a shot of the spray booth;

http://dobsonorgan.com/html/instruments/op84_wayne/op84_casework.html
http://dobsonorgan.com/html/instruments/op84_wayne/op84_interior.html

You may also enjoy this one with it's intricate walnut woodwork;

http://dobsonorgan.com/html/instruments/op82_chapelhill.html

The "Randy" in some of those photos is not me, he has about 18 years experience and does awesome work on some very complex designs.

Mixing stains to match the original is VERY difficult, we do it, but it takes a lot of time and having an inventory a many tints and colors to experiment with, so if you had success matching the old stain then you have done extremely well Harold, and that puts you a lot closer to professional.
The unknowns are; did the original makers use oil , water stain, did they buy commercially made or mix their own from grandpa's secret formula, if they bought commercially made stain, what brand, is the stain maker even in business at all, how much exposure to sun did the clock get which altered it's original tint, did someone later restain it- all of these are unknown and that makes matching very much harder.



The original finish did have a shine to it. Not sure the difference between shine and plastic looking.

Another thing I was going to suggest, as this is all very subjective- BUY a small can of shellac, varnish and lacquer and apply them to scraps of the same wood, preferably the same as your project and stained as you will do to the clock and see how they look to YOU and how they work. You may discover you HATE one and adore another, the best way is to experiment on some scraps and then decide.

Thyme
09-11-2007, 09:35 PM
The original finish did have a shine to it. Not sure the difference between shine and plastic looking.


Another thing I was going to suggest, as this is all very subjective- BUY a small can of shellac, varnish and lacquer and apply them to scraps of the same wood, preferably the same as your project and stained as you will do to the clock and see how they look to YOU and how they work. You may discover you HATE one and adore another, the best way is to experiment on some scraps and then decide.








Well, that's interesting, because that would be the easiest way to to do it for someone who only has a brush and a can of varnish (or whatever) as in the more primitive 'bad old days'.

Perhaps we can understand more, with the less that is being said...

harold bain
09-12-2007, 12:07 PM
Thyme, I have an oak hardwood floor in my livingroom that still has its original factory finish, and is not particularly shiney, so I'm not sure what the "plastic" look looks like. The finish on this floor would not look out of place on an oak clock. Obviously I don't have a spray booth or the equipment to go with it to do a professional job on this clock, but I do have the time to spend the hours required to make this clock look good.
This was originally an industrial master clock that spent its working life in the pay office of a factory, and likely does have its original finish. I had to scrape lots of paint off the sides of the case, where the walls behind it had been painted.
The hardest part is sanding between coats to keep it smooth and even. Thanks for the encouragement, Randall. I almost bought a large antique pipe organ out of a barn a few years ago, and if I had, I'm sure I would still be working on it. It was a beauty, with candle holders on the side, that was easily over 100 years old. Still kicking myself for letting it go, but my musical skill is less than adequate, so it may have been wasted on me:?|
Back to my sanding block:thumb:

Thyme
09-12-2007, 12:20 PM
Thyme, I have an oak hardwood floor in my livingroom that still has its original factory finish, and is not particularly shiney, so I'm not sure what the "plastic" look looks like. The finish on this floor would not look out of place on an oak clock. Obviously I don't have a spray booth or the equipment to go with it to do a professional job on this clock, but I do have the time to spend the hours required to make this clock look good.

Since it's only the interior back board that has the finish problem, it would be easiest to strip it and simply refinish it by hand.


This was originally an industrial master clock that spent its working life in the pay office of a factory, and likely does have its original finish. I had to scrape lots of paint off the sides of the case, where the walls behind it had been painted.

Usually paint spatters can be removed chemically, without sanding. The problem with sanding is that it removes some of the finish along with removing the paint spatters.


The hardest part is sanding between coats to keep it smooth and even.


That's why refinishing is usually done with steel wool between coats (or, if you are really old-fashioned, by using pumice and oil).

harold bain
09-12-2007, 12:46 PM
Thyme, it was also the door and side panels that had flaked, not just the backboard. I just pictured the backboard because it was the last part I was working on, and I hadn't taken a before shot of the door before getting to almost finished.
The paint came off easily with a scraper. I was careful not to gouge the wood or what finish was still under it.
The final coats will get the steel wool treatment:thumb:

lostnyc
09-13-2007, 08:53 AM
That's why refinishing is usually done with steel wool between coats

There is real steel wool of course, and there is a white sort of nylon substitute in various fineness, we use the nylon stuff in the shop because steel wool can leave behind tiny bits of steel that must be removed. These particles can rust if left behind and you also don't want to use this if you use any water based finishes!
All of these products, including brass wool should be in the paint section of your hardware store.

Old paint can be removed sometimes with that "Goof-off" product, unless it's really splattered on thick and is that old lead based paint, Goof-off is good for removing latex splatters and other marks, it usually works best on fairly fresh paint but doesn't normally damage the finish.
No doubt when they painted the walls in that factory they just slapped it on around the clock.

Speaking of these clocks, years ago I found a similar clock thrown in the trash, a co-worker at the building I worked in as night security heard a ticking sound coming out of the trash bin! Inside was this clock giving a tick every few minutes. it was older than 1950 though and it was a mechanical time-clock that impressed the time on cards. The pendulum stick was broken and the dial's paint peeled to bare metal, but I did get it working. It had an oak case, probably from the 1920's

On the organ in the barn, you probably found either a single keyboard reed parlor organ, probably by Estey (there were a hundred makers of hese) or a vocallion. A parlor organ 2 people can lift and they are usually pretty ornate, with candle stick holders too, the vocallion was quite larger and often had two keyboards and pedal board, and these were big- 8 feet or more wide, maybe 3-4 feet deep and would touch the ceiling in most houses today, most had fake wood pipes on the front and these are probably closer to 800 pounds.

I have the former in my house and restored it, I have rebuilt the latter at work but we were never able to get it to function- the windchest had too many cracks and air leaks and the boss didn't want to devote more shop time on it, so it sits still in the warehouse where it's been the last 8 years.
You would enjoy one of the parlor organ rebuildings, and these instruments can often be found at garage sales, auctions etc fairly cheap. Mine was $125 but the seller kept the bench as they bought a piano. One of these days I'll build the bench for it that I already designed the two sides for some time ago.
The most difficult part of restoring these is recovering the bellows, it can be a little tricky and the special rubberized fabric for this is not easy for those not in the trade to obtain, it's also fairly expensive- about $150

As a consequence many of these little organs don't work any more and just sit in people's living rooms as show pieces.



oak hardwood floor in my livingroom that still has its original factory finish,

If this is fairly recently made, it would probably be that ultraviolent cured urethane finish they apply to all this commercially made flooring.

lostnyc
09-13-2007, 12:35 PM
This was the oak timeclock I had that I mentioned above, sorry about the poor photo, it's a crop from a much larger one, the only photo I have of it that I can think of.
The dial as can be seen had most of it's paint peeled off to the bare metal. I don't remember refinishing or doing much to it other than replacing the broken pendulum rod, I probably painted the hands white so I could see them against the dark metal.

Photo is from around 1979

harold bain
09-13-2007, 02:47 PM
Nice punch clock Randall. Not enough detail to tell who made it. They are getting scarcer, and more valuable. I have an IBM made in 1922, with the warranty card still attached. Might be worth having the dial restored on yours, if you still have it.
I spent today rebuilding the movement on my clock. Didn't need any more than a good clean and lube, polish anchor and escapewheel. I added about an inch to the swing, which was weak. Sounds much stronger now.
It is starting to look real good, pretty close to where I want it.
That organ I saw, I'm pretty sure had brass pipes, about 10-15 of them. The bellows would have been the big repair, I am sure.
If you have ever seen Neil Young in concert, he tours with a really nice organ that he uses for the song "I am Just a Dreamer".

lostnyc
09-13-2007, 07:35 PM
Nice punch clock Randall. Not enough detail to tell who made it.

It's long ago sold with everything else back then before I moved cross country, I am thinking MAYBE Simplex, the gold lettering on the glass door was the name but unreadable in the photo.



I spent today rebuilding the movement on my clock.

Sounds good!



That organ I saw, I'm pretty sure had brass pipes, about 10-15 of them. The bellows would have been the big repair, I am sure.

I've never seen one with brass pipes, chances are good if it was an antique- the pipes were gilded or painted gold. Brass doesn't work well for organ pipes because it's too hard and stiff, and can't be worked, formed on hand madrels and hand tools the way lead and tin are.

Typically they are made out of sheet lead, or lead/tin in various percentages up to around 70% tin 30% lead which is almost always reserved -due to the COST- for the visible facade which is then polished to a near mirror-like finish.
At a certain percentage of tin to lead the metal takes on a peculiar spotty blotchy appearance when the metal freezes, this alloy is simply known in the trade as "spotted metal" and it's quite distinctive looking, almost like alligator skin in a way.

Each of these has a different tone from the resonance of the different metals and the wall thicknesses.
The only other material used for pipes (the ones that actually work) is usually poplar, sugar pine, spruce, less frequently and usually only in the visible facade- cherry, oak, walnut and hard maple.
Some more adventurous builders have experimented with polished aluminum with success to replace the costly tin in facades, but you need special welding for aluminum and this has many drawbacks for later repairs and adjustments in the field.
With the lead, tin and zinc, these are all soldered together and then worked with small tools, files etc to adjust them.
WIth my own pipe organ facade I hand stencilled the metal non -working pipes and stained the wood ones, the stencil design I copied from that 1888 vocallion whose dummy facade pipes were made out of solid wood dowels painted, gilded accents and stencilled.

The other metal used is sheet zinc.

harold bain
12-10-2007, 04:11 PM
I thought it was time to update this thread. Just about done with this case refinishing, and I am happy with the results. Just needs a good wax job, and I am done.

Jeff C
12-10-2007, 06:06 PM
Nice work Harold :thumb: I've enjoyed watching your thread.

eclecticbeat
12-11-2007, 02:02 AM
Excellent job. You oughta bring the before picture over here. If it's going to be a permanent addition consider adding a switched, recessed outlet behind the clock so the cord disappears.

glr1109
12-11-2007, 05:42 AM
very nice Harold! I like the "modern" look to it!

greg

bob asbra
12-11-2007, 07:06 AM
I am a painting contractor and there are many times a customer asks me to refinish kitchen cabinets that look alot like your clock. What I have done to those as well as to a number of clock cases I have that look like that are: Lightly sand, dust and apply Varathane penetrating oil. It is almost instant how it colors, penetrates, seals and blends. I bought an old vienna clock on ebay that looked like a basket case washed up on a beach. I did the above and within virtually minutes transformed it into a beautiful case. Apply several coats will build up the finish. Bob Asbra

Bill V
12-11-2007, 12:04 PM
I use the the nitrocellulose laquer mentioned on my guitars, but I would never use polyurethane. There is a big difference in the appearance, and the feel of these two finishes. The nitro is a nice thin finish that, to me, really enhances the wood. Polyutrethane is a thick finish, and to me it looks and feels artificial. I would definitely stick with the nitro finish, or possibly a shellac based varnish, but that's just my opinion, and everyone has their own tastes.

I don't agree that "a clear coating is a clear coating". There are so many options available, and there a so many varying characteristics of the different finishes: glossy, satin, thick, thin, smooth, textured, tinted, clear, etc., and it is really up to the individual doing the finishing to use the product that will give them the desired result. It is also important that the finish brings out the beauty of the wood, as well as protect it.

Bill

R. Croswell
12-11-2007, 12:20 PM
Nice clock Harold. Thereís sure been a lot of interesting technical information presented on finishes, but there are a couple of important points that have been overlooked, or at least not emphasized. Harold, I think you said it best when you said, ďJust about done with this case refinishing, and I am happy with the results. All too often we feel the need to tell someone else what they should like, or experience someone telling us the same thing. While I welcome the wisdom of those who have been there before, in the end, if itís my clock, Iím the one who has to like it!

A clock only has one original finish. When we replace it, whatever product we use is new Ė itís a replacement part just as a new dial, new hands, new label, new springs, etc. are replacement parts. I see no compelling reason to use or not use a specific product as long as the end result looks appropriate. I believe that how well the product is applied is probably as important as the product selected. Most of us donít have access to commercial Lacquer and professional spray equipment, so thatís not a realistic option. Polyurethane varnish, is probably fine for most ďordinaryĒ clocks, or if one prefers shellac, fine. Now if itís a museum pieceÖÖÖ..well I donít have to worry about that!

Bob C.

Kevin W.
12-11-2007, 12:38 PM
Great job Harold, looks very good.Is it in your living room??
My wife lets me put a few clocks in our living room.
How many hours do you think of labour do you have in the case?The finish looks great, can i see a inside picture too?
What kind of accuracy does this clock have?
Sorry about all the questions. :thumb:

Bill V
12-11-2007, 01:31 PM
Harold,
Great job with the refinishing. Nice looking clock, and a very interesting thread.
. . . . . . . .

Bob,
You couldn't have said it better .. "I am happy with the results" is the most important thing. As I mentioned above, it is really up to the individual doing the finishing to use the product that will give them the desired result. Everyone has their own tastes, and they should feel free to do whatever they want to do with their own projects.

Bill

harold bain
12-11-2007, 01:48 PM
This is a clock I have wanted for about 40 years, so when I found one, I didn't care how much work it needed. I didn't keep track of the time I spent on it.
This is the clock I had referred to in my "Quest for Accuracy" post. I have it regulated down to a second or two a month, still fine tuning it.
Veritas, it is in my livingroom, so the wife's input counts.

harold bain
12-11-2007, 02:15 PM
Here is a picture of its setting beside my fireplace. The other clocks are from right to left, my Birge Case, and Co, my Forrestville, a Welch mantel, an IMB slave from 1923 and my Stromberg master.

Missy
12-11-2007, 11:20 PM
Hi Harold, did you ever find the correct wooden movement for your Birge, Case & Co. clock? It looks very nice along with your other pretty clocks. Good job on the refinishing. :clap:

Missy

Kevin W.
12-12-2007, 01:23 AM
Very nice Harold, your living room looks great.Nice fireplace and oil lamps too.
It is nice that your wife and you can agree on what clocks are in your living room.
Also i do like all your IBM clocks that i have seen, and they are great time keepers. :thumb:

harold bain
12-12-2007, 09:25 AM
Missy, still looking, but no rush to find that movement. I think I was close a couple of times on ebay, but didn't pull the trigger. I have mixed feelings about turning it into a 30 hour clock that I likely wouldn't run.
Veritas, thanks for the compliments.