H&D Floor Regulator

the 3rd dwarve

Registered User
Nov 3, 2000
These great old Howard & Davis floor regulators were made to be very utilitarian with little concern to aesthetics. I wonder how many had a similar life with a different ending.

The movements are so robust and overpowered that they were seldom serviced until the cable snapped and took out the bottom of the clock. I guess once that happened this one was put in the back corner of a wet basement because the bottom of the case was rotted and punky up about 3 inches. As a result all of the bottom trim fell off and was lost when the steel nails rusted away. Much of the glue holding the case together had failed. The bottom left side was so far gone the case would not stand up on it’s own on a flat floor.

As with most of these somewhere along the way the secondary time recording mechanism was removed and probably discarded. It was a long time ago because there is a very old board screwed to the top to cover the access hole where the remote wires would enter.

To add insult to injury the outside was painted with silver alkyd enamel.

I bought it locally a couple of years ago and it has been sitting in the back of the shop since then. I finally started the restoration. I thought I had taken some “before” pictures but I can’t find them.

I stripped the case and neutralized it, then repaired all the failed glue joints.
Made and installed a new bottom board.
I cut approximately 3/8 inch off the bottom of the case to get it somewhat squared up then made 4 inside corner blocks that butt against the bottom board that will take much of the weight of the clock.
The 3 new bottom trim pieces are made from eastern white pine, the clearest pieces I could find and fortunately hide much of the water damage.
I dyed it with aniline dye suspended in alcohol for a first coat to get that red tint then dyed it a second time with a brown aniline dye suspended in water to get that weird dark mahogany look.
The first coat of finish was a wash of Seedlac to set the dye. Then successive coats of 1/2lb cut, 1lb cut and 2lb cut Seedlac rubbed out with pumice and oil between coats.

I’ll let it harden for a couple more days then give it a final rub out, or I just might leave the gloss finish. The wife will have the final say.

All in all a fun project and one more that will have a new life.



Kevin W.

NAWCC Member
Apr 11, 2002
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Great job on the case, i think rubbed out may be better, but it,s a personal choice.
You did a good job and have not made it look new.

Bruce Barnes

Registered User
Mar 20, 2004
Jeff,what an outstanding case and restoration...........it may be "utilitarian" but most assuredly it makes a quiet statement of elegance!!

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