Elsha Hotchkiss Pillar and Splat clock

Discussion in 'Clock Case Restoration and Repair' started by David Spong, Aug 28, 2017.

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  1. David Spong

    David Spong Registered User
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    Jan 31, 2012
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    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I am restoring a Elisha Hotchkiss Pillar & Splat clock. I have all the parts, but the door is not attached and I don't know how it hinges. The door has a triangular metal plate on the top and bottom each with a hole in it. Presumably these plates are what the door pivots about. There is a hole in the underside of the top of

    about 1/4" in diameter and one in the topside of the bottom of the clock. These holes probably should

    hold the hinge pins.

    So my question is what were the hinge pins made of and how were they installed
     
  2. BLKBEARD

    BLKBEARD Registered User
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    Those Triangle Plates are likely your hinge plates
    They're usual just attached to the door jamb with a nail or screw.
    Your screw or nail holes are pretty enlarged.

    You can make a filler for your holes by making a putty of sawdust & wood glue

    Fill the holes with the putty, and allow to dry. Then drill a new pilot hole in the putty for a new screw.

    The screw is your hinge pivot.
     
  3. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Almost all period clocks (of the period of your clock) used pins rather than screws to pivot the doors. While a screw might be a better solution, screws were far more expensive back when these clocks were made, the screws were not self tapping as they were still blunt tipped, and generally handmade, thereby requiring a hole to be drilled before screwing something together. Pins were driven in using a single operation and were far cheaper.....just interested in the historical aspects and correctness in this regard
     
  4. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    I like to use the sawdust/wood glue approach that BLKBEARD cites as well. It makes for a solid patch which will also take stain well if you use a lot of sawdust. I think that's it's better overall than gluing toothpicks in the screw holes because they tend to shift the screw to one side or the other. If you're filling fastener holes for dials/faces that can come back to haunt you when trying to re-sync time and strike trains.

    If you go with this putty approach, something you might try is to form a "pilot" hole in the putty by partially inserting the fastener you intend to use before the putty/glue hardens. You might want to sparingly apply some Vaseline or wax to the fastener before you place it in the putty. Let it set, and you should be good to go when it's time to drive the screws home.
     
  5. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #5 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Aug 29, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
    Thought some pix might help, too?

    As already explained, a metal triangular hinge plate attaches to the upper and lower corners of the door. There is then a pin or brad which passes through the hole in the corner of the hinge plate which in turn is secured to the front edge the clock. As the pin or brad is smaller than the hole in the plate, this also allows the door to pivot on it:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pretty nifty! Secure the door and create a simple hinge that allows it to open and close all in 1 operation.

    This arrangement frequently fails over time as the hole widens or when the wood around it breaks out. Here's what it looks like when it is assembled, upper and lower (not the same clock):


    [​IMG][​IMG]

    This is the typical type of hinge used on many wooden works clocks including "pillar and splat", pillar and scroll and "transition" clocks.

    I believe it to be a cost thing. Simpler to stamp out a small rolled metal triangular plate than make and assemble a hinge. Easy to assemble. Cut nails were widely available.

    However, some of the earlier wooden works clocks where the 1/2 columns or pilasters are applied directly to the door sash use proper hinges.

    Most brass works clocks also typically have proper hinges though I have an early E.C. Brewster that uses the plate and pin arrangement.

    I suspect that hinges became more widely used as their mass production became easier and cheaper.

    Hope this adds something?

    RM
     
  6. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    PS: come to think of it, I actually have a bunch of brass works clocks that also use a variation of the plate and pin as opposed to proper hinges, e.g. some of my steeple clocks.

    I will have to do a survey of my collection!

    RM
     
  7. David Spong

    David Spong Registered User
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    Jan 31, 2012
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    Dear RM,

    And all others that replied. Your pictures are worth a thousand words. I now know how to restore it authentically,

    Best Regards, David
     
  8. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Interesting problem. There's not a lot of wood there. It's pretty old and has already "given way" once. I don't think I'd want to try to retain a new rod via a friction fit (assuming that is how they were originally retained). So how do you plan to restore the rod hinge David?
     
  9. David Spong

    David Spong Registered User
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    Jan 31, 2012
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    RM,

    Before I answer how I plan to restore the holes I need to share a finding. After I removed much of the black paint that was on the clock ( it looks more grey in the photos I attached) I examined both holes, top and bottom. The top was in much better shape and much to my surprise it was drilled at an angle of about 30 deg to the vertical, but parallel to the door jamb. And it could still hold a No. 6 common nail although for how long who knows?
    Then I examined the bottom hole and could see that it also was drilled at an angle. I had wondered how the original clock makers had drilled vertical holes since they are so close to the door jamb. My conclusion is they took the easy approach and did not drill it vertically, but drilled it at an angle.

    Here are my thoughts on restoration. I obviously can't make it like it was originally so I think I have two choices recognizing I don't want to redesign it

    1. Dill an oversize hole, say 1/4" in dia and glue a short length of dowel bushing into the hole. While I think it would work, obviously the grain orientation is wrong and it would be obvious to a clock person, but probably to no one else.

    2. Fill up the holes with a mixture of sawdust and glue let it set up and then drill new holes. I think that this approach might be less obvious, but also obviously has no grain structure at all.

    I would then drive in short lengths of No. 6 common nails without the heads to form the pins for the hinges.

    What do you think?

    Regards, David
     
  10. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    #10 Time After Time, Sep 2, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Well, I'm not RM but that was my question so I hope you don't mind me chiming in again.

    The sawdust and glue that both BLKBEARD and I mentioned works well as a filler. Better than commercial wood fillers that I've used including Elmers and Famowood. If you were going to keep with period appropriate materials in your restoration you would use Hide Glue. In any case, it's still a filler which depends primarily on glue for strength and retention. You might want to roughen the surface of your nails where it will be embedded in the filler and add a little glue whether you pre-drill or not. Good luck with your project.

    If the torn out hole is substantial and you have room, I think that the dowel approach is a good option too.
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I suspect that what you refer to as black or grey paint was in fact a darkened varnish that possibly got baked in a hot attic?

    What they advise.

    RM.
     
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