Freeze a dials status quo?

Discussion in 'Reverse Glass and Dial Painting' started by Anvil2k9, Apr 26, 2009.

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  1. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    #1 Anvil2k9, Apr 26, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
    Can anybody advice me because I want to
    keep this dial in the condition as it is but also
    saving it from further flaking and cracking.
    hence I am considering a permanent surface
    protection.
    varnish or even an epoxide resin layer - good ideas?

    regards
    Damian
     

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  2. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Damian,

    Use Soluvar varnish only. It comes in high gloss and matte finish. Do a search on the MB for lots of information about it.
     
  3. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    Jeremy.

    We nearly always agree on everything, but I can attest (as have others here) that Krylon UV spray will also work. The only theoretical benefit I can see to using Soluvar is that it is claimed to be removable, as it is used on fine art paintings. However, I can't really imagine many cases where that would become necessary on a clock dial.

    Krylon UV has the benefit of adding UV protection. Also, from prices I've seen, it's less expensive, costing about half as much as Soluvar.
     
  4. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    Damian,

    Either Soluvar or Krylon spray can be used to relax the surface crazing.
    The numerals appear to have been retouched, but their lines are not precise, and will appear amateurish or less than professional. (I'm judging it from what I see in the photo, if it's not just distortion due to lack of resolution.) If so, that should be corrected before you seal it with a spray coating.
     
  5. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    I guess I don't like the idea of putting something acrylic on an antique.

    I also think it's the lack of reversibility of something like Krylon that's important. If there is a flaw in its application--if it's applied too heavily and you get a run, or your cat jumps on it while it's still wet--whatever--it will be very difficult or impossible to correct.

    In the distant past, I've had problems with Krylon clear acrylic. It turned white as it dried--possibly from too much humidity.
     
  6. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    I feel the same way about polyurethane; but polyurethane is incompatible with most finishes, whereas acrylic isn't. Acrylic lacquer and acrylic enamel are widely used in the auto body trade, which is essentially that of refinishing painted metal.

    Maybe that was a first generation formulation of it that you used. I've found the current Krylon spray to be very easy to apply, in that you can even spray on a very thick coat of it - as long as it is lying flat, it will not run, drip or sag. It would take a tremendous amount of inept application to have the adverse effect you mention.

    I recently finished resurfacing a metal dial with spray lacquer (stay tuned as I'll eventually write up a full review of it here). What you describe with whiteness due to moisture is a potential problem with using lacquer. I deliberately waited for a dry day to apply it. There are other pitfalls that can occur, (fisheyes, etc.). The first coat was a bit uneven as I didn't realize how thin each application needed to be, and I had to remove it - fortunately it was easy to do with thinner, since it was un-primed brass; but since I had decided to be faithful to the original application of restoring what was originally lacquered brass, it comes with the territory. Lacquer needs to be applied in very thin, multiple coats. Acrylic does not.
     
  7. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Thyme, the problem with dials would be the difficulty of removing any mistake without harming the original paint. You can't thoroughly clean the dial before applying, so any dirt of unknown origin could contribute to fish eye and other problems. But I don't know how you would remove soluvar for a do over either.
     
  8. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Soluvar is supposed to be removable with paint thinner.

    As a substitute for lacquer, I use Formby's tung oil finish, applied with a cloth or brush. I have written about it before on the MB. It is easy, practically fool-proof, looks great, and seems to last forever.
     
  9. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    Sure you can, as well you should. <!> I wouldn't apply any coating without cleaning and restoring the dial before sealing it.
     
  10. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    I also use tung oil when appropriate on wood finishes. It's similar to an oil varnish, and gives nice results. I like it, too. But it's not for metal. I don't know of any other way to restore a damaged lacquered brass finish, except to remove it and reapply the lacquer.
     
  11. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    I don't think Damian intended to restore the dial, just wanted to stabilize it. Trying to clean it could be disasterous, in that the paint may either flake off, or the numbers go the way of the chapter ring.
     
  12. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    thanx for your efforts
    though I am confused now which advice to follow.
    removing a removable varnish with paint thinner
    is the same way as DIY varnish is removed.
    what's the point buying the pricy art acrylic then?

    @Harold
    what do you use for cleaning the dial prior varnish - spirit?

    @Thyme
    the numbers are genuine, it seems early Waterbury Ogee
    (by the way thanks Steven T) do all have this layperson look
    see
    http://www.antiqueclockspriceguide.com/indexlinks.php?clocktype:^gee

    regards
    Damian
     
  13. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Damian, I have never tried varnishing a dial, so also never tried cleaning to prepare for varnish. I've always felt that a little age on the dial was better than risking having the numbers all come off while cleaning.
     
  14. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Damian,

    If I understand your comment, paint thinner will not remove common finishes that have cured, including oil-based varnish, shellac, lacquer, or paint. It will, however, remove Soluvar varnish without affecting the paint below the Soluvar layer.

    I have had the most general success in cleaning painted dials using mild soap and water--a little water, not a lot. Whether you can do this, however, depends on the condition of the paint. Also some inks and paints used for the numbers and other artwork may rarely be water-soluble, so always test first.
     
  15. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    Now I'm confused, because (as I mentioned) the spray acrylic (Krylon) is only half the price of the spray varnish.:confused:



    I viewed the link but it directs to a collection of many photos; bear in mind that some of these photos represent clocks in various conditions, not necessarily all original. I don't doubt that your numerals are original, but they may have been retouched by someone over the years. If the originals were factory applied, they should not appear "layperson"-ish. Even if it were a hand-painted dial, the artwork should be well-defined and cleanly executed.
     
  16. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    I agree that mild soap and water is the first step (assuming it's not a water-soluble ink - and most dials are not). However, if the paint is so bad that it is going to fall off during mild cleaning, then it will come off regardless of any coating it might be sprayed with. (As can be said, it's like leaving cancer untreated - the condition will only get worse.)

    I've had good results with polishing compound and water, used sparingly. The idea is to remove any soil and even out the level of visible age so that it looks uniform and pleasing to the eye, not to remove all patina.

    But one should never put any coating over a soiled finish. That's just asking for trouble, or at best, permanently preserving filth.
     
  17. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    I am not a fan of anything permanent being added, especially if it's a clear topcoat, since these tend to eventually yellow over time, no matter how expensive they are.

    I'd recommend Soluvar, or the Golden equivalent, which is an MSA Varnish with UVLS.

    Products like these are intended (as Thyme said) for fine art, and are of archival quality, and they are worth every penny. A small can was under 10$.

    I'm not "anti Krylon" but I'd never use that product on an antique dial. On a new or reproduction dial, sure, but not on an original.
     
  18. David 62

    David 62 Registered User
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    I would leave that dial alone.If it is not flaking and is stable,it will probably be fine.Once you coat it with something it will never be the same,could yellow over time,and may not stop any future flaking.I would only conserve missing areas,and not over coat except with a badly flaking dial.I just saw a nice Seth Thomas off center pillar and scroll with original tablet that somebody had varnished over the original dial at a auction preview.Everybody looking at it said that it was too bad that the dial had been screwed up (with good intentions).Removing the glossy,yellowed varnish may be impossible,so the new owner will either have to live with it,or have a restored or re-painted dial which is a big hurt on a rare clock.
    David
     
  19. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    I agree with that. There is no reason to coat a dial if there is no deterioration present.

    Not so. Apparently your opinion is not based on fact or experience. One of my Anglo-American clocks had a dial that was just beginning to flake when I bought it. That's the time when restoration is crucial. The guy who sold it to me told me the same old saw: "don't touch it." Total nonsense! If I hadn't restored it and coated it with Krylon UV the surface would have flaked more and gradually would become lost - which means an otherwise beautiful clock would end up looking like a worsening eyesore and would continue to deteriorate. UV acrylic spray is invisible, does not yellow (that's the whole point of the product, as it is not a varnish, unlike Soluvar) and it relaxes the flaking and seals the surface, halting the flaking totally. That which I am advocating does work, very well - I would not recommend it if it did not. To those of you who have never tried it and seen the results, I'm asking you to please refrain from perpetuating what is essentially oft-repeated misinformation.

    Yes, that's the case with using varnish as a seal coating; and also with inept restorative attempts, in general. If one has no knowledge and working experience with refinishing methods and materials, I'm the first to say "leave it alone!" as that is preferable than accelerating damage. However, when deterioration (such as flaking) is present and ongoing, using a UV coating as part of a capable and effective finishing of a dial restoration can and will provide an excellent result. And the UV coating once applied is completely undetectable, incidentally.
     

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