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Help with my first clock -

nutmegtinker

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Dec 25, 2020
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I have been reading these forums for several weeks and it has inspired me to take the plunge with my first antique clock. It is an inexpensive estate sale purchase and I believe that it would be appropriate as a learning platform. I am pretty sure that it does not have value as a full restoration as such. Here is what I believe that I have based on a novice perspective. It is a Boardman and Wells OG type clock that was originally weight driven wooden movement. It has now been converted to a battery movement. The wooden movement (original?) is with the clock but, not installed and inoperable with teeth missing from at least one wheel and a pinion. The painted wooden dial appears to be original as does the top glass. The inside of the door has numerous names and dates (1863-1868?) written in pencil. There is a pretty well-preserved maker's label in the case. The sides of the case look very unfinished and I wonder if they are a rework. There is no bob and one weight. So, I am looking for honest input what my objectives should be with this particular clock. Should I buy a spare movement and try to get it working? Should I just part it out and move on to something else? Clean it up a little and leave it as a conversation piece? Sorry for the lengthy note. Pictures are attached. I look forward to your input and guidance. 20210112_152257.jpg 20210112_152407.jpg 20210112_152500.jpg 20210112_152519.jpg 20210112_152705.jpg 20210112_152833.jpg 20210112_152913.jpg 20210112_152952.jpg 20210112_153053.jpg 20210112_153147.jpg 20210112_153219.jpg 20210112_153609.jpg 20210112_153705.jpg 20210112_153725.jpg 20210112_154226.jpg 20210112_154328.jpg 20210112_154353.jpg 20210112_154430.jpg 20210112_154523.jpg
 

bruce linde

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you should restore that wooden movement! they are not that hard to work on, and there are lots of posts on how to repair broken teeth on wood movements. if any of the gears provide particular challenges you could send them off to an expert, such as R. Croswell ... who helped me through my first wood movement clock.

the movement looks to be in pretty good shape expect for not unexpected issues.

that would be my vote (and encouragement!).
 
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nutmegtinker

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Dec 25, 2020
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you should restore that wooden movement! they are not that hard to work on, and there are lots of posts on how to repair broken teeth on wood movements. if any of the gears provide particular challenges you could send them off to an expert, such as R. Croswell ... who helped me through my first wood movement clock.

the movement looks to be in pretty good shape expect for not unexpected issues.

that would be my vote (and encouragement!).
Thanks for the encouragement on the movement. I think that I would enjoy trying to get it going again. What about the rest of the clock?
 

Jessk09

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Feb 27, 2020
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It’s a Boardman & wells O.G. Clock, from the 1800’s.
I would clean the wood movt.
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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It looks incredibly wet preserved. You could combine a conservative approach AND get it running. Looks fantastic. Consolidating the paper label may be tricky. I think the conservators use wheat starch paste. Might be worth looking at paper conservation forums to get help on that element.
 

nutmegtinker

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It looks incredibly wet preserved. You could combine a conservative approach AND get it running. Looks fantastic. Consolidating the paper label may be tricky. I think the conservators use wheat starch paste. Might be worth looking at paper conservation forums to get help on that element.
Thanks for responding. What would you consider a conservative approach? Yes, that label has me concerned. I need to, at least, cover it to prevent further damage from handling during repair. There are also some shreaded pieces that I will recover from the bottom of the case and figure out later. Maybe keep them in cotton balls?
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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a conservative approach would be considering whatever range of options are available and deciding on one and then only doing what you need to do to reach that state. Of Course, things may change as the project progresses. Most people want the clock to be in what they might call "good working order". that itself may mean many different things. Options might be to run the clock occasionally or run it 24/7. Maybe you just want to run it once to demonstrate that everything is there and then you say film it and don't wind it again. Anyway, many options. Once you have decided where you want to get to, you can begin to approach that point. Say, disassemble best you can, and wash meal parts, dry clean wooden components and see how it goes? If you are not happy with the result, you can always step in again and do a bit more, learning each time. If you have to do a repair, say a piece of wood need glueing then of course, if that is where you have agreed to go, use "reversible" adhesives such as fish or hide glue. same for the paper. Maybe the first step is to gather any detached pieces and keep them in a zip-loc bag or archival box if you have the cash and want to go that way. Consolidating the paper would be outside my comfort zone so I would ask a paper conservator advice on what glue to use if any and what materials to use for any cleaning. This doesn't need to be costly. There are conservation forums like this or maybe a books/paper specialist in your local town who would offer advice on a quid-pro-quo basis? document your treatment and if you want, importantly, document your thinking. Sorry to go on, but a journal is really useful. You will do things you later think were wrong. That is good. It is the learning process and translates into practice. Practice is not a static animal. In my view, and it is controversial, there is no wrong or right way to do anything. Hope this helps.
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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PS People on this forum have masses more experience of wooden clocks than I do so of course, it is essential to engender a range of views.
 

nutmegtinker

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Dec 25, 2020
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a conservative approach would be considering whatever range of options are available and deciding on one and then only doing what you need to do to reach that state. Of Course, things may change as the project progresses. Most people want the clock to be in what they might call "good working order". that itself may mean many different things. Options might be to run the clock occasionally or run it 24/7. Maybe you just want to run it once to demonstrate that everything is there and then you say film it and don't wind it again. Anyway, many options. Once you have decided where you want to get to, you can begin to approach that point. Say, disassemble best you can, and wash meal parts, dry clean wooden components and see how it goes? If you are not happy with the result, you can always step in again and do a bit more, learning each time. If you have to do a repair, say a piece of wood need glueing then of course, if that is where you have agreed to go, use "reversible" adhesives such as fish or hide glue. same for the paper. Maybe the first step is to gather any detached pieces and keep them in a zip-loc bag or archival box if you have the cash and want to go that way. Consolidating the paper would be outside my comfort zone so I would ask a paper conservator advice on what glue to use if any and what materials to use for any cleaning. This doesn't need to be costly. There are conservation forums like this or maybe a books/paper specialist in your local town who would offer advice on a quid-pro-quo basis? document your treatment and if you want, importantly, document your thinking. Sorry to go on, but a journal is really useful. You will do things you later think were wrong. That is good. It is the learning process and translates into practice. Practice is not a static animal. In my view, and it is controversial, there is no wrong or right way to do anything. Hope this helps.
Thanks. Your perspective is very helpful. Keeping a journal is something I would not have thought of. Where can I find tips on cleaning up the veneer? Conservatively.
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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My first step would be to check for any lose bits, then surface dust with a natural bristle brush into a vacuum cleaner so the dust doesn't just land on another component. any lifting veneers can be glued down with hide glue or similar. you may ned a syringe to get the glue between the veneer and the substrate (there are inexpensive on internet). If you the decide to go further, you might touch in some of the scratches around the key for example with a bit of stain applied with a small artist brush. I take it you are not doing this commercially so you have the great luxury of doing a bit, being how you feel about it then doing a bit more until you reach a stage where you are happy. Your "tastes" will change over time. Personally I would go down the consolidation route in the first instance. If you decide to wax the outside of the case, microcrystalline wax does not yellow like beeswax but beeswax smells better :=) Like all clocks, this one is packed with evidence and I am not for one minute saying to do nothing, but that evidence is very easily "lost" or at last changed. One question you may want to ponder is where does dirt/grim become patina and evidence? It is an unanswerable question but good fun to consider.
 

Jessk09

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Feb 27, 2020
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Sorry, i was getting tired when i wrote that. Here is another photo of a Boardman & wells O.G. Clock w/ wood movt. .

image.jpg image.jpg
 

nutmegtinker

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Dec 25, 2020
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Sorry, i was getting tired when i wrote that. Here is another photo of a Boardman & wells O.G. Clock w/ wood movt. .

View attachment 632199 View attachment 632200
Thanks. That's the one. Very helpful to see a good, complete example. For instance, I was wondering about that gong wire when most of the time I have seen bells. Also, the movement mount does not extend to the bottom of the case as in most others that I have seen. So, now I know that mine is an original configuration.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Nov 26, 2009
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I have been reading these forums for several weeks and it has inspired me to take the plunge with my first antique clock. It is an inexpensive estate sale purchase and I believe that it would be appropriate as a learning platform. I am pretty sure that it does not have value as a full restoration as such. Here is what I believe that I have based on a novice perspective. It is a Boardman and Wells OG type clock that was originally weight driven wooden movement. It has now been converted to a battery movement. The wooden movement (original?) is with the clock but, not installed and inoperable with teeth missing from at least one wheel and a pinion. The painted wooden dial appears to be original as does the top glass. The inside of the door has numerous names and dates (1863-1868?) written in pencil. There is a pretty well-preserved maker's label in the case. The sides of the case look very unfinished and I wonder if they are a rework. There is no bob and one weight. So, I am looking for honest input what my objectives should be with this particular clock. Should I buy a spare movement and try to get it working? Should I just part it out and move on to something else? Clean it up a little and leave it as a conversation piece? Sorry for the lengthy note. Pictures are attached. I look forward to your input and guidance. View attachment 632048 View attachment 632049 View attachment 632050 View attachment 632051 View attachment 632052 View attachment 632053 View attachment 632054 View attachment 632055 View attachment 632056 View attachment 632057 View attachment 632058 View attachment 632059 View attachment 632060 View attachment 632061 View attachment 632062 View attachment 632063 View attachment 632064 View attachment 632065 View attachment 632066
Congratulations on your first clock! Kinda rough, but still not a bad start. A for real genuine American 19th century antique for once!

Chauncey Boardman and Joseph A Wells were in business together from about 1832-1843. They made wooden works and by the late 1830's they had switched to mainly brass works. Boardman is generally acknowledged to have developed a type of wooden works colloquially known as a "groaner" movement. BASICALLY, this movement has the motion works on the front plate, escapement between the plates, and strikes a bell that is above the movement. Yes, there are rare variants which deviate. The basic groaner was a widely used movement.

The careers of B & W together, apart and with others, span the wooden works and brass works eras. My main interest is in their fusee movement clocks, examples of which can be seen by meandering through this thread:

Post your favorite American fusee clock. | NAWCC Forums

There is much info out there about them and their clocks. Do a Forums search. Also tons in the Bulletin of the NAWCC which is searchable on the main website. However, to do the latter, you need to be a member of the NAWCC...hint, hint, nudge, nudge.

I would call the style of your clock's case a bevel front. Most likely veneered in mahogany. Sometimes the veneer can have good figure, book matching, etc. Often relatively plain. The edges of the case should be veneered. Looks like that is missing in stretches. Not unusual as this was vulnerable, especially the corners and bottom strip. The finish really needs some TLC.

The dial looks right and it's a nice one with gilt raised gesso spandrel (the dial corners) decoration. Not infrequently, the later wooden works ogees had very plain dials. Those areas of loss are often referred to as "stretch marks". The explanation typically offered is that as the wood of the dial expanded and contracted, it caused the paint to fail. I say LEAVE IT BE. You will have people trying to tell you to repaint/inpaint it. No.

The movement is also rough but I believe original. Lucky it did not get separated from the clock. That is what usually happens once the quartz movement is put in. Also, adding a quartz or other inappropriate movement often adds spurious holes to behind the dial or the backboard which is frowned upon. I say that's a no-no. Needs lots of teeth replaced. Taking that on yourself might for some be like going down the proverbial rabbit hole. I'm sure much advice will be offered. Sift through it carefully.

Yes, label is rough but most is hanging on. These labels were typically printed on thin paper applied to a pine backboard. Paper glued to wood is not a happy marriage. Sometimes these labels are consumed by insects. Silver fish and roaches love them and the organic pastes used to adhere them. Some people cover with a sheet of mylar. Some advocate all sorts of things to "restore" like "deacidifying the paper" or even replacing with a reproduction label. Yikes. Some have advised the use of certain methods to readhere. I might do the first, but overall, I tend to leave things be and haven't been too disappointed. Hopefully, folks will check in with some good advice. By the way, I see a printer's credit on the bottom of the label. As many of these firms moved frequently, it is a method of "dating" these clocks with some degree of precision.

Honest Abe is definitely not original. Note that he is backed with a cardboard like material which I believe is original. I believe that it once backed what was originally a mercury mirror. What's wonderful is that the backing was saved. I too love reading all of those old dates and signatures, typically left there by the people who serviced the clock over the years. Sometimes owners did, too. Also check the back of the dial for similar. Here's my favorite and best "doodle" on the back of a dial by a repair person on a Jeromes and Darrow transition clock I once owned:

jerome transition 1.JPG

Those hands are modern. Weights and a pendulum bob can be found on places like eBay. Look around. You'll find them.

If your goal is to restore your treasure to a working clock, you have your work cut out for you.

Good luck and enjoy the journey! Keep us posted.

RM

PS: re: your last post. Later wooden works like this had wire gongs. I see no evidence in the pix that yours had a bell.
 
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Ralph

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There is a lot of good advice in the preceding posts, but I don’t believe anyone pointed out that there are “Wood Movement Clocks” and “Repair Clocks”specific forum categories available, to also explore

Ralph
 
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nutmegtinker

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Dec 25, 2020
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Congratulations on your first clock! Kinda rough, but still not a bad start. A for real genuine American 19th century antique for once!

Chauncey Boardman and Joseph A Wells were in business together from about 1832-1843. They made wooden works and by the late 1830's they had switched to mainly brass works. Boardman is generally acknowledged to have developed a type of wooden works colloquially known as a "groaner" movement. BASICALLY, this movement has the motion works on the front plate, escapement between the plates, and strikes a bell that is above the movement. Yes, there are rare variants which deviate. The basic groaner was a widely used movement.

The careers of B & W together, apart and with others, span the wooden works and brass works eras. My main interest is in their fusee movement clocks, examples of which can be seen by meandering through this thread:

Post your favorite American fusee clock. | NAWCC Forums

There is much info out there about them and their clocks. Do a Forums search. Also tons in the Bulletin of the NAWCC which is searchable on the main website. However, to do the latter, you need to be a member of the NAWCC...hint, hint, nudge, nudge.

I would call the style of your clock's case a bevel front. Most likely veneered in mahogany. Sometimes the veneer can have good figure, book matching, etc. Often relatively plain. The edges of the case should be veneered. Looks like that is missing in stretches. Not unusual as this was vulnerable, especially the corners and bottom strip. The finish really needs some TLC.

The dial looks right and it's a nice one with gilt raised gesso spandrel (the dial corners) decoration. Not infrequently, the later wooden works ogees had very plain dials. Those areas of loss are often referred to as "stretch marks". The explanation typically offered is that as the wood of the dial expanded and contracted, it caused the paint to fail. I say LEAVE IT BE. You will have people trying to tell you to repaint/inpaint it. No.

The movement is also rough but I believe original. Lucky it did not get separated from the clock. That is what usually happens once the quartz movement is put in. Also, adding a quartz or other inappropriate movement often adds spurious holes to behind the dial or the backboard which is frowned upon. I say that's a no-no. Needs lots of teeth replaced. Taking that on yourself might for some be like going down the proverbial rabbit hole. I'm sure much advice will be offered. Sift through it carefully.

Yes, label is rough but most is hanging on. These labels were typically printed on thin paper applied to a pine backboard. Paper glued to wood is not a happy marriage. Sometimes these labels are consumed by insects. Silver fish and roaches love them and the organic pastes used to adhere them. Some people cover with a sheet of mylar. Some advocate all sorts of things to "restore" like "deacidifying the paper" or even replacing with a reproduction label. Yikes. Some have advised the use of certain methods to readhere. I might do the first, but overall, I tend to leave things be and haven't been too disappointed. Hopefully, folks will check in with some good advice. By the way, I see a printer's credit on the bottom of the label. As many of these firms moved frequently, it is a method of "dating" these clocks with some degree of precision.

Honest Abe is definitely not original. Note that he is backed with a cardboard like material which I believe is original. I believe that it once backed what was originally a mercury mirror. What's wonderful is that the backing was saved. I too love reading all of those old dates and signatures, typically left there by the people who serviced the clock over the years. Sometimes owners did, too. Also check the back of the dial for similar. Here's my favorite and best "doodle" on the back of a dial by a repair person on a Jeromes and Darrow transition clock I once owned:

View attachment 632242

Those hands are modern. Weights and a pendulum bob can be found on places like eBay. Look around. You'll find them.

If your goal is to restore your treasure to a working clock, you have your work cut out for you.

Good luck and enjoy the journey! Keep us posted.

RM

PS: re: your last post. Later wooden works like this had wire gongs. I see no evidence in the pix that yours had a bell.
thanks for the warm welcome and thorough advice. Love that sketch photo! Now I know what a fusee clock is; the original CVT transmission. Still working on a strategy for this clock. Starting with that label. Will keep you posted