A.S. Hotchkiss 12A Restoration - Let's Get Started

Discussion in 'Tower, Monumental & Street Clocks' started by scootermcrad, Aug 30, 2018.

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  1. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Mar 1, 2016
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    Hey everyone!

    I posted awhile back about a potential volunteer restoration project of an A.S. Hotchkiss/Seth Thomas tower clock for our local Historic Courthouse. After several years in the making, it has officially begun! It took some serious work just to find someone to talk to about the clock.

    The clock of topic is an 1876 A.S. Hotchkiss #12A, built under the Seth Thomas umbrella. It was installed new in the historic 1876 Courthouse in Concord, North Carolina. It is accompanied by a 994 pound Meneely bell. The installation was designed to run four 34" wood dials and strike every half hour. The clock was later electrified in 1945. In doing so, they removed the escapement components including the pinwheel, crutch and related arbor, pendulum, and also removed the unneeded strike governor assembly and the related large drive wheel that went with it. All the removed components, except for the pendulum bob itself are missing and nowhere to be found.

    In addition to the missing components, I also came to find that the weight chutes had been re-utilized for sprinkler risers, communication and electrical. Additional changes included a "new" black paint job, glass back-lit dials and a galvanized sheetmetal box, which thankfully protected the movement pretty well.

    Here are some pictures early in the start of this project, after the galvanized box was removed.

    9Jdtk8A74xuSiqeeAXXn4u4EbcdNGRbhEOA1yxRPc4lkXfrfLbZdI2A8Sqw7qHtIzHDtlLyvEJCmUZVfeuX=w668-h889-no.jpg

    ZU8tnlKVb8lLvLEKh008MBlw0pOszDIHB7FQd846r_5yWXQYlu32Ym0c1xS5pjnE-ZRJVAxOtsjnQDlrg1=w1187-h889-no.jpg

    -Xv7cX7YBAL3L94YEq0BPpk4fh37AVTbIAxCH6WMGSiODwpaPFH2QzjVbExwTdLgpscZkjYvkn0jttEdRq=w1187-h889-no.jpg

    83Jb-GBzLXTwyn2COG4WnjlnnD-VSsgsK-9yvfUj2oa5onlCjf61tvvmaMNXK1kZ9JhjdY-0_IahmnMwjp=w1187-h889-no.jpg

    0mHpqzjDlNco2aQrnklYBm0u9V5CoCsAmyHfinwjulvM0z5FmMMreXZMKi5LsyqByG8UhYHAt4Eq8zwmHHM=w668-h889-no.jpg

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    pLc57BjTpDIGMm8X7L7jooRbxrRXldhcjULSEjwFpoWA0LQA_gmQwwlWZtRUqQsl435o6oLRQeBC6oF5iMr=w668-h889-no.jpg

    eV8a_qVPB16dw1l0huHzliOLMi-ubX1aB7vjrIgnmGXzB8FUANyaI6oQ5izeRyCOd6993bgDOSvVPGM6ox4=w668-h889-no.jpg

    FvtwbQ1cs82b_DNWQjkZhmDVFzeiwa7daHptwEv6BzNLCbtkXKX8jmFLyGcnkx8MPztszmk6ynHNAQLLZ7=w1187-h889-no.jpg

    6KM8F2XxgYAel9sQS8Y-PBCGWu88Mm1tBR64M-jS5-wljvcNLMR_9xnyIFA4GICDThJTnEZ7WcGFqY8If5D=w668-h889-no.jpg

    qIpSBwuS_rLKlotGIDW6WK9ydgtnR4NEMh9iRs0hke4ea0Kc5Ge1PkhlLTO9apCr-KHlYmKTbgZkxgXKwYX=w668-h889-no.jpg

    It took some serious leg work to get the ducks in a row to get permission to do this restoration. I had to form a 501c3 and build a small group of people willing to deal with local politics and fund raising. Once we formed our group, we had to show proof of insurance and all those wonderful details. The 501C3 gave us the ability to fund-raise and to hire a subcontractor, or in our case, a friend, Phil Wright of the Tower Clock Company. He will be constructing winders, new dials, hands, assisting with parts fabrication and restoring the motion works and lead-off rods.

    The county did not want to restore and replace the original wood dials, but instead agreed to an era correct back-lit dial that would have been of an appropriate design for an 1876 Seth Thomas installation. The bigger issue to tackle was how to return it to a weight driven clock without the missing pieces and without having use of the weight chutes. So we decided that an early 1900's Seth Thomas style self-winding, "endless chain" type assembly would fit the bill nicely. Phil will be working on these and we plan to make them as close to the originals as possible, yet stand-alone. That includes castings, lever switches, etc.. Phil also happens to have an A.S. Hotchkiss #6A that we can use to reverse engineer the missing escapement and strike parts. So, we have a direction and lots of solutions for the restoration, now.

    Hang tight! I have removal pictures and more details to come...
     
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  2. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Okay. Removal photos. Phil Wright, my friend Josh, and a gentleman from the County came down to hang out and lend us a hand, as well as pull out a few removal tricks to get this guy out.

    UocYY7tdJk23--0stydX3JPUTbRZKLs1IXp3UHgG3-Nw3scwTwS1w1fAzmdmrIjZh7IKa2Ni3q53MPCFUr=w1185-h889-no.jpg

    tclKgvoqg4pRb4n5WN3FOYQi7nYDu_3UEczVw5LBY9F5U-P7OZOq3Jnxvn6hLPP3zdhRyVEHFmCfF5JW0y=w1187-h890-no.jpg

    v1ihKYTj38zCUX1yFIvwB3KCzEVwsGNJ0wNQHE4Cd1zy1N11SzG6OlKY7L6KzdvRKUdQfGhwvsRbeqJKrv=w1187-h890-no.jpg

    s6giP1JCFPPTFH7-KX_Yio4T9bL8UFbEm7-LWih2iZpCiziS4RWLNg9_PAnwwhcoX9vfA0NKwUDhSLBhW5=w1187-h890-no.jpg

    mdALwIJWdKHHojFapvF0xYtPN8cRqnYs_xPx_BtycWSSFW91Cho2MfLlHX5DA5NuyVuFN_RjMJJPuomqhh=w1187-h890-no.jpg

    bAEc0OsPYRd-r9MS4_t2oYwzaPHN17BZSFIgRlo54BQws7GCydiN3FpzFxRd4WyzpLfAR_SQJxDpoE_yx_=w1187-h890-no.jpg

    Water skiing anyone?

    WhaxosBxOMklTH8IUWU4rpiBJFZBu94rzHxutG8u10DIoBGQtkNCFhZnYXvbdkTagEqtEvP5skDlRz-bNv=w1187-h890-no.jpg

    Down the first hole!

    ndk-aCVjLi9CmjPHeztWB-w5qCLKGiDCRTMhPldfUh8CUSc9qXFoKVEbxc47CZkslzHxkGwxRL-hV6iF3g=w1187-h890-no.jpg

    HQp9xKvse0-Jd-lUzfA6m5TTzbp3LWJHZ6jHBsIoiBMckifAi_KEqo2Si_eROm80UrrQqL6pzpR95VfxWF=w1187-h890-no.jpg

    S23HHuaFQyA2jm-iBnD38sOvs3F7f6ul8GEJ4ZshQ10qxPnqQlKXw9ckNieHvZXufRwy4JU_R0PwW-i_ZZ=w1187-h890-no.jpg

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    And on down to the main floors where it could be carried the rest of the way.

    nO3tdG3iPtX9vDKeza0SdmyMwElm03_XSDi6dSzXFSu9KONrs70DT6eE74pQ_FlUsuGEQjr4QZTslJ1Ema=w1187-h890-no.jpg

    All in all, everything went off without a hitch and nobody got hurt. :)
     
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  3. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    The plan...

    The stairs in the clock tower are in pretty bad shape, so while the clock is out the County will be updating the structure and making needed changes, including the stairs and electrical. They will also be adding a platform below the dial room floor for our Seth Thomas style winders.

    Phil will begin work on the dials and winders. The clock itself has been set up in my shop and I'll start working on the little bits and pieces, and I plan to restore the paint job, if possible. If I find that too much has been damaged or removed, it will be repainted using Phil's #6A as a model. His has all original paint. This is going to be a dirty job, for sure!

    Every part on the clock will be reverse engineering in put into 3D CAD so we have a good strong record of every component, in the even that something should break or need replacing.

    I'm going to have LOTS of questions during this process, but I'm very much looking forward to this.

    Thanks for reading! Stay tuned! :)

    (before removal)

    SkyDAzWYipWqL53Z57FzZZiKanxs7uaErCZkMz-xWAMm83WDVveFhOjbdGxLMqf35kQAHZJwDx-6WtUnr5=w1187-h890-no.jpg

    On casters and ready for fun!

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    Here's a teaser of the original paint on the chassis bed. There is/was some very nice pinstriping details under the black paint. Fingers crossed it will come off and reveal some decent paint to patch.

    MYq2zmdVu82w4Ue5dPNxNLGaooVGWs5XAlBEL3AjTv3KzO3_8e34jbyPNqrXqwtVfebi1ME6IqwF7wuZTf0=w668-h889-no.jpg
     
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  4. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Here's the #6A we'll be using as reference.

    IMG_0362.JPG
     
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  5. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    Thanks for taking us along on your journey!
     
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  6. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    A head scratcher we've already run into is the pendulum weight. The catalog spec for a #12A calls for a 75 pound and 8 foot long pendulum. When we weighed each piece of the clock, we found the pendulum bob to weigh 110 pounds. That is MUCH great than I would have expected. The purchase record does not indicate there was a switch to a heaver pendulum. Since we don't have the pendulum rod, we have to make a new one. however, I'm concerned that maybe something is not right.

    Was it common for there to be a larger/heavier pendulum bob installed on the same length rod? Seems like this would change a lot of things in the going train. We only have the #6A to reference, which had a shorter and lighter pendulum. I'm thinking the escape wheel design may end up being different in order for the math to work out. Everything else in the going train appears to be the same as the #6A.

    I could use some thoughts, here. THANKS!
     
  7. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Circling back to my own question and thinking a bit through the math, it seems the weight obviously wouldn't effect the going train ratio, so much as maybe the power, but the length OBVIOUSLY would, since it would change the period. Thinking about the #6A, it probably was a second and a quarter pendulum and this one is probably a second and a half, but I need to officially go through the math to make sure we're recreating the right parts.

    It's still a mystery to me why the pendulum would be 30+ pounds heavier for this installation than what was called for. The pendulum bob style itself is also slightly different than the more modern Seth Thomas clocks, but maybe resembled more of Hotchkiss' earlier clocks. Later cylindrical bobs had basically a flat bottom, where this one is symmetrical from top to bottom. I'll dig a up a better picture of it than what I posted above.
     
  8. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Okay! Finally got out to the shop and took some pictures of that pendulum bob. It looks similar to some Seth Thomas installations, but looking through pictures of other installations I haven't seen one symmetric on both ends like this. I was looking for some visuals of actual Hotchkiss movements (pre Seth Thomas merger) to see if they had pendulum bobs like this, but came up empty.

    Any and all thoughts welcome regarding this pendulum and going train situation.

    1PRGUMF09HK4gMR23E_jLHWLtvciA2uQJv3H4rJxg4qBB0d_dF7gTr3guhnjiSK-E41KYE1T6M6OH7p19ID=w675-h899-no.jpg

    R66oYOnBwHluG5a3PFD8oMN5ojBued3Ir66kRd4LkEv5e20hGA0HHZawn-aEypQ_TxW627XRxwF37w5Rvk=w1199-h899-no.jpg

    Ics0RfCFtB47dVMWORYLM363ZNo-a4U3WkMBPO-gls7UNRC5yxm6-g6Hq_U02QdPIVMi3rXTWFU4vkrzbL6=w675-h899-no.jpg
     
  9. SmithsBellandClock

    SmithsBellandClock New Member

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    I would trust what is there. From doing a few Seth #16's, there is a reason why that bob was implemented with that movement despite what the catalog states. We have an extra 125 lb bob in our shop from a #16 that we could send you pictures and measurements for comparison.
     
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  10. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Thank you for the response! Good to know. That puts my mind at ease, for sure. I think just knowing that it wasn't uncommon for a heavier pendulum bob to be installed than spec'd is probably good enough for me. It is definitely interesting how different it is from a standard ST bob, though. I would be curious if this design was used on any other ST clocks.

    Now I just need to back-pedal and figure out what the pendulum length might have been and figure out how the escape wheel needs to be configured to accommodate the length.
     
  11. SmithsBellandClock

    SmithsBellandClock New Member

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    I would say that the hole cut in the floor is a good indication that it was an 8 footer. Was there a pendulum box attached to the floor below? Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn't or was removed when the pendulum was no longer needed. I would say whatever you end up designing on the pendulum, leave plenty of thread on the bottom for adjustment.

    If you haven't, it would probably behoove you to build a test stand or pit that the clock can sit over once you are ready for testing.

    The reverse engineering on the escapement is going to be your trickiest job.
     
  12. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Yeah, there is definitely a slot in the floor, but no box. However, there was/is indications of a platform of sorts below the floor. Some rough math would certainly indicate the allowance for an 8 foot pendulum.

    Stupid question. Is the pendulum "length" measured from the spring mounting location to the bottom of the center of the pendulum bob (center of mass)?

    I've been thinking I need to make something for a stand, of sorts, to accommodate that longer pendulum. Thankfully I have high ceilings. HA!

    I should be able to back-calculate from the cluster back to and fill in the blanks for the pinwheel. We are making a few extra blanks, just in case, as well.
     
  13. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Okay! I have an update on this restoration. I could use some feedback and guidance on the condition.

    I started carefully stripping off the newer paint to uncover the original paint. So far it's been exciting and disappointing at the same time. I revealed some pin striping and some beautiful artwork, but a lot of it has been very much destroyed. At some point, anything that could be unbolted was stripped of its original paint and painted black. The base chassis and legs appear to have been the only thing not completely stripped, but there does appear to have been some sanding to prep for the newer paint. The upright plates were removed and painted, all of the wheels were stripped violently with a wire brush and painted over, and everything related to the motion works was repainted.

    There are some pictures below of the only original paint I could expose (so far). Two sides of the chassis have somewhat clear views of what could have been there, while the other two sides were pretty well destroyed.

    So now I'm at a crossroad... keep what's left and restore everything else? Or completely strip and restore every detail possible. I love that there is some of the artwork left, but it is so damaged I'm not sure there's enough to see. Ultimately the County will make the decision on what they want, but they will be looking to me to tell them what the right thing is to do. I would like to do what's right for history, but I'm not sure there's enough to save.

    Thoughts? I could really use some guidance.

    Pictures:

    HCGJQLDm2uNEVrEZ4y9rP4Aq4HTnoB0LLz5ehb585jlWTcBLhGua8G-vQp3s7yolbF1bp7B85aWtoj5d5A=w1178-h883-no.jpg

    This is the clearest side

    OmpbZurswdW-nhm4_GgBqkkTQreLK7FWixnSUppXj8pcPYrANSozUTHvqPBAJarzLLZDZgaa5xtL-Xu6iQ=w1178-h883-no.jpg

    Next clearest

    Ix0RBj7sIIEJbi1EBM4eJRTcO3gkPMrba5RhVYyLKPQuHP7g2Bz_Hd1JYRSm34jGkfQ8RIVasVOZIEdKyQ=w1178-h883-no.jpg

    And the other two sides that just don't have much left.

    EUGJ8HhxwgTj4h5OBZAgMU3JFdIiW7kRQNDDxtBlkf9yccEF5DeGUX2DcJP7QHwBxzuT29t5530RE_ua8Q=w1178-h883-no.jpg

    Basically nothing left on this side except a blob of gold and a couple pinstripes in the corners.

    vK06nJST0pSuuD9tStcuD9X9cvKXJCPQ9fujIt9K8scvvqGSwF0xEsyhv7XeLy87k7MS8oe4gcu17bu0ug=w1178-h883-no.jpg
     
  14. Rick Alhadeff

    Rick Alhadeff Registered User

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    Beautiful art work..
     
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  15. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Can anyone who has done a restoration of original paint offer some suggestions on rather or not this is just too far gone? With how rare the clock is, I don't have much of anything to reference. Only a #6A, and it appears to be different, but I'll be comparing notes on it, for sure.

    I could really use some suggestions. I know the County wants to do what's right for the preservation, but they also are anticipating a nicely restored clock.

    Thanks for any help!
     
  16. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    There's a 16 in town where I live. Bob looks much the same even though ours was made about 1904
     
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  17. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Does it have a top full-cast bridge like the later 16's or does it have a large top pillar between the plates like ours?
     
  18. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    It has a casting rather than a pillar to maintain plate alignment. It is also a quarter striking clock.
     
  19. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Neat!

    Yeah, that casting configuration change occurred sometime in the late 1870's, early 1880's, I believe.
     
  20. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Hey everyone! I have some great updates on this.

    Phil Wright finished our dials and we are going to install them Thursday morning into the historic courthouse. We're super psyched! It will definitely change the entire look of that courthouse.

    Here's how they turned out. The faces themselves are new, I used used SolidWorks to create some accurately scaled Seth Thomas numerals and had them water jet cut and Phil had them powder coated. All of the motion-works components are original to this installation with the exception of the bushing that passes through the dial face, which is still an original Seth Thomas dial part, but not original to this installation. Hands are also new.

    M_162kU_SrriWjH_IrKVQIVmEdEHdJnFdrdKphVnYh_Bd4dvVl2PL1nDKbQHfN8-_-Ks5x_HI8Wd4PPD65x=w548-h729-no.jpg

    WYO5Z356FILAIEQynEAEo7zp-8f6yPjxFgkME_TKkfYozEoaUtj75dr0jBMuPtnv4vcWoJy8_3SiXoPn2ot=w973-h729-no.jpg

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    Phil found the motionworks parts to be in great shape and only needed refinishing

    mgWg1LT96YEukRhtvAtb3lwnU5ku-C_W2hscrZkuQJCI11FQlnFT0hZ8Jb4wWEED3Fb9ushRSbnIToxLqli=w548-h729-no.jpg

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    And the money shots of the final products ready for installation

    VxUSnAdNt4ss3VFzXa_5vw5JXiDr5pEwjISSR6YXeAmdilk3Ev3rvcYC5dbr0z8ps4_Xkgdkjr5mM0URk8i=w548-h729-no.jpg

    rW90TLPDH-KJSvuWPFzE_FajE86udZwkMrHNq73Mf9hkrkD4tGeAD4f8E1MI39-OB3Riy4HKTNZT_lYyg8x=w548-h729-no.jpg

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    We are beyond excited!

    In addition, we have also hired a friend of mine, Tyler Nottingham, to take some drone video footage to capture the before and after the installation. This will help our fundraising, hopefully. We still have several thousand more to raise before we have all the funds we need to finish this restoration.

    Here's a few action shots from that morning...

    N5gRChMsnnXZj9FNjxigCy-QYgfHOWl66vzpA3BIQWpd6bjm6TaSX8hzhyVY5eIeO2xU4WGEwC4lRSEgTf6=w973-h729-no.jpg

    9o5_5mzvyzrOUjN-lm3YtTKgIqjh5Kx6g_7D4THimX-6t8GQaSKITQUH6ned73Z0AnuR9qYP1ieembCPI9r=w584-h729-no.jpg

    8I99_exVHBL_kFvhd34XCmBagjwDnTZ1Kl1IFeGtpm8sX_x0D3HgaN56YgYinH8UiKRDP8RdZmdTg2S-FqJ=w587-h729-no.jpg

    I was also asked to be part of a questions and answers session for our local TV station. I hate being on that side of the lens, but we could use all the exposure we can get to get the restoration done.

    JbZ_JcsSCPQz--2OldNtrhWC7bGnnCSCjyb5ir9ctPrYIQmXmTkQvOKNAp6qvBRvhNBUmKc-a69DMBT1pCr=w730-h729-no.jpg

    Anyway, until next time... I'll post more as things happen.

    Thanks for following along.

    Scott
     
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  21. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
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    Another update for you folks. The new dials are in and we couldn't be happier! It really changed the whole look of the courthouse.

    Now it's time to get back on the movement! Some more fund raising to do for all the pieces we have to re-make, but we'll get there.

    Some pictures for you.

    Phil Wright setting up the new hands...

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    Mock up before locking it down

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    One black eye...

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    And the finished installation

    DEHFanIbKA2rme8_gxRiH05mwCmXZnRDh_Ktxa2KqbYDZ7RBq4tIo7J4S4iCWPG_9vrQnbUnIgQAQLOo91w=w559-h745-no.jpg

    1HGStT0YeCakSBdOHHVu6af5ofeI7zQfc8tlKcjGmUB0HG-Dr3gJIOJyFv08CQiGYtYtyTpPAj8Z3v0qRWw=w597-h745-no.jpg
     
    PatH likes this.
  22. scootermcrad

    scootermcrad Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Mar 1, 2016
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    Hey everyone! I have another update and I could use some opinions.

    I am starting to uncover even MORE original paint and pinstriping on this clock. I definitely think there will be enough to salvage that puts me way past the idea of doing any paint "replacement". The question is, should any of it be TOUCHED UP? I'm a little out of my comfort zone, here. I know the wheels themselves will get fresh paint and pinstriping (since they absolutely have no original paint), but I would like to leave all of the original paint, indefinitely. My concern is that there's enough exposed metal that I think it will rust in those spots. Something needs to be done to protect it without ruining the original paint.

    Is it best to just touch up the exposed metal and leave the rest alone, or should the large areas be touched up to repair the original intentions, where visible. For example, there are area where clearly the paint is damaged, but the intended pinstriping plan is obvious and could be repaired. Either way, I'm excited to see this much original paint! So beautiful!

    Any input would be appreciated!

    exINo-4qDEkWqiRAbtIR0_UJWrPim2HEOWI8tyyJpTMu9fzn37dthPXB4k7bsOeOxaBVXkDt8JMDFTiVjOz=w737-h920-no.jpg

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