Benjamin Morrill, Boscawen, New Hampshire Mirror Clock

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by JDCKent, May 21, 2017.

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  1. JDCKent

    JDCKent Registered User

    Hi guys,
    Here's the latest edition to my slowly-growing hoard of horological wonders. This one has suffered a little recently (thank you, UPS!), and has become an even bigger project than I expected it to be after that hammer dropped. Very disheartening, but such is life sometimes. Jim D. already knows my frustrations with this one. Nonetheless, what hasn't been removed or shattered does seem to be of good condition and originality. Crazing on the black paint, and areas of slight flaking to the bright gilding. Suspected at first that it could have been refreshed. After closely examining the case, however, it seems to be the original finish over the entire case. Same (I think) with the mirror glass, and up until a few days ago, the upper tablet. Yep, and there's where your heart sinks (mine sure did). Someone had also at one time removed the strike train. Apparently, this has been a somewhat common practice because of jamming or malfunctioning of a not-so-reliable mechanism? Anyway, here are some photos. I'll keep you posted along the way with my restoration attempts.
    Justin

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  2. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hi, JDC Kent

    A beautiful and historic clock indeed, and well worth restoring! I, too, sadly know the horror of broken glass at the hands of various shippers. It is so very sad!

    I do know that there are some artists who specialize in broken glass repair in cases like yours, in particular Karen Smallwood, who does very good work. Since your breaks are thankfully clean, the repair job should be a bit easier.

    In the meantime, consider installing a proper sized old piece of replacement glass, and behind that place a digitally-repaired image, like the one I've done here. If you will provide me the exact size of the glass you need and a high quality jpeg image of your glass, I can re-do the image in that size. It will be little trouble. If you think you want to go this route, I would be more than happy to do a better job (this one was about 15 minutes) and one in the correct size. I would be proud to do it for you as my gift, as I have LOTS of time and it would be fun. Forgive the large images, but I wanted you to be able to compare.

    PS: I also took the liberty of repairing the areas of missing paint, but can undo that if you wish. It's up to you!

    Let me know,

    George 305431.jpg 305432.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  3. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    OOPS! Boy, this is what I get for posting in the early morning. The glass restorer I was trying to tell you about is LINDA ABRAMS, not Ms. Smallwood of the Dial House. I'm so sorry for the confusion!

    Here is Linda's contact info. She has done work for me and is top notch!

    [FONT=&quot]Linda Abrams, Reverse Painting on Glass[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]54 Fuller Street, Waltham, MA 02453 (781)647-0672[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]E-Mail: [/FONT]lindabrams@yahoo.com


    Really, really stupid George
     
  4. JDCKent

    JDCKent Registered User

    Thank you so much, George! Your digital work is excellent! Do you use Adobe? I'm going to probably try my hand at repairing it. I worked for several years in a glass shop in Seattle, where we had to occasionally hand-cut curvy and funky patterns just by following the line by eye. This shouldn't be too bad since it's a consistent and even radius. I'll cut each piece of the broken clear center dial opening away and have an even radius cut from a nice piece of old glass, and carefully attach each of the broken pieces back together and around the solid center piece. If I were to glue them as is, I'm certain the refraction from the cracks would be much too visible and obvious. It's about the best solution I can come up with for salvaging and keeping the original glass with the clock. Like you pointed out, at least the breaks are clean and pass through darker painted areas, helping reduce the visibility of the damage (save for the existing crack through the leaf decoration in the corner).
    Here are a couple auction house photos of the condition it used to be in (damnit)..

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  5. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    wait wait... i stumbled onto this guy's site just the other night while looking for a replacement piece of glass for my anglo-american/new haven: https://goo.gl/SdZLux

    from the examples on his site, he might be able to fuse your glass back together. and if he can do that, there might be others who offer that services as well... worth a call, yes?

    good luck!
     
  6. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    JDCKent,

    Please keep us all informed of the progress of your restoration! It will be interesting, to say the least...

    The hands on this clock are quite delicate, well formed and beautiful! You are lucky to have them!

    Your thoughts on the glass restoration are interesting. I don't have the talent to do precise glass cutting like you do, but your thoughts and ideas about the repair seem sound to me. Repairing clear glass breakage is the most difficult of all the challenges, and removing/replacing that section seems to me to be the only way to go when deciding to save it. I'd love to know what glue you would use for this: Superglue or the newfangled cured-by-UV light type? Something else?

    As a totally off-topic aside, I lived in Washington state for many years, and graduated high school from a small town outside of Seattle named Monroe. Of all of the states I've lived in, Washington is by far my favorite! Way too expensive for me now, but boy, would I LOVE to live there again!

    Back to topic, yes, I do use a cheap version of Adobe Elements to do some of my digital restoration, and also an old, out of date program by Microsoft called PictureIt, which functions in much the same way. It is now long out of date and no longer offered or supported by Microsoft, but I got used to it many years ago and did not make the switch to the Adobe products until about a year ago. Still learning with this one, and probably will be for a very long time. Even the limited version has SO many features and abilities! Of course Adobe is the best, but their full programs are so gosh darn expensive!

    Seeing the original pics from the auction made me very sad. Your clock has lived for 197 years relatively unscathed until our beloved UPS gave it a wrong way toss (or two, or three, or...). I'd be interested to know how they handle an insurance claim like this one, where you want to keep the product even because of its (supposed) reduced value. Let us know about that also, as I'm quite curious.

    Promise to keep us informed about your wonderful clock, OK?

    All my best,

    George
     
  7. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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    Do you think that the movement is original to the case?

    I have never seen a NH mirror clock movement that has the 3 standoffs that appear to have been used to attach a false plate to a dial. Your dial would not have had a false plate attached.

    With respect to the movement, other than the strike train having been removed, didn't someone move the anchor arbor?

    I would say that the movement came from a completely different clock.

    Did you take photos on how the movement is attached to the case and whether there are any extra holes in the case near where the movement is attached, indicating that there may have been a different movement in the clock?
     
  8. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Smike:

    Great find! I spent an hour or so looking at everything. This guy has talent!

    Best to all,

    George
     
  9. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    What a gorgeous find! It's a real shame about the glass. If only the mirror had broken instead!
     
  10. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Dick C,

    Those "standoffs" you reference are the remaining posts from where the various strike levers were originally located. There is not much to suggest this movement is incorrect for this case. It is a Morrill movement, it is a Morrill case, the dial is signed Morrill, and it all fits together. Morrill often had escapements mounted to the sides of many of his works, so that is not suspect in my thinking, at all. Here are a couple of examples of other Morrill T&S mirror clock movements...he was not consistent in his designs, they vary from clock to clock to some extent. 305522.jpg 305523.jpg 305524.jpg
     
  11. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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    Jim,

    thanks for the clarification
     
  12. JDCKent

    JDCKent Registered User

    Thank you for that contact, Smike! He does some very nice work there. I'll send him, along with a couple other contacts I was given, some pics of the pieces. I'll let you know what I find out.

    Thanks, George, I will! Wish I had the hour hand that's pictured with the clock from the previous auction house. I wish I would've grabbed it from there instead of the auction house it ended up after. It didn't sell the first time around, when it was obviously more complete, original, and unmolested. The later iron weight that came with it wasn't even the one pictured. I pointed this out to the manager, and the response I got was "it was the one that came with the clock." I'm going to see if he can maybe be cooperative enough to at least contact the previous owner, and maybe (just maybe) locate the hour hand.

    I know Monroe and all the neighboring towns east along HWY-2 well! Lived next door in Snohomish for many years, and went to high school in Mill Creek. Since living east of the mountains, I can say I sure don't miss the worsening traffic congestion and that constant cold damp gray weather. It is a beautiful area though. Yeah, the cost of living anywhere near Seattle right now is just insane!

    Thank you, Jean! Saw some pics on Facebook of that beautiful replica you made. Very nice!! With regards to the broken tablet, this seems to be the way it usually goes. I remember another similar and devastating situation that arrived to me in the mail about 10 or 12 years ago, that involved a lovely old federal mirror that I had purchased at auction. The upper eglomise with Washington's portrait was shattered into about a million or so pieces, but the mirror of course was completely fine and intact. Go figure!

    Justin Kent
     
  13. JDCKent

    JDCKent Registered User

    Here's the work I've done so far on this piece. I've got the hour hand shaped, filed, and finished to where it looks like a fairly close match to the minute hand. It's tricky getting the bluing, tarnish, and points of wear just right...

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    The glass however did crack in one additional spot when cutting away the clear portion of the dial window. I was able to find some thin pieces of old wavy glass to cut the radius from, and managed to achieve a nice clean even run all the way around. There's only a very slight (like <1/4mm) bit of movement in all directions when it's placed inside the outer broken pieces..

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    The pieces will now be packaged and sent off to be expertly assembled and touched up. The rest of the clock will soon be off to the repair shop, and before long will have a clean and functioning time mechanism. A re-build of the strike train might have to wait a bit longer.
     
  14. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    looking good... really impressed
     
  15. Raymond Rice

    Raymond Rice Registered User
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    Very impressive work on the glass!

    Ray Rice
     
  16. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    Yeah. Boy, I would have liked to watch that process.

    Tom
     
  17. JDCKent

    JDCKent Registered User

    #17 JDCKent, Jul 14, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
    Thanks for the comments guys. The glass work did require a little thought, strategy, and certainly some patience. It wasn't until the fourth try that I made a nearly ideal radius cut, having the tight fit and clean run that I was aiming for. I actually cut the radius piece first, followed by the radius cutout of the old broken pieces.

    The trick with keeping the run even, without it becoming wavy or rough, is to keep the pliers about an inch back from the front of the run, and about 1/8" from the score. Increase the force of pressure consistently and slowly until you see the refraction of the run. With glass this thick, it'll run 1/2"-1" as you work your way along. When the run has made the full 360, I take the hand cutter and make four score marks, one on each side, midway from the edge of the circle and down and off. Usually the center breaks free after the first or second of the quarter breaks.

    On the original tablet pieces, I first cut away the sharpe ends of each that pointed inward towards the center break, scoring and breaking off around 1/2" away from the edge of the paint and gilding. This was to make it easier to use the glass pliers in gripping and breaking each piece. I knew that I wouldn't have to adjust the cutter head, since the suction cup on the cutter would sit 1/16" lower, therefore raising the angle of the cutters arm slightly, theoretically increasing the overall diameter just enough for the circular piece to fit.

    I taped each of the broken outer pieces together as tightly against the break as possible, then to the flat surface that it was set on. Was very nervous when using the circle cutter on the original glass, since I had to judge carefully the amount of downward pressure I had to apply on the handle in order to score the glass well enough. At the same time, I didn't want to apply too much pressure and accidentally create new runs/breaks in weak areas (which did unfortunately happen on one piece). It took some time lining up the cutter evenly all the way around. I had to make sure that the cut would stay just a hair to the inside of the black line that borders the gold leaf.

    I feel fairly confident that when finished it'll be hard to discern with the naked eye (unless upon close examination) that the glass had ever been shattered. Very glad I went this route instead of having it glued the way it was, or replacing it altogether.
     
  18. Jim DuBois

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    That is some very nice work! Good save!
     
  19. JDCKent

    JDCKent Registered User

    #19 JDCKent, Jul 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
    Thanks Jim! :)
     
  20. JDCKent

    JDCKent Registered User

    Nearly 6 months later, the glass tablet has returned.. completely restored and in one piece! :D

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  21. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    I'm impressed with the results. Can't wait to see it all back together!
     
  22. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Really amazing! It takes a special person to put the time, effort and expense to properly restore a wonderful clock like yours. You should be quite proud!

    Best,

    George N.
     
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  23. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Wonderful restoration! Thanks for sharing, JDCKent! She is a beauty indeed.

    Best always,

    George N.
     
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  24. JDCKent

    JDCKent Registered User

    #25 JDCKent, Jan 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
    Thanks so much, George! I'll upload more photos once I'm finished with cleaning and reassembling the movement. I'm just so happy I was able to save the artistic portion of the original glass, even if it's no longer in its original ideal state. Now, if only I could find a perfect set of matching brass wheels for what I'm sure is a nearly one-of-a-kind rack and snail strike train arrangement. :(
     
  25. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    There have been times when I thought an elusive part or two would never be found, but you'd be surprised at what can turn up with a bit of diligent searching! I currently have 37 searches locked in at the popular Internet bidding site, down from 53 at its peak. I have found a LOT of stuff I would have thought was im possible. Be tenacious, and good luck!

    Best always,

    George
     
  26. JDCKent

    JDCKent Registered User

    It works! :D


    P.S. please excuse the messy countertop.
     

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