18th Century case, sound but finish pretty much gone

novicetimekeeper

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Got this cheap I think. Close enough to pick up so no carrier, it looks complete with little damage to the case but the finish is pretty much gone. Looks like it has been left outside but under cover.

It will go to the cabinet maker in time, his skills are way beyond mine, but I was wondering what those with more experience thought it needed. It seems to be a decent bit of quarter sawn oak, and I have plenty of clocks that need a home.

An 18th / 19th century longcase - grandfather clock case in country oak complete with the hood (
 

upstateny

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I should think the first decision would be; how was it originally finished e.g. was the oak fumed to bring out the quarter sawn grain. Second; do you want to preserve the aged patina of the oak? e.g. sanding in preparation for finish will likely remove the patina, sometimes 350 Scotch brite (maroon) can be used to remove minor surface roughness while preserving the aged patina.

Good luck with the case. OBTW, is the original hardware there? Sometimes the original finish is revealed when the hardware is removed. If it was left outside, I rather doubt that the original finish would be lurking beneath the hardware.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I'm not sure there is any patina, it looks to me that the original finish has been removed by weathering down to bare wood in a fair amount of the case.

It has what look like original hinges and lock, plus an escutcheon plate, but that's all the metalwork. (there will be hinge pins on the hood door but they are not exposed, and i imagine the case is held together with cut nails which may have rusted badly, but from inspecting the pics I can't see that damage.

I think the original finish was just wax, beeswax cooked up with turpentine, I think it is too early to be French polish. one of my cases has the reddish stain that was used to enhance the oak in the early 18th century, this has a bit of that look.

I know it is not going to have that lustre that comes from 2-300 years of polishing ever again, well not in my lifetime, but I'm hoping it can come up with something acceptable. The pattern of the medullary rays on some of this is particularly fine I think, it could make a really attractive case.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Looking at the black on the hood makes me wonder if it was once ebonised, though that is unusual for oak. I think it may just be the deterioration of the finish.
 

musicguy

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I bet it will clean up beautifully.


Rob
 

shimmystep

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Be interesting to see what your cabinet maker does here Nick. I've had other furniture in a similar state, an oak cabinet, and have given a gentle clean with very fine wire wool, no scrubbing at all, and it has been enough then to wax it again, keeping its patina.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Be interesting to see what your cabinet maker does here Nick. I've had other furniture in a similar state, an oak cabinet, and have given a gentle clean with very fine wire wool, no scrubbing at all, and it has been enough then to wax it again, keeping its patina.
He hasn't seen it yet as he is away. Until I get it tomorrow I'm not sure what size dial it will take as the auctioneer was a bit vague on what they were measuring, so I have not decided yet which dial /movement to put in it. I'm thinking perhaps the obadiah body, the one you did the click for.

I really hope it is as simple as that though, I know that whatever he does will be an exceptional job but obviously I'd like to keep the labour cost down. I've used the wire wool trick on oak myself, I know it responds well to that.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Well I have it now. I think it is around 1730-50s and now I get to look at it in real life I can see it had the mask changed for a smaller dial. The correct size would be a 12" dial. I only have one 12" dial without a home.

That means we have a winner

https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/richard-monkland-worcester-born-1691.142715/

It's a bit later than this clock but I think will suit.

The case has a very poor finish on the front but the sides have faired much better. If it is going to have an 8 day fitted it will need a proper restoration to support the weight.
 

Sooth

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My 2 cents: While I'm a huge fan of retaining and preserving original finishes as much as possible, this one is pretty toast. That said, I believe it could be "gently stripped" by simply rubbing down the case with steel wool and alcohol. This would partially preserve a percentage of the original shellac, and patina, while removing the bulk of the crusty mess. Additional colouring, toning, and fresh shellac could then be added.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I don't know if this would have been french polished or just waxed originally. However I agree that the finish ,at least on the front, is pretty much gone. As it turns out te sides are not that bad.

The cabinet maker has seen the pics now and is rather pleased with it, so when he comes back to deliver the case he is currently working on we can have a chat about it. I have not decided which clock is going in it yet so he can't have it till then anyway because the mask needs adjusting to suit (and probably the height of the side cheeks)
 

Wineslob

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I would recommend Citristrip and try it in a inconspicuous spot. I restore bamboo fly rods and use it to get rid of varnish that has "melted down". It's gentle enough that it wont attack the glues used on the rods. Some I've restored go back to 1925.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I may have a new candidate for this, auction next week :)
 

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