Is there a repair for cracked cast iron feet/ornaments?

Discussion in 'Clock Case Restoration and Repair' started by Douglas Ballard, Jun 18, 2012.

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  1. Douglas Ballard

    Douglas Ballard Registered User

    Dec 2, 2011
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    I'm guessing that the ornaments and feet on clocks are cast iron? If so, I have a couple that are cracked, either from being dropped or some other reason. I know you can "press" the piece back in to place without breaking it off completely. Is there a fix, heating maybe? I searched the forum for this answer but came up empty.....
    Thanks!
     
  2. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    Usually such ornaments are made of pot metal, not cast iron. For a description, click here. Short of finding an unbroken replacement (which is not easy) you could try using the type of epoxy glue that is used on metal. After it is thoroughly dry you can repaint the part to hide the broken joint. I've seen it done successfully, but it depends upon the nature of the break and your skill at mending such things.
     
  3. Douglas Ballard

    Douglas Ballard Registered User

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    Thanks for the information, appreciate it.
     
  4. Jim Hartog

    Jim Hartog Registered User
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    Hello Doug,

    I'm going to suggest something else. Since the pot metal has a low melting point you may be able to "weld" it with a small soldering iron like a wood burning pencil. I haven't tried this myself on pot metal castings but I have done it on plastic things. Work on the back side of the casting and use the iron to melt metal across the crack. It should fuse together like a weld. There is still the problem of the crack on the front side of the casting. I repeat, I haven't tried this myself. Maybe the casting will just melt away. Works on plastic, though. Plastic doesn't conduct heat as well as metal. I did a damaged kayak and my neighbours patio table leg (that I broke).

    Thought about soldering? Flux the crack, lay a piece of solder on the crack, warm up the solder with the iron and it may flow into the crack?

    Jim
     
  5. Douglas Ballard

    Douglas Ballard Registered User

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    Jim,
    Excellent suggestions, never thought of that. I've got a "spare" cracked foot I will try this on. Sounds like either one might work, going slow and easy of course.
    Doug
     
  6. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    I've successfully used JB Weld for steel on this kind of broken part. Doesn't matter whether it is steel, cast iron, brass, bronze, or pot metal.

    Thoroughly clean the part including use of a steel brush on the back side of the broken leg or foot where not visible from the front of the clock so you get down to bare metal. After cleaning, drill holes (also on the back) about 1/8 inch diameter and 1/8 deep about 1/4 inch apart, being careful not to drill through the front. Minimum two above and two below the break. More hols if the break is wider.

    Mix up the JB Weld, coat the broken faces and then put the part in a clamp to hold it together. Don't worry about a little excess on the front, it is easily removed. Lay it so the back is more or less level and add a layer of JB Weld to the back, building up to 1/8 inch thick or a little more if possible. I've used masking tape to build a dam to either side of the part to hold in the JB Weld, it is quite runny when first mixed together. Alternatively you can allow thinner coats to set and then add more.

    Let the part sit for 24 hour to ensure the JB weld is completely cured. Then remove the clamp and tape (if used). use a Dremel burr to shape the JB Weld to match the contours of the part so that from the front you won't see it. After shaping to your satisfaction, you can then use Rub 'N Buff in the color(s) of your choice to refinish the part to match the other parts on your clock case.
     
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  7. Thyme

    Thyme Banned

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    John's instructions for the epoxy repair are very detailed and describe the entire process. :thumb:

    The problem with heating the item is that you run the risk of melting it. Using epoxy is easier and entails less risk if you should need to do it over agian.
     
  8. Douglas Ballard

    Douglas Ballard Registered User

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    Thanks for the additional repair information. Sounds like JB Weld would be the first thing to try. Going to pick some up today.
     
  9. Douglas Ballard

    Douglas Ballard Registered User

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    I got the repair performed using JB Weld, however I got the steel reinforced putty. It worked quite well, everything is back together and solid.
    The posted photos show the front of the right set of legs next to the left set. You can see how the back leg is bent at an angle. I'm not sure if I should leave it alone or try to apply some heat to bring it back?

    DSC05089.jpg DSC05090.jpg DSC05091.jpg DSC05092.jpg
     
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  10. disciple_dan

    disciple_dan Registered User

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    Does anybody have an idea about how to fix this? Mine is to super glue it together and rabbit out the area here where I have a red line drown on the pic. Rabbit that out and fit a piece of wire in the cavity and solder it in.
    Does anybody think that might work?
    20190308_220043-1Ornament.jpg
     
  11. Joseph Bautsch

    Joseph Bautsch Registered User
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    On the broken or cracked feet I agree with the JB Weld. I also cut a couple of pieces of small diameter pinion wire and lay them across the break, and then apply the JB Weld. Apply a thin layer of JB Weld press in the wire and let cure. Then add JB Weld as needed. That will give you additional strength especially on feet that have to take the weight of the clock. On the pot metal or any kind of metal castings I will drill a hole in the ends of the two pieces to be joined. Use pieces of pinion wire in the holes and join with epoxy glue. Make the wire smaller than the hole, then fit the pieces together and allow the epoxy to cure. The smaller wire allows you enough movement to aline the pieces in an exact match to the fracture. I have used this method on a number of broken metal statues and feet with excellent results.
     
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  12. disciple_dan

    disciple_dan Registered User

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    I like the idea of the oversized drilled holes and the epoxy. I think that is the way to go. There is no force on this piece and it has a bolt in each broken half.
    Thanks for the idea, Danny
     

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