Ansonia restoration project - Next obstacle - Refinishing

Raymond Snead

Registered User
Jan 25, 2021
Now that I know how to remove the trim from this clock, the next challenge is cleaning the trim. It appears that these pieces are of light cast metal. My father would call this pig metal. What is the best way to remove the corrosion from these pieces and clean them so that they can be repainted? The metal case will be easy once the trim is removed because it is smooth with easy contours that will allow sanding. The corrosion is worse on some pieces than on others. I don't have any experience with this kind of restoration so any and all tips will be appreciated.

2205 Ansonia Front View.jpeg IMG_7470.jpeg IMG_7461.jpeg IMG_7460.jpeg IMG_7459.jpeg IMG_7456.jpeg

Bruce Alexander

NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
Hanover, PA
Hello Raymond,

Here's an excellent resource on refinishing all types of materials. Case & Dial Repair | Horology - The Index I have it bookmarked.
Check out Ben E. Fulbright's article on Adamantine Case Repair. It addresses the cleaning and refinishing of Spelter Trim pieces. The first thing to do, of course, is give the trim a good cleaning. It may not look too bad once you do. Often, metal wax is all that is needed and you'll have a very hard time "restoring" age appropriate patina. Less is almost always more when dealing with antiques. Sometimes refinishing is necessary, but tread lightly would be my advice.

Good luck,

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Willie X

Registered User
Feb 9, 2008
Rub-n-buff is a good product. You may have to buy several shades to get back to a presentable finish. If the "corrosion" is actually a problem it can be removed with a soft brass brush, by hand.

Be especially careful around the dial. This is where many "restorations" go south!

Willie X


Registered User
Nov 10, 2019
I’m a real big fan of Scotch Brite abrasive pads as a place to start to try & remove that corrosion from the pot metal. They come in various levels of aggressiveness & work like steel wool with much less mess. If it was me I’d start there by hand. You could try naval jelly as well - but haven’t had much luck with that in the past. Next step up would be a brass brush. Scotch Brite material also comes on these little balls for Dremels & they really work well to remove stuff like this. Obviously you have to be careful & go low & slow.

Im sure there is a million answers if and how to refinish those accent pieces. Rub & buff is good + easy, but doesn’t look metallic IME if that’s the look you are going for. There are some good metallic paints today. If it was me; I’d lightly primer, paint, and then use an antiquing wax on those pieces.
I always find that the easy part. To me the hard part would be refinishing the case because I’m a car guy and I’m picky about texture/orange peel in paint -so anything like that I wet sand & polish to get the finish flat (texture). The corrosion on the case needs to be sanded dead flat & then primed & then wet sanded.

The brass colored visible parts of the bezel, face, & door are likely real brass & can be polished to the effect you desire if you desire to clean them up at all. That’s how I’d do it - I’m sure there is as many answers as there are members on this board.

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