Cut the legs on tall case clock?

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Dave421, Jul 7, 2020.

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  1. Dave421

    Dave421 Registered User

    Aug 16, 2018
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    We bought a tall case clock from about 1830 and have it in our old house from the same era with very low ceilings. I have removed the finial as the ceiling in each room is about 1.5” too low for it.

    I really do like the look of the finial though. I have tried to find a shorter brass finial that would look appropriate but have found nothing.

    i ended up buying a nice brass finial online which I could cut the spire down to get it close, but i would have to still cut legs down on the clock to make it work. (Maybe 1/2”). There looks like there is plenty of wood there to do it.

    Would that be absolutely sacrilegious?

    I don’t think the clock will ever be an heirloom as it definitely shows signs of age and has many imperfections, but I do not want to ruin it either.

    Enclosed is a photo with the original finial (not in our house).

    Thanks
    Dave
    upload_2020-7-7_12-2-9.png
     
  2. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Yes! :(
     
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  3. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    yes... but how about some closeups of the feet and how they're attached? if they're a continuous part of the casework, cutting them off would be not good. if they're attached separately, it's possible they might be removable.

    what is the ceiling? if it's sheetrock, it would not be that hard to cut out and create a recessed box that could give an additional couple of inches of needed height... with the added benefit of being transparently reversible.
     
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  4. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    Why not? It's lasted well over 100 years now, so why might it not live on? It looks in quite good condition, although we only have one shortened photo to go on.

    JTD
     
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  5. Ozmadman

    Ozmadman Registered User

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    Showings signs of it's age and imperfections is what makes it an heirloom and valuable. If it is 1830 then it is already 190 years old and very worth passing down no matter what condition, although yours does still look pretty good
     
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  6. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    It's your clock. If you wish to vandalize it and decrease it's value by cutting the feet down, then by all means go right ahead.

    You've got to be kidding.

    If it fits without the finial, then leave it off. Least invasive solution??

    Also as suggested, might be able to alter the ceiling above the clock in a reversible fashion so it fits.

    Bad idea to remove the feet.

    Another suggestion is to sell the clock to someone might truly value it and buy something that fits.

    RM
     
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  7. Dave421

    Dave421 Registered User

    Aug 16, 2018
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    The ceiling is plaster.

    I think what I’m going To do is buy a finial (reproduction) and store the original one. I will try to cut down the spire on the repro. Then if I screw it up, I’m only out $20.

    I’ll leave the clock legs original too. Thanks for the advice.
     
  8. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    Good decision.

    JTD
     
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  9. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    It would still be good to see more of the clock and the case. Most English longcase are no longer standing on whatever they stood on before.
     
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  10. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    Yes it would be good to see the whole case. Anyway I'm glad to hear this one is to keep it's legs, it is a very nice swan neck mahogany painted dial longcase with nice hands and should be left well alone unless the base is already ruined.
     
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  11. zedric

    zedric Registered User
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    Another option would be to lower the floor.... Maybe not the cheapest though!
     
  12. Dave421

    Dave421 Registered User

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    Here is the result. I bought a New solid brass finial and cut it down. Removed the lacquer and put it on clock. Looks pretty good in my opinion.

    D2A235EC-BAE5-425A-865D-58F0E2F0D744.jpeg
     
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  13. Dave421

    Dave421 Registered User

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    Here is the entire clock
     
  14. Dave421

    Dave421 Registered User

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    Photo

    E8E68F88-2EEB-454E-9D8B-81597A937004.jpeg
     
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  15. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    what does it look like at the side? Those are really tall feet, more like legs. I have 15 cases here I think and have seen hundreds more, can't recall ever seeing feet that tall but I generally look at earlier clocks. Your case certainly has a Northen/Scottish look to it.
     
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  16. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Here's a picture of it inverted. Looks to me like it's more in perspective. But It's not my clock.
    tall clock.jpg
     
  17. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I've taken the liberty of turning the posted standing up rather than recumbent.

    tall case MB.jpg

    It looks like the viewer's right hand foot has had some repair/alteration. Otherwise, to accommodate a lousy finial, one would have cut down those feet??

    I don't think they're odd, though a bit of a late use of that style. The feet are a Hepplewhite style "French foot" found not just on tall case clocks but other case pieces as well. The height and amount of splay can vary. Here's one example, a George III chest:

    hepplewhite chest, english.jpg

    The feet here are taller with quite a bit of splay.

    Their use was very popular on this side of the Atlantic, too. Used by both "city" and "country" makers during the Federal Period.

    Here's an American tall case clock by Levi Hutchins of NH:

    levi hutchins hepplewhite.PNG

    Many other American examples with French feet...or did have them until they were damaged or someone foolishly cut them down.

    Here's a chest made in Portsmouth, NH that would be considered a desirable example by Americana collectors:

    Federal-Bowfront-Chest,-Portsmouth_280-12.jpg

    Here's an American "country" interpretation:

    Bowfront-Chest,-Grain-Painted hepplewhite.jpg

    It's a nice clock.

    RM.
     
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  18. Dave421

    Dave421 Registered User

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    #18 Dave421, Jul 11, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
    Side view. Glad you guys advised me not to touch them.

    upload_2020-7-11_10-34-26.jpeg
     
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  19. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    That certainly shows they are supposed to be there. I agree with RM, they are more commonly seen like that on American cased clocks, but as I say I don't look at so many clocks of this period. Earlier clocks did not have such high feet though many have lost what they had.
     
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  20. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    I’ve seen people actually have the floor stepped down or create a well to accommodate these tall clocks! I service and maintain one where the owner custom built his foyer with a taller ceiling! Luckily my old 1890’s house has 9 foot ceiling and can handle these tall cases
    I wouldn’t chop the feet off as it will destroy the case and doom it with all the other cases with chopped feet! I know it’s yours and you can do as you want. I always think of myself as a curator for my clocks and I’m only caring for them during this short time in their lives!
     
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  21. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    The feet are nicely proportioned; they definitely should stay. Sometimes finials were balls without spires. Not common, but they do exist. There are a few pictured in the book "English Domestic Clocks," though I can't say whether they are original.
     
  22. wspohn

    wspohn Registered User

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    I saw one guy that had bored holes in his floor (NOT a nice hardwood floor, of course) so the feet would socket down into the floor to fit into the available space.

    Sadly, I also know of one person that found himself in lust with a longcase clock in a store, had it measured to determine if it would fit his fairly low ceiling room, and bought it. Sadly, he hadn't checked to see whether the hood came off horizontally or vertically, and it was the latter. I think he had to assemble the clock in the hall and them carefully drag it on a piece of thin carpet into the room. I bet set up would have been a real trial!
     
  23. one1laner

    one1laner Registered User

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    Yes! I have seen this done with a few houses being restored. It’s a good solution and doesn’t look bad at all. And.... it’s not necessarily permanent unlike removing case work on the clock.
     
  24. klokwiz

    klokwiz Registered User
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    Dave, glad you decided on cut down finial. well done, and nice clock. Joe
     

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