Kern & Link standard, dial restoration advice

Phil G4SPZ

NAWCC Member
Oct 18, 2018
587
95
28
68
Bewdley, Worcestershire, UK
Country
Region
I was very lucky to have been given this 1932 Kern & Link plate 1667 standard 400-day clock. It's the early model, having no pendulum locking mechanism or levelling adjusters. Apart from being very dirty, it is complete apart from its missing dome, and I am just embarking on restoring it.

The dial is peppered with spots that look like rust, but aren't.

Can anyone please suggest how I might go about cleaning and restoring the dial, or at least improving its appearance a little? I obviously don't want to make matters worse or cause any irreparable damage. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Kern & Link.jpg Kern & Link dial.jpg

Many thanks,

Phil
 

Dells

NAWCC Member
Oct 18, 2019
473
80
28
In the cotswolds UK
Country
Region
Hi Phil
That dial looks silvered in picture if it is then cream of tarter worked on a Westminster chime silvered dial for me but try in an inconspicuous place first.
Dell
 

Phil G4SPZ

NAWCC Member
Oct 18, 2018
587
95
28
68
Bewdley, Worcestershire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Dell,

No, it’s a brass-coloured finish rather than silver. Difficult to capture in a photograph.

I’ve tried very gentle cleaning with a moistened Q-tip but it had no effect. I think the surface has degraded, rather than simply being dirty. Not wishing to damage the dial, I think I will probably live with it as evidence of the clock’s age!

Phil
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
46,396
1,852
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
Good idea. The numbers on those are often just water soluble paint, and you can lose them easily.
 

Phil G4SPZ

NAWCC Member
Oct 18, 2018
587
95
28
68
Bewdley, Worcestershire, UK
Country
Region
I have decided to replace the dial. The new dial has Roman rather than Arabic numerals. I will store the old dial carefully beneath the clock’s base, in case some future owner wishes to restore the original.

Phil
 

Phil G4SPZ

NAWCC Member
Oct 18, 2018
587
95
28
68
Bewdley, Worcestershire, UK
Country
Region
Thanks, both! Any vestiges of lacquer on the plates and base had long since disappeared, and the brass responded well to conventional polishing.

How to keep it looking shiny and prevent tarnishing is my next question. I have used liquid wax polish on brass before, with quite good results, but a product called “Renaissance” micro-crystalline wax polish has been highly recommended by friends who restore brass oil lamps. Any other recommendations?

Incidentally, the old dial is now safely stored inside the dial pan, alongside another white printed dial that was already in there!

Phil
 

whatgoesaround

Registered User
Jan 22, 2008
521
37
28
south carolina
Country
Region
From what I have read on here that is a good product and any high carnauba wax is supposed to be good. I think the wax is chosen because when it is time to clean again, it removes easier than a lacquer. Others on here can correct me if I am wrong. Personally, I have recently gone to lacquer, because I feel it lasts longer. Choice of lacquer is very important since some leave a cloudy appearance. I have used Mohawk lacquer and like it, but I will bet there are others that can do as well or better.
 

Dells

NAWCC Member
Oct 18, 2019
473
80
28
In the cotswolds UK
Country
Region
Hi Phil
I use Renaissance wax and I have found that the brass doesn’t tarnish very quickly but I have to use white gloves when handling as fingerprints mark it very easy.
Dell
 

Phil G4SPZ

NAWCC Member
Oct 18, 2018
587
95
28
68
Bewdley, Worcestershire, UK
Country
Region
Thanks for the tip, Dell. I do use white gloves, but I will pay special attention to any waxed areas.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
165,420
Messages
1,439,876
Members
86,210
Latest member
sailabew
Encyclopedia Pages
1,101
Total wiki contributions
2,873
Last edit
Weekly News 7/7/19 by Tom McIntyre