Bargain Basement Stephen Rimbault bracket clock.

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by Chris Radano, Sep 1, 2019.

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  1. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #1 Chris Radano, Sep 1, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2019
    Yes, I know, this clock deserves better! It will get better. Stephen Rimbault (working 1744-88) is a well known maker, notably of musical bracket clocks. Some information about him can be found on the internet.

    From what I understand, this clock was removed from a house clearance. It's a standard double fusee, five pillar bracket clock with calendar. As you can see, it was in need of restoration. I did find one issue with the movement. The rack gathering pallet was found loose in the box. The post for this part was already broken at the pin hole. Minor issue.

    The case suffered damage, not being sufficiently packed. Further, it was unpacked for inspection at one point of its trans-Atlantic journey, then repacked (uh-oh!). This unfortunately is typical. But I can repair the case. The greatest blow came from the front door being locked, and the movement splitting the side panel of the case (being packed face down). Fortunately...I just happened to have, lying around the house, an extra key that unlocked the door. The movement is bolted through the pillars at the bottom of the case. Both flat glasses broke. And some old woodworm dust scattered everywhere. So the clock needed restoration, now it needs some more restoration. This clock had its feet removed at some point. Each foot was fastened with one screw, which may not have been sufficient.

    I was able to find a musical bracket clock on the internet, with similar dial characteristics. Probably from around the same time period as this clock, c. 1765-1775. 0288: Stephen Rimbault Striking & Musical Table Clock - Nov 19, 2011 | Neal Auction Company in LA on LiveAuctioneers

    Stephen Rimbault as received 001.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 002.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 003.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 004.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 005.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 006.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 007.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 008.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 009.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 010.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 011.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 012.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 013.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 014.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 015.JPG Stephen Rimbault as received 016.JPG
     
  2. Joseph Bautsch

    Joseph Bautsch Registered User
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    Beautiful clock. I love the engraving on the back. Fortunately the works did not receive more damage in shipment. Looks like the case will require a lot of work getting it back in good shape. Post photos when you are finished restoring.
     
  3. zedric

    zedric Registered User
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    You’re on a roll. That’s another fantastic clock
     
  4. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Stephen Rimbault (working 1744-88) was a famous clock maker of Huguenot descent. Rimbault was particularly noted for his 'twelve-tuned Dutchmen', clocks which played twelve tunes and had moving figures in front of decorated backgrounds and had a workshop was located at Great Andrew's Street, St Giles. These were usually painted by a famous painter Zoffany who Rimbault employed while he was almost destitute after his migration to England. Zoffany is said to have made the portrait below in gratitude to Rimbault. This portrait is now in the Tate Gallery.


    upload_2019-9-2_16-44-56.png
     
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  5. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    What a great clock to get which will be wonderful once restored. One of Rimbault's musical bracket clocks is shown in Britten's Old Clocks & Watches & Their Makers, pages 391-3. It dates to around 1780 and plays 6 tunes on eleven bells, Britten has him at 7 Great St. Andrews Street 1760-81. There is a beautiful musical clock by him in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford which I've seen.
     
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  6. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    You must be thrilled to get that clock! Rimbault was one of the best makers in middle of 18thC. The movement is extremely high quality and the case is superb. After restoration this will be fine example of top quality bracket clocks from the 18thC. I look forward to photos of the restoration! Cheers Dean
     
  7. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Thanks people. Yes Dean, I feel very fortunate. Actually lucky. I wasn't looking for any particular maker, and have become familiar with Stephen Rimbault by constant browsing of clocks, as well as reading books. I have become a bit annoyed after examining the case damage. I can glue the damage pretty straight forward. But still, it seems unnecessary. I am not able to find a 1/2" piece of door bead molding, which is annoying. I would feel better if I had all the pieces. I can probably take a piece of the same molding off the back foot and use it in a more visible area. But I know after some time passes post-repair feelings will change for the better.

    This type of clock suits me better than those fine musical clocks, I feel they're too rich for my blood!
     
  8. novicetimekeeper

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    I'm with you, though I do like the pull repeat types with 6 or 8 bells I can't really afford them. Anything that routinely chimes on the quarters would be totally wasted here as they wouldn't be allowed to do that!
     
  9. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    Very nice piece. Once the case is repaired you will have a very fine show piece.
    I worked on this "Green Giant" for a customer. It is another Stephen Rimbault. I like your betters. It would fit in my house :D

    Green Tall Case -1.jpg
     
  10. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Wow, that's really interesting. I suppose it's a musical longcase (with alarm)? The pic of the interior is interesting on many levels. I wonder if the clock case was made in France, or England. Also, how all the decor in that interior matches, must've been a lot of work to put everything together. I'm sure a lot of people would assume the clock is French. I have another Anglo-Franco concoction from maybe 30-40 years later:
    I got that grandiose clock I always wanted.

    As far as the Rimbault bracket clock goes, work is about to commence. I have to buy a few things, including glue. I found someone to carve the bead molding, but he says he's booked until November. For this clock I only need about 1/2" missing bead molding for the door, but I can use another 1.5" for a piece that was already missing off the back foot.

    The case is in 3 separate pieces now. It's nice the side frets at least are intact. I see at least one side fret is cracked probably from someone trying to grab the case from the sides to lift. But I noticed the top handle appears to be strong (which is not always the case), so the clock can be lifted from the top. The top left front door fret had a hole blown out in transit. I found the small piece that broke out. I am thinking to repair that with an inner patch of shim stock. it's a small piece and this would be an unconventional solution. But I feel when I repair that piece it will be largely unnoticeable, and even reversible.
     
  11. zedric

    zedric Registered User
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    I would absolutely assume that the Green giant was French, with the case and dial looking like that. I guess both Stephen and Paul Rimbault were of French descent..
     
  12. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    I suppose technically Stephen Rimbault was an English clockmaker. But if one really delves into the origin of the "Green Giant", the picture isn't so simple.
     
  13. novicetimekeeper

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    As Dean said, Rimbault was a Huguenot. Great to hear you have found somebody to make you some moulding.

    With regard to the use of the top handle, I would recommend never using it, except to steady the case when carried. I think the risk is the case fracturing more than the handle breaking. I use them when the movement is out of the case and unless hand carried in and out of a dedicated vehicle I always insist on the movement being removed for shipping.

    These things were designed to be carried, it's why they kept verge so long I imagine so they could be carried from room to room as guests moved. Given their high cost though I'm sure even then the servants didn't carry them by the handle but by supporting the base and wearing gloves. You would want maximum impact as the clock was brought in.
     
  14. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    I agree, I don't use the handles on my other bracket clocks. I'm trying to figure out why the side frets weren't busted in, they're fragile. Either the clock was kept in a time capsule hidden vault, or the used the handle. this handle is strong.
     
  15. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    The clock was sold as French by an antique dealer. I got the thrill of transporting and setting up, about 100 miles away. It has 1 large bell in the top. Probably about 8" across. Case is in three pieces. They wanted it repaired with gut as it was when they bought it. I hope it never breaks. The 14lb weights will crack those marble floors since it has no bottom in the case. Never did
     
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  16. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Sandbags. If they are good enough for the Great clock of Westminster they are good enough for anybody. They don't just protect the floor but they prevent bounce out through the case.
     
  17. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #17 Chris Radano, Sep 9, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
    I don't think it's incorrect to describe the clock as French. It's possible, or likely, the case was imported to London from France. Sounds like the bell could be French, for a Comtoise clock?
    The large bell on this clock is 6", larger than average for a longcase:
    The French connection: 18th c. 3-train Comtoise, pinwheel escapement
    It's like in England sometimes early Black Forest factory clocks are described as American. It's not incorrect, because the movements were copied from American Connecticut clocks. To describe that type of clock as American, refers to the movement style. So they're German clocks, and American clocks.
    The Green Giant is an English clock, but also a French clock. I suppose you don't have a pic of the Green Giant's movement? It would be interesting to see.
     
  18. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I do not believe that I do but I can tell you it looks like a very typical English style movement. I saw no French characteristics to it at all. I did have to make a minor modification to the movement. I had to add a traveler pin to the barrels. It kept trying to wind the cable on the back of the barrel. The traveler forces the cable into the second groove as it comes around and keeps it from jamming. I felt it could have been an issue with the seat board but no one wanted to make changes so, add a traveler.
     
  19. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Thank you for clarifying. :thumb:
     
  20. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #20 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Sep 10, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
    I've been following this thread with interest.

    How fortunate we are that others have shared 2 wonderful clocks. Another example of how good the MB could be!

    With regards to Chris' clock. Though I'm pretty much a dyed in the wool American clock collector, I would have no problem having that clock in my collection...after being put back together, of course. I should also comment how fortunate that that task will be undertaken by CR whom I am confident will do it properly and sympathetically.

    With regards to the origins of the case of the "Green Giant", and possibly the entire clock, I would like to suggest some other considerations which have been alluded to. However, the thinking so far is rather compartmentalized.

    It is well known that as publishing, travel (especially of groups of people seeking freedom and new opportunities) and trade broadened, there was a dissemination of design influences sometimes rather far from their original source. For example, there are numerous examples of Asian influences in Western furniture design and decoration. Another example is blue and white porcelain. Let's not forget the persistence of traditional culinary practices that immigrants brought with them. Pizza and gefilte fish in NYC? The list just goes on.

    As has been discussed elsewhere on the MB, England (and her colony, America) were places of refuge for French Huguenots who brought their skills and shop practices with them producing objects reflecting those strong influences. So not surprising that one of them might have made a case that is rather French Provincial in appearance in England. Who knows, maybe for another French Huguenot who felt comfortable with that style that reminded him home?? Also, let's not forget that they may have continued to have business connections in the "old country" who could have also supplied such a case??

    To digress a bit, this is also very true of some other groups that left for other countries/the American colonies. For example, look at much PA German furniture, clocks and other decorative arts. But that's a whole other discussion.

    Unfortunately, my books on English furniture are buried on shelves in my garage and without the use of heavy construction equipment, I'm not getting to them any time soon. However, I do recall that in the 18th century, English furniture in the "French Taste" was quite the rage. Some produced by French Huguenot immigrant makers, some made by English shops that had to compete. For a brief discussion, see this:

    French Taste for English Eyes: Pierre Langlois

    Also see this, just as one example:

    english french commode.PNG

    Just offered for consideration.

    When it comes to case furniture, besides outward appearance, other considerations include primary and secondary woods, joining techniques, etc. when assigning a place of origin. For example, one may have 2 rather similar 17th century joined chairs. The one made from a wood found in the N.E. USA and considered amongst other evidence that America was its place of origin will sell here for many thousands of $$ more than the one of English origin.

    RM
     
  21. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #21 Chris Radano, Sep 15, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2019
    Whew, the case is now in one piece again. I can still tell the clock took a tumble. But this is the best I could get it. Keeping in mind some of the 250 year old oak disintegrated.
    I think the closest thing I can compare this damage to, is a weight falling through the bottom of an old banjo clock, or an E. Howard #70. I ask myself, would a weight dropping through the bottom of a wall clock prevent me from enjoying, or even purchasing that clock...if it had been repaired? To me, the answer is not necessarily. I suppose over time I will not be as aware of the damage.
    The damage is more visible on the inside bottom of the case. But the seat board (also the movement) will make the damage less noticeable.
    Now I will tighten some more loose parts and veneer. I ordered some Fusion Mineral Paint from Canada to attempt some minor touch up. I think the paint will match OK, but we'll see. This case was never refinished, and it will still not be refinished. It looks old, and faded. Even scratched. And has wood worm evidence. I will see how good I can get what's still there.
    I already made a key for the front lock. I will need a key for the back lock as well, since the back door does not want to stay shut on its own.

    Rimbalt case in one piece 001.JPG Rimbalt case in one piece 002.JPG Rimbalt case in one piece 003.JPG Rimbalt case in one piece 004.JPG
     
  22. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Quarter sawn even on the base. You can see now, though, why we insist on the movements being removed for shipping. Newton takes no prisoners.
     
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  23. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #23 Chris Radano, Sep 15, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
    This clock would have been safe to ship even with the movement in. It needed a larger box, and a couple inches of foam peanuts all around. Crumpled newspaper isn't good enough. Especially if the case was upright or slightly tilted in the box. After all, the movement is bolted through the bottom pillars. I feel less safe with dial clocks and drop dials. The retaining pins shake loose, or the dial screws pop out of the bezel. Taking the clock to pieces is best, but not necessary.
     
  24. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Stephen Rimbault's case is mostly back together.

    I had to send out for both break arch glasses, which I have. I couldn't cut the break arch glasses myself....the shoulders kept breaking off! The back door glass is in the back door. The front door I have to wait to put the glass in. The upper right shoulder break arch molding is MIA (approx. 1/2"). I need a strip of replacement molding, and will send out the right side molding as a sample. If someone can make the replacement molding, please let me know!

    I was able to repair the blown out hole in the top right front fret with a small broken piece I recovered.

    The front and back door open with the same key I made (very simple). With the fast/slow adjustment in the dial arch, apparently the back door won't need to be opened frequently when the clock is running.

    Other than that, there were older case repairs that had been made that were minor, and not bad. The back door apparently was missing much of it's molding, which someone replaced with thin cut strips. Many pictures of old bracket clocks I've seen, the back door is usually missing veneer, missing molding, or generally is not in as good condition as the front. I think maybe many clocks were stored in less than desirable environments on their backs, where moisture caused damage. Or, the back doors of the clocks were not finished to the same standards as the rest of the case.

    The back door hinges were fastened to the case with replaced wood screws. The front door, each hinge is fastened by 3 small nails, so removal of the door isn't easy. I will still have to punch steel pins in the front door to fasten the glass, so the back door stays off for now.

    You're seeing the worst of the damage in pics 5 and 6, where the bottom cracked open like an egg shell. The glue should be plenty strong, and the movement will sit on it's seat board. The rest of the crash damage blended in with the general age wear. Overall, the case has a well-used appearance. So next is a drop or 2 of touch up paint (very little, the old wear will still show), cleaning, and then wax. If the next owner wants to refinish the case, they will be able to do so.

    Rimault case repair process 001.JPG Rimault case repair process 002.JPG Rimault case repair process 003.JPG Rimault case repair process 004.JPG Rimault case repair process 005.JPG Rimault case repair process 006.JPG Rimault case repair process 007.JPG
     
  25. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Nice job. If anyone decides to reebonize an some point in the future the damage will be completely invisible. Black hides much damage on these old clocks!

    I’m also interested in some moulding. I’ve bought a moulding plane but have no idea how to use it!

    Nice work. Good for another 250 years....

    Cheers
    Dean
     
  26. novicetimekeeper

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  27. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Basically, the crash damage caused the case to break into 3 separate pieces (not including the doors). I didn't take any pics of when the case was taken to pieces. For me, gluing is a slow process. Not only do I usually only do the work on weekends, but the glue has to set for a few days before starting on another section.

    I'm not sure the side frets are original. But if not, they are well done and they stay! There is no doubt the case is 250 years old. Something to behold. Not the oldest clock, but you just don't see stuff like this made today.
     
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  28. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Oops, I got that wrong. Strike/silent is in the arch of this clock.
     
  29. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Superlative.

    RM
     
  30. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Did a little test cleaning of the subsidiary strike/silent dial. Interestingly, it appears to be pewter. I used cream of tartar paste mixed with conditioned water from our well. The dial cleaned easily, with faults. That's as clean as it would get. I did think the "silver" color survived well.

    subsidairy dial 001.JPG subsidairy dial 002.JPG subsidairy dial 003.JPG
     
  31. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Ha! You probably thought I had forgotten about this clock! Or, more likely, you had forgotten about this clock because you had more important things to do. Well, I am finishing the case now. Just cleaned, looks good. Told you it would clean up nice. Top handle is off.
    Note: the case looks similar from the front, and the back. The flash caught wormholes...I'm probably going to leave them as is, but they're not white without the flash.

    DSCN6995.JPG DSCN6996.JPG DSCN6997.JPG
     
  32. novicetimekeeper

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    That looks great
     
  33. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Looks great! It would be nice to see the completed case with the movement back in. If you want to do something about the worm holes, I had good luck using a wax used for polishing furniture (like Antiquax). It is dark, spreadable, fills the holes at least partially and any excess can be polished off.

    Uhralt
     
  34. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    The first photo is the front. The top left fret had a hole punched through. I was able to blend in a repair pretty well. It was highly annoying that fret was damaged...but now I forgot it had a hole in it.
     
  35. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Or black shoe polish, stuffed in the holes with a craft stick with multiple layers. But that takes too long, and looks too shiny.
     
  36. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Wow, it looks great Chris. Well done.
     
  37. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    That looks very good, a nice looking clock made by quite a famous maker. Well done!
     
  38. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Chris,

    Well done.

    Ralph
     
  39. daveR

    daveR Registered User
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    Hi Chris I am also following this with interest, you have a lot to do, and knowing what you have to do I doubt that any of us thought you had forgotten about it, Just see for instance how long novice Nick's clocks take and he is using a full time restorer who probably spends all his time on these clocks.
    well done and keep going
    David
     
  40. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Thank you everyone.
    I had to have some replacement moldings made, which took about 60 days. The replacement is a shoulder under the arch on the front right side of the door, and the back of the right back foot (which was missing for many years). Small piece, but highly visible. Both glasses were replaced, but they took about 10 days. Otherwise, work is done in small sections, and glue is allowed to set for about a week at a time. The case has been cleaned, in about a week I will wax the case, then it's finally finished. I myself am doing other things, I did some house painting and my day job of course, which makes this all possible. Lately I get a bit impatient with cleaning and waxing clock cases, I have to stay in one place for a couple hours.
     
  41. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Patience! Cosmetically, The clock is done. Although I forgot to clean the glass. And tie the little brass ball around the repeat cord. So here is Stephen Rimault, in his original finish. Or, is he?
    I have to say, the clock was well kept. It came from Germany. There was only one stripped spandrel screw, and really it screwed in fine for me. Only thing was dreadful packing.

    DSCN7022.JPG DSCN7016.JPG DSCN7017.JPG DSCN7018.JPG DSCN7019.JPG DSCN7020.JPG
     
  42. novicetimekeeper

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    Excellent result!
     
  43. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

    Feb 18, 2004
    3,662
    208
    63
    Male
    Pennsylvania
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Looks like it's ready to flip. Only I like it too much, so I'll keep it around for now.:)
     
  44. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 4, 2008
    4,805
    560
    113
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Looks grand!

    Uhralt
     

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