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Brass French Clock

macaw

NAWCC Member
Jul 23, 2014
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I'm looking for any information on the age and if the entire clock and side pieces were originally gold gilt. If they were I'll have a lot of plating to do. It's a count wheel, bell strike, round movement with no makers mark, suspension spring, (not silk thread) glass back door. The bottoms of the side pieces still have the gilt.
Thanks,
Mark
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P5230022.JPG
 

zedric

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Aug 8, 2012
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If there is any gilding left, then yes it would have originally been gilded. People love to polish things, and brass polish can cut through thin gold plating in no time, leaving the base metal. But the polish doesn’t get into the dips and crevices, so the gold survives there longer... doesn’t mean you have to re plate, you could simply polish and lacquer the brass if you like it like that.

But are you sure this is brass and not spelter?
 

JTD

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Sep 27, 2005
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But are you sure this is brass and not spelter?
I am wondering about that too.

But whether it is brass or spelter, you could restore the gilded look by using Rub'n'Buff or other similar products.

JTD
 

macaw

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Jul 23, 2014
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It's all brass and very solid. I'll be replating the clock and side pieces. The hard part is the preparation, the plating is easy.
 

Uhralt

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Sep 4, 2008
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It's all brass and very solid. I'll be replating the clock and side pieces. The hard part is the preparation, the plating is easy.
Just be aware that electroplating will produce quite a different finish than the original fire gilding using a gold amalgam. Many people don't like the too shiny finish of the electroplating.

Uhralt
 

brian fisher

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i'm pretty sure the original finish was put on with a process that uses hot mercury. it isn't in practice today because of environmental and health issues
 

JTD

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Sep 27, 2005
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Just be aware that electroplating will produce quite a different finish than the original fire gilding using a gold amalgam. Many people don't like the too shiny finish of the electroplating.
Uhralt is right. Plating (which will be expensive) will not produce a finish anything like the original. That is why I suggested using a hand-applied finish.

JTD
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi Brian,

it isn't in practice today because of environmental and health issues
There are still a few people doing mercury gilding. There's Dirk Meyer in Germany, and I believe there are some in the US, all taking proper precautions to protect themselves and the environment from the poisonous mercury vapour. As you'd expect, all very expensive!

Regards,

Graham
 

macaw

NAWCC Member
Jul 23, 2014
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I do my own plating so cost isn't an issue. I haven't heard of Rub'n'Buff so I'll check that out and try it.
Thanks,
Mark
 

gleber

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Jun 15, 2015
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I have used rub-n-buff on several projects and found it worked well. You can see photos and tips in a few of my posts. Search for rub-n-buff and posted by me. Use - not '.

Tom
 

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