Junghans bracket clock restoration

Discussion in 'Case Construction, Repair & Restoration' started by mjj1543, Sep 25, 2019.

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  1. mjj1543

    mjj1543 Registered User

    Sep 20, 2019
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    #1 mjj1543, Sep 25, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
    Hi, I've been posting on this refurb over in the clocks restoration forum but this question is related to the refinishing of the wooden case, so I've been advised to pop over here.

    My next challenge on the clock is the wood finish of the case. I presume this is an oak case judging from the grain (but stand to be corrected). What i'm unsure of is the type of finish on it and how to tidy it up. I've included some photos for you knowledgeable folks. I've ordered some clock case cleaner and will give it a good clean when that arrives. It's got a nice sheen to it, sort of part way between satin and gloss is the best way i can describe it, and it appears to be flaking in patches in the top. So is this lacquer or is it shellac? Google found me a slide presentation called Clock Case Finish Repair & Restoration by a NAWCC member which suggests that older than 1920 it'll be shellac. If this is correct how would you advise me to refinish the case - can i wax it to give more shine, or should i add more shellac in the form of button or french polish, or would i need to remove the existing to do that properly (which would prove difficult given the decorative features). Any thoughts would be most gratefully received. (Since posting this I've found the very informative sticky on shellac and that leads to me to believe that's what it is, but...)
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  2. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    Self employed interpreter/clock repairer
    North Carolina
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    In another recent post, it was suggested that some denatured alcohol on a clean rag can help. Rub it gently on a small spot of the surface. If it softens, it's Shellac. If not, it's varnish.
    Sometimes you can smooth out the irregularities in a Shellac coat with a brush dipped in alcohol.
  3. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

    Feb 21, 2008
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    My bet is varnish, however as one side looks to have crystallized if you take a sharp chisel and carefully take a small amount off and put it in denatured alcohol and see if it dissolves.

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