"Brass Dial?"

Discussion in 'Clock Case Restoration and Repair' started by Ck777, Dec 22, 2012.

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  1. Ck777

    Ck777 Registered User

    Nov 10, 2012
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    Hi Guys,

    This is off a Gilbert Tambour type clock, and the movement looks much worse. I've already cleaned this with gojo, and Dawn dishwashing liquid, and it's still this discolored. I'm not sure if the numerals are painted, or wax, there are a few chipped spots. What I'm wondering is, what chance there might be of putting the dial in a cleaning solution such as for movements?
     

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  2. Ck777

    Ck777 Registered User

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    I suppose since many of you have seen this and not made any comment, either it must be obvious, or I didn't make my question clear. Rather than do something rash, I'll clarify the question. Will the cleaning solution remove the Paint, or Wax, whichever it is, from these depressed numerals?
     
  3. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    Answer: It might. But I'll try to help you, regardless.

    If you want more advice, you are welcome to contact me after viewing my website at dialrestorations.yolasite.com
     
  4. Ck777

    Ck777 Registered User

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    Thanks Thyme, ...will do.
     
  5. Bruce Barnes

    Bruce Barnes Registered User

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    Thyme does excellent work and that being said, how far do you wish to proceed when evaluating the value of your clock?I have cleaned dials with a variety of materials and have had fairly good results even carefully using Naval Jelly (only on flat plain surfaces}with a Q tip on rust and corrosion then blotting with Dawn and warm water.I would guess the US might be a big risk regarding the numerals and the chapter ring.
    Bruce
     
  6. Ck777

    Ck777 Registered User

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    Value is one concideration, this is not a "High Value" I wouldn't think. But surely I can raise it above the 22 bucks I paid for it. And this is all I had to judge by.

    Gilbert_Tambour_3.jpg Gilbert_Tambour_2.jpg
     
  7. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Perhaps the best solution without spending much would be a paper replacement dial.
     
  8. Bruce Barnes

    Bruce Barnes Registered User

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    Here are two examples of tedious cleaning but with fulfillment,build a pot of coffee and start listening to Christmas carols,remember filth and neglect are not synonyms for "patina".
    Happy New Year,
    Bruce





    acme copper 1.jpg restore level.jpg allis company.jpg restore gauge.jpg
     
  9. Ck777

    Ck777 Registered User

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    Thanks Guys, for your suggestions and advice, can ahyone ID this clock? Any information about what other dials might have been offered on it?
     
  10. Walesey

    Walesey Registered User

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    G'day ck777,
    I'v been off doing "Christmassy" things for a few days and missed your post until now. I notice Thyme has contributed already. You wont get a better restoration than what he offers, but it might cost more than the $20 you paid for the clock.

    Was it originally a silvered brass dial? You say the numbers are "depressed". Do you mean they are etched into the metal and then wax filled?

    I am probably diving in over my head again (I am sometimes prone to do that) but I think, if the numbers are painted on, they will come off pretty quickly if you put them in cleaning solution. Take a high resolution photo of the dial before you do anything, just in case you need to re-create it.

    Have you checked the "Dial restoration and Glass painting" forum? A few members (including myself) have recounted their experiences with similar problems. I had to re create my numbers by printing on to water slide decal film, but if I were to do it again, I think I would try to get hold of the inkjet printable dry rub transfer film, available from various internet stores.

    Happy New Year

    Walesey
     
  11. Ck777

    Ck777 Registered User

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    Hi Walesey,

    I did see several examples of Thymes' work on his website, quite impressive for sure. It has been suggested this dial might had been Silvered although I see no evidence of that, and Yes, the numerals do look to be etched rather than stamped into it, there's no indication of any impression from the back. I'm reasonably sure the numerals are painted, not wax. I was able to get a very small chip off which didn't melt.

    I'm thinking I'll go ahead and use the cleaning solution, but not in an US unit. If the paint is removed I should be able to thin down some quality oil based and carefully apply it into the depressions and let it flow to fill out the numerals. It may take Me a week or so to get to it! But of course, I'll update you all (with pics)when I do.
     
  12. Walesey

    Walesey Registered User

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    Hi again Ck777,
    Have a look at my thread. (https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?95207-ANOTHER-First-Dial-Resilvering-Project). It is not that my result was spectacular (It was my first attempt) but I tried to produce a fairly comprehensive photographic essay of all the steps. My dial had the same yellowish look as yours has, and it was not until I had it in the ammoniated cleaner for 15 minutes, that I discovered any trace of silver. When all the painted letters came off, they were silver underneath. I don't have a US, so it was just soaking in a plastic "Ice Cream tub"

    I would think that if the numbers were etched in, then they might be more easily replaced with wax than paint, even if they had been paint. Others will give a more informed opinion on that. You will probably lose the "Gilbert" name/logo and the "Made in USA" in the cleaning solution, but I think Time Savers sells decal sheets with those on them.

    It seems to be missing the bezel and glass. Do you have them? Perhaps the easiest solution would be to to purchase a whole new Bezel and Dial and install that?

    Keep us informed as to how you get along, either way. If you choose to do the restoration, take photos along the way so that we can all learn from your experience. Either way, we would love to see the finished product.

    regards
    Walesey
     
  13. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    Here are my comments, based upon what I know, in that it might help others reading this thread:

    The dial is a typical Gilbert silvered dial with painted numerals. That's the way they were made when they were produced. These dials were originally silvered and look best restored to original condition rather than papered over. If you remove all the paint from the incised numerals there is no advantage to doing so, as you are just making more work in complicating the restoration, by requiring repainting in addition to resilvering and recoating.

    If the tiny print logo is not incised, yes it will be lost. Personally, I don't do transfer lettering as it's never going to be as accurately placed and look as good as the original lettering does. Conservation means preserving what is originally there rather than 'wiping the slate clean'.

    The clock is worth more than the $20 paid for it (and the condition of the dial probably is the reason for the low price paid.) But considering the low, bargain price paid, this clock could attain an increased value beyond the sum of the low purchase price plus the cost of restoring the dial, after it is restored. :)
     
  14. soaringjoy

    soaringjoy Registered User

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    I agree with Thyme on this issue.
    Dials should be restored as properly as can be and it is best to let a specialist do that,
    because it takes a lot of practice and experience.
    Yours, with recessed numbers and index is a fairly easy one to do, but most often, you only
    have one chance of doing it right.
    It's so much easier to spoil a dial for all times, than to restore one.
     
  15. Walesey

    Walesey Registered User

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    Don't get me wrong Jurgen. I don;t disagree with Thyme. I have a huge respect for his work. My thinking was just that occasionally one might pick up a good clock for a bargain price, but might just not be in a financial position to spend much money on professional restoration. At least it has possibly been saved from the scrap heap. If we can not afford to do more, do we just put up with an ugly disfigured face that we would not necessarily want displayed on our lounge room mantle piece, or do we do what we can to make it presentable?

    I guess that the other thing that concerns me is that the number of people in the world who can do the job that Thyme can do is very limited, and in 20 years time, it is likely to be less. We need to find a way to train up a new generation of dial restorers for when the old ones can no longer do the task (and I hope that Thyme is planning to stick around for another 50 years!.) Even Thyme had a "First Dial" that he restored, and probably made a few mistakes along the way. That is how we learn!

    I was lucky to find an orphan dial in a box of bits that I could practice on. My attempt was less than perfect, but the dial still has no clock for me to attach it too. I guess I can sand it down and re do it as often as I like until I acquire some skills, but I will never develop any skills unless I practice on something.Others may want to develop skills in dial restoration, but not have the luxury of an old dial to practice on. If I bought a clock for $20, I would probably see it as a good candidate for practicing a few skills; clock repair, case repair, dial repair, etc.

    Thyme makes the very good point that the clock is actually worth much MORE than the $20 paid for it. A knowledge of the value of a clock obviously makes a huge difference to the degree to which we might be willing to make a "Guinea pig" out of it, but we do not all know the value of the clocks we own. Often we just collect them because we like them. There are probably a million valuable clocks in land fill because their owners did not know their value.

    I am probably ranting on here much more than is necessary, so had better "pull my head in" and be quiet.

    I do appreciate the expertise of the experts, but must also acknowledge that the more people who can develop skills in these specialist areas, the better.

    All the best

    Walesey
     
  16. soaringjoy

    soaringjoy Registered User

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    No, Walesey, you don't have to pull your head in. :D

    Of course, if an original dial in good condition is at hand, why not use it? Sure.

    What I wanted to point out is, that there are different kinds of dials that need different
    kinds of treatment for cleaning, touching-up or restoring.
    Some are quite easy to handle and others are a pain in the... back.
    What makes it most difficult is, that almost always, you only have one chance to do it right.
    Everything beyond that first attempt can make it even worse.

    I cannot recall, how many dials I have mucked up, when I started to have a go at them - and,
    please note, I had decades of experience through modelling, which requires a steady hand for
    a paint brush and some knowledge of the materials to be used.

    For the records, I would not restore a dial for someone else, that would be too risky for me
    and my nerves. That also being the reason for me not to give much advice on the subject.
    But I do appreciate the work others do in that field.

    So, coming to an end, dial restoration "from scratch" is not something, everybody can do.
    Therefore it should be considered carefully, before attempting it.

    BTW: If you use decals, there are solutions available that make them snuggle down nicely,
    even on rounded or convex surfaces.
     
  17. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    I sometimes need to tell clients that the cost of restoring a dial would exceed the value of their clock - so I certainly do understand and agree. The rule of thumb is: don't make it any worse than it already is.

    HA! I am 'on the wrong side of fifty' and it is a virtual certainty that I will not be on this earth in 50 years! :cyclops:

    A practice of any trade requires experience and even experimentation. I began by restoring dials on many of my own clocks - some I even deliberately bought with 'train wreck' dials so I could challenge myself and thus gain experience. As you mentioned, it is prudent to practice on a junk dial to gain skill and confidence.

    This is often stated on the television program Antiques Road Show: the item is worth "x" dollars in it's current state, but if restored it would be valued at more than the current value and the cost of restoration combined. The other factor in clock dials to be considered is deterioration from corrosion or flaking paint. In some cases if a dial is not restored in the near future, it may become unrestorable.

    Soringjoy mentioned:

    Again it requires knowledge and experience to plan accordingly, with an eye towards probability, before initiating any restoration. When I estimate a dial I sometimes cannot be 100% sure that the paint won't crumble as I am working on it. It can and does happen - and then I must be prepared to deal with worst case scenarios at no additional cost to the customer, despite the unforseen problems that arise as the work is in progress.
     
  18. Ck777

    Ck777 Registered User

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    Okay, I'm fairly sure this dial wasn't Silvered, I checked it over very closely, especialy near the edges and didn't see any silvering anywhere. Also, the cleaning solution I'm using is non-ammoniated Walesey, the numerals didn't come off this dial, but some of the paint has flaked off, and there's no Silver under the paint. I do have the Bezel for the dial,(Pic 1) it has three small round rod "tabs" inside where the glass fits in. I found that I had a glass, WITH a brass retaining ring which matches the rod tabs on the bezel! The problem is,(pic 2) with the glass IN, I'm not able to turn the retaining ring to it's needed final position.

    BTW, Walesey, and Bruce, very nice work yourselves.

    So after I made up my mind to go with the cleaning solution I couldn't focus on anything else until it was in. Seven hours, and numerous brushings with an old toothbrush, it came out looking, ...better. Then after it was dried well I couldn't resist hitting it about 6-8 licks with some #0000.(Pic 3) You can see a brighter spot between the 10,11, and the center.

    All the lettering and the time ring are etched into this dial, and really, all of it stayed in place! And with how the spot I used the #0000 looked, I went ahead and chucked it in my cordless drill and spun it using #0000.

    I like it! Now to get some paint back in a few little places.
     

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  19. Walesey

    Walesey Registered User

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    That Does look nice, Ck777. I think you might be on a winner there! I look forward to seeing the finished product.
    Are you sure that the dial is not silvered? It does appear silver in the photo's taken after polishing it.

    There is a technique that I have used when building model buildings (N-Scale houses, factories, etc) where, to get the look of mortar on moulded brick work, I flood the moulded brickwork with mortar coloured paint, then wipe the paint off the raised bricks. The paint lies in the grooves between the bricks and looks like mortar. Being in a recess, it is not wiped off with the paint on the higher level. I wonder if a similar technique would work on a clock face? (especially the fine lines?)

    Please keep us posted.

    Walesey
     
  20. Ck777

    Ck777 Registered User

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    I am, I'm quite certian it's not silvered now, whether it once was or not? Who knows, but I like the polished brass look of it, that's a big part of why I bought it! I figured, if nothing else, I could sell a Nice Looking Brass Dial and bezel for more than I paid for the entire Clock. But, if you look at the close-up of the "9" numeral, you can best see the contrast between the Dial and the (nickle, I'm guessing) surround.

    That seems entirely reasonable.

     
  21. Bruce Barnes

    Bruce Barnes Registered User

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    TEDIOUS but a TREMENDOUS result !!extra coffee and some "fa lal la's" and it does not look like the same tired and dirty looking dial!
    A job well done and will dress up your clock.I would not worry about the 9,gives credability to the clocks age,it almost looks like a tiny spear point.
    Bruce
     
  22. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    Here's a personal confession of sorts, and it is a fitting one, maybe even a strange coincidence - yet it's entirely true.

    About 30 years ago, one of the first dials I ever attempted to 'restore' was this exact same model Gilbert dial. As is the case with your dial, mine also hadn't any trace of silver left on it whatsoever. So I did the exact same, logical thing as you just did - cleaned it down to bare brass and lacquered it. Later (after having gained experience in seeing many more such Gilbert dials) I came to realize that all these same/similar Gilbert dials were originally silvered and none were ever originally brass. Someone in my extended family still has that mantle clock bearing that first attempt of mine to restore that dial. I'm not ashamed of it. My knowledge was less than complete, although my spirit was willing and my attempt was laudable. Neither should you be any less than proud of all the work you did for yours. It looks very good for all your effort expended. However, clock collectors will intuitively, or through their experience know that it is not original to the production of the clock or how it should look.

    FWIW, anything that is not original to the clock devalues it in the marketplace of collectables, and collectors determine what is desirable for their investment, based upon what is original or properly restored - and what is not. That's the way of the world and the marketplace. We live and we learn through observation and by doing (but not necessarily in that order, eh?) :)
     
  23. Ck777

    Ck777 Registered User

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    #23 Ck777, Dec 28, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
    Thank You Thyme, for your candid recount of your own early mis-take. My own knowledge is far, far less than complete, I very much respect your knowledge and experience and greatly appreciate your willingness to share that with others. Yes, You did tell me the dial should be silvered, I had no reason to doubt you, and many to accept what you had said, and I certianly didn't discount it. But, still, ...I was curious. I did attempt to invoke responce from others regarding whether they had seen a brass dial, and in the end, I simply wanted to do what I could, myself. After all, if it IS to be silvered, all of what I have done would have to be done, would it not?

    Of Course Not! Nor am I ashamed of this dial, anything I set my hand to, I set to make it something to be proud of, though my pride is that the abilities were granted to me. Nor am I ashamed to say I truly cannot afford your very reasonable quote to resilver my dial. Neither am I ashamed to say I can't afford a small can of laquer to seal my dial. I do have paste wax, I guess that is easier to reverse when I can silver my dial. That dial obviously wasn't your first re-silvering effort, but at some time You did have your first. I suppose this Will be My First. No, I don't have expansive knowledge of Clocks, that's why I'm here, but I most certianly do know "Originality" Counts! And this clock is mine until I say it's finished. But I am curious, did they fill all the etching, and then silver this dial?


    Again Thyme, I do Thank You and appreciate you.

    btw, what is "FWIW"?
    Chuck
     
  24. Walesey

    Walesey Registered User

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    LOL!
    We need some one to create a dictionary of all these modern text based abbreviations. I often have to ask my kids the meaning of abbreviations like LOL (Laugh out loud) rofl (roll on floor laughing) btw (by the way) and FWIW (for what is's worth) and the dozens of others that are used these days on any computer based forum.

    Well that's m2c !

    Walesey
     
  25. Ck777

    Ck777 Registered User

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    Thanks Walesey, I can usually figure them out, dunno why that escaped me.
     

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