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  1. #1

    Default Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim

    I'm finishing up an Ansonia "La Duchesse" clock, and I'm not sure what's best for the trim pieces. The original paint has some chips here and there, but it's intact and presentable enough, I think I'm going to leave it alone. The lions heads and claw feet are made of some type of metal I'm not familiar with. It has the look and texture of what we call "pot metal" today, but it's much heavier. It's non-ferrous, as i couldn't get a magnet to stick to it, but it did accumulate a thick layer of grainy crud on it. I soaked it in a mixture of acetone, ammonia and Murphy's Oil Soap, and that dissolved the crud and cleaned it up, but left it looking dull. The rings in the lions' mouths had some copper or brass plating that survived the caustic dip. I used some silver polish on one lion's head and it didn't look too bad; just wondered if anyone had tips or suggestions for something that would accent the color a little more. Polishing is out of the question on the claw feet. There are so many nooks and crannies you'd never get a uniform finish. I might just clean them up and shellac them, but I don't know how well anything will stick to that metal. There are bolt-on upper and lower "cornice" trim pieces that were originally finished in a dark, brick red color with some beige spatters, but most of that has flaked off. As far as I can tell, no primer was used. I'm open to suggestions from anyone who has done one of these. I'd like to keep it as original as possible. I may touch up the rings in the lions' mouths with a little gold leaf to make them "pop", but I don't think
    I want to do the whole heads.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim

    Do you have any photos of the metal work. Typically they are made of finished Spelter. Ansonia did a lot with the metal, which is relatively fragile.

    Metal wax is good. Sculpt Nouveau has some really good products for metal finishing, but they are kind of pricey. See this link and then look around at some of the other products they offer. They'll give you some ideas for future projects whether you decide to buy their products or not. You could also just use (or try) brown shoe wax. Apply it kind of thick, let it dry and buff it with a clean cloth/rag. The high spots should buff off and shine up. The recesses will retain the brown wax/color and give good depth to your finish. If you don't like the results, it's just wax and will be totally reversible. If you do like it, the wax will stay put for quite a while. If you would rather apply something with a little more staying power you could try the same "buff off" technique with various color paints. Paint on, and buff off before they dry. In either case you could spray a clear sealer to finish up. Not sure how well it will adhere to wax though.


  3. #3

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim (By: Time After Time)

    Much old metal accent pieces were Fire Gilded. The process involved heating Mercury, and is no longer done. It renders a muted gold finish. Not the bright finish of gold leaf.

    Some people use various paints to mimic this look. Others use products like "rub n buff"

    You might google "Ormolu Restoration" for ideas & insight

    HTH
    The man who knows how to make it work will always have a job, The man who knows why it makes it work will always be his boss. Website

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim (By: bikerclockguy)

    It's always helpful to have photos.


  5. #5

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim (By: Time After Time)

    Thanks for the tips, guys! I think I'll use a rub-n-buff on the lions' rings, and either one of the patina type dyes/paints or shellac. I guess from what I've seen on the clock and what I've read on here and Sculpt Noveau's site, non-ferrous metals don't require primer, so pretty much anything should stick.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim (By: bikerclockguy)

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    I used Rub-n-Buff for the lions' rings-good stuff. For the rest of the head, I soaked them in acetone for about an hour(before the golding)and then went over them dry with some ultra-fine steel wool. This afternoon I bought an ultrasonic though, and I cleaned the feet up with that; wow, what a difference! That's going to be a good investment, I can tell already. I ran into a minor snag in another area though, and I could use some advice. While I was polishing the brass dial bezel, the hinge came off. I'm not sure if it's the firs time or not, but I don't think too many people have worked on this clock. Whatever was holding it on looks and feels like JB Weld. The retaining ring for the glass is spot-soldered, but whatever this is is different. On the off chance it could be some kind of solder, I heated the tip of a flat screwdriver until it was glowing and held it up against whatever that is, and it didn't phase it. If nothing else, I'll try an acetone soak to see if that loosens it up, but I'd like to avoid that if possible, because the brass plate on the bezel is not in the best shape. Looks kind of cool and "antiquey" now, but I'm afraid of what the acetone would do to the plating since it's not completely intact. Dose anyone know if the stuff I described is "factory", and if so how to get it off? I figured I would use epoxy or 3M structural adhesive to reattach the hinge, but I have to get the other stuff off first. Thanks in advance!Click image for larger version. 

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    This is a shot of the hinge. Couldn't get in close enough on the bezel side for a good pic
    Last edited by bikerclockguy; 09-03-2017 at 12:27 AM. Reason: Added picture

  7. #7

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim

    Thanks for sharing the photos. Very interesting effect. I like it! I am reminded of the finish on our Ansonia "Poetry".


    That's how it was finished when we acquired it. It's certainly nothing like the factory finish but we like it. If you look closely at the Statue, you'll also notice the two-tone effect which is obtained by applying a light coat of finish over the entire statue, allowing it to dry, then applying a dark coat and wiping off the high spots. It gives a depth and "bronzed patina". It's really a nice effect but some purists would definitely not be interested in a clock finished in such a manner.

    The colored metal waxes also can give a very subtle effect.

    Here is a before photo of an Ansonia "Shakesphere"


    Here's an after clean up and application of a couple of coats of Brown Metal Wax using an "Apply, Dry and Buff" technique as described by Sculpt Nouveau. I mentioned that Spelter is a relatively fragile metal. I treat it like glass. Shakesphere's right foot was repaired/reattached (as found) right above the ankle. It doesn't jump out at you, but once you know where to look, it's more obvious. Less so with the metal wax finish I think.


    As to your Bezel issue. Hard to know what kind of adhesive was used. Apparently it didn't hold up so well. If you can't find an effective solvent which will not damage everything else, you could always carefully use abrasives to remove it of course. You'll need to roughen the mating surfaces anyway regardless of what you use to re-fasten the hinge.

    Spot solder was used at the factory but many folks are not comfortable using the necessary heat next to glass, paper dials, etc. I think that Sweat Soldering is the way to go if you decide to re-solder the hinge. Not sure how well and how long various adhesives will work. Bezel hinges see a lot of stress.

    Again, nice job on the Lion.

    Please share some more "afters" when you're done with your restoration project.

    Bruce
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    Last edited by Time After Time; 09-03-2017 at 05:34 AM.


  8. #8

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim (By: Time After Time)

    I finally just wound up grinding the old stuff of with my Dremel. I had that thought at first. but was a little reluctant to work on old, thin metal in a tight place with a high-speed rotary tool, but I was careful, and it came out okay. I wound up using JB Weld(original, overnight dry, high-strength), and hopefully that will work. I was really hoping to use the 3M Structural Adhesive, but no one was open today that carries it. I'm going to keep the clock for another week or so to make sure I have all the bugs worked out of it, so that should be enough time to see if the JB will hold. If not, I know the 3M stuff will do the job. Remember that ridiculous commercial(Elmer's Glue, maybe?)from about 45 years ago, where they lapped 2 boards and glued them together and had the cow walk out on them? The 3M would actually do that, I think. Oh, and on the Ansonia Beethoven, is there a clock in there somewhere, or is his extended foot the pointer for a sundial or something?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim

    Haha, you're a funny guy!
    The Ansonia Shakesphere that I showed is just an Ansonia Spelter Statue that we liked and picked up pretty cheap because of its condition. My intent was to point out the effectiveness of simple colored Metal Wax.

    Ansonia offered many of their Statues alone or as part of a Figural Clock model.

    Oh, and here's an example of the statue with a clock attached


    Source

    Hope that solves the mystery for you.

    Good luck with the JB Weld.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim (By: Time After Time)

    Cool. Ansonia definitely had the most "bling" out of all the old clock makers, and that's one reason why I should probably leave them alone. I'm pretty good at some things, but I don't have an artistic bone in my body.Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	355574 I'm waiting on my paint to dry so I can hit it with the satin finish clear, and I'm gonna call that part good. Here is the original trim(different clock, about 90% of mine was worn off)and my pathetic attempt at creating a reasonable facsimile.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim (By: bikerclockguy)

    We love Ansonia.
    They made a lot of different models which may have contributed to their downfall when the market went south in WW I.

    My advice to you would be to take your time. Clock work often demands patience. One of the best lessons I learned was when to walk away for a while and come back fresh after giving a problem some more thought. Since I'm not a commercial shop I have the luxury of "time". I'm not very artistic either but I've learned a thing or two on artist sites (like Sculpt Nouveau). There's a lot of art in Horology. Challenge yourself, keep doing your best and your best will keep getting better. Enjoy and have fun.

    Regards


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim (By: bikerclockguy)

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerclockguy View Post
    Cool. Ansonia definitely had the most "bling" out of all the old clock makers, and that's one reason why I should probably leave them alone. I'm pretty good at some things, but I don't have an artistic bone in my body.Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	355574 I'm waiting on my paint to dry so I can hit it with the satin finish clear, and I'm gonna call that part good. Here is the original trim(different clock, about 90% of mine was worn off)and my pathetic attempt at creating a reasonable facsimile.
    Hi Bikerclockguy,

    I'm not an artist, so take this with a grain of salt... I think you should experiment with different brush types and paint. It looks like you used one with short hairs and acrylic? I say that because I tried something similar with the similar results. For this type of work, I think you need a brush with longer hairs, and a paint that flows better so you don't end up with partial strokes. For blocky patches like this, you might also try cutting up a gum eraser into different sizes and shapes and stamping it. I would try a long hair brush for veins in simulated marble and a stamp for this type of chunky pattern.

    Keep practicing and good luck. You will be surprised how quickly improvements can come if you are willing to experiment.

    Tom

    P.S. I take it you are a biker fan. Is that motorbike or mountain/street bike?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim

    Honestly, I think I would start over. Unless you just like the "bling" of gold, the gold paint streaks don't belong on the clock.

    Don't overlook getting ideas and instructions over the internet. YouTube is great. See this video on creating a faux marble finish for example:

    The technique shown in the video gives a much different effect from the one your sample shows but some of the methods of veining and blending and creating random patterns as shown by the artist could be applied to your situation.

    If I were approaching this problem, I think I wound practice with different techniques, paint colors and supplies on a sheet of paper or a piece of scrap wood first.

    Just my opinion. I tend to strive for the original look when I'm trying to restore something.


  14. #14

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim (By: gleber)

    It was acrylic paint, and a variety of brushes, and I painted and stripped it 3 times. The first time, the basecoat I used had too much brown in it, so I want back to Hobby Lobby and found a better match. the color is about right, and on the 3rd try, I got the results in the pic. You're right TAT, they shouldn't be gold streaks, they should be gold blotches, at least that's what mine and the other examples(above left photo)had. I'm just not very artistic period. I can envision a design in my head, but I've never been able to get it from my head to may hand. The factory design on that was a basecoat with a series of splotches and just a tiny streak here and there, and that's what I told myself I was gonna do, but it's hard for my brain to do "random", and it always tells my hand to start making a pattern of some kind. I have been toying with the idea of scuffing up the clear with steel wool, applying a little antiquing to tone it down, and hitting it with clear again, but I may just strip it down and try the whole thing from scratch again. I'm gonna give it a rest though; I'm sick of looking at it for the moment. Thanks for all the advice, but I don't think slowing down or watching a vid is going to do the trick for me. I just have no natural inclination for that kind of thing whatsoever, so there's nothing there to build on. Remember in grade school, the first 3-dimensional thing every kid learns to draw is a box, and when they get that down they build on it and go from there. I never could draw the box, and still can't to this day. I get the concept and know where the lines go to get the 3D effect, but my hand gets them all out of proportion like a box that was in the process of being crushed. I don't know, I may just stay with what I have so I don't wind up with something worse. Aside from being a little "bright"(hence the antiquing I'm considering), I don't think it's all THAT far off the mark.Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	355654 The one on the left is the one I did; the one on the right is original paint. I ride a Harley FXR now, but over the years I've ridden just about everything on 2 wheels. I'm definitely not the woodpecker hat and Lance Armstrong suit variety, though! I lmao every time I hear those guys refer to themselves as "bikers".

  15. #15

    Default Re: Ansonia lions, claw feet and cornice trim (By: bikerclockguy)

    Okay. I hear you. What you've done doesn't really look that bad. There are no boxes in the pattern so you're good to go!

    Just a suggestion for now or in the future, you might have taken a dry brush across it while it was still drying to "work it" and blur/soften the lines a little. Kind of like pencil or charcoal drawing. You make a line then smear it a little. You can get very good results.

    Keep up the good work and have fun.

    Regards,

    Bruce


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