Longcase Restoration Project

Ralph

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If you are going to press it out, it will pay to protect the hole in the end of the arbor.
Great point.

More thoughts.... try pushing the cannon tube on further, to get it to start moving then the opposite way to remove... back and forth, if it starts to yield to this technique.

I had a rusty movement that would not come apart and I was playing around with the electrolysis method of derusting at the time and tried it on the movement, and it freed everything up. It only removes rust and does not damage brass or good steel. It did discolor the brass, but light I'm sure the stain would not be hard to remove.

One other extreme thought, would be to drill a couple of tiny holes in the wall of the cannon tube, to leach some substance of choice into the tube. It would not compromise the strength of the tube.

Ralph

Ralph
 
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Snorty

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Great. Leave it in the shed or garage for a week. Stinks too much to have in the house and don't leave it outside or it will get contaminated with water. When ready, lift it out and let as much as possible drip back into the bucket then place on a thick load of newspaper. Obviously be very careful regarding naked flames anywhere near!
Yes, noted on the flames...I don’t smoke anymore so we’re alright there! :chuckling:
I’ve left it in the shed for now. The 4ltrs wasn’t enough to completely submerge it but I might go out and flip it over in a few days. I just wanted to make sure it has had a good chance to get in about that centre arbor.
 

Snorty

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OK, I see. The wheel and brass tube should not move relative to each other. Are you able to grip the arbor on the other side of the plate (in a vice with soft jaws) and try to turn the tube? The wheel should turn with the tube. If it still won't budge it may help to lightly hammer/tap the tube along its length and all around. Give it a sharp rap but not so hard as to bruise the brass and of course, support it directly beneath where you tap. Then soak some more. Michael
Ah, yes I didn’t think the wheel should be able to rotate on its own. I’m going to get some brass jawed pliers so could try with those if I can get in to it. No reason why I can’t give it a bit of light tapping with a hammer too. Just now it just feels like it is welded together!
 

Snorty

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Do you have an arbor press? A drill press might suffice,. You could try blocking up the front plate and press the center arbor out of the cannon pinion. You might apply heat while doing this.


It seems like the wheel might be coming loose from your cannon tube. It can be retightened after you get everything disassembled.

Ralph
Thanks Ralph, sadly a press is one thing I don’t own. I might consider getting one though as that definitely sounds like the way to go with this.
Good to hear that the wheel can be tightened back up as that was next concern growing in the background!
 

Snorty

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If you are going to press it out, it will pay to protect the hole in the end of the arbor. This area will be weak. Tap a steel taper pin in the hole, snip off both sides of the pin and file flush. You can drive the pin out after the job is done.
Michael
That’s a very good shout, thanks for pointing it out. I’m about to pick up an assortment of pins to have for this and future projects so hopefully I’ll have one to do the job. I also noticed that the washer holding the hands on is not domed but in fact flat. I can only imagine that probably wasn’t helping things!
 

Snorty

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Michael / Ralph, guys are we talking about an arbor press device of the type?


If so, I'm wondering how the movement would be placed on one of these in order to press the arbor out?
 

Ralph

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I think there is a good chance of damaging the wheel with a pinion puller.

Without overthinking how to position the movement, you could just block up the front plate of the movement to protect the center wheel and it's arbor. Another thought is a piece of PVC pipe that will fit over the center wheel and longer then the exposed arbor. You could set the plate on it and press the center arbor. If the process went smoothly, a drill press might give you a better view and sensitivity. You would need enough of a throat opening in either the arbor press or the drill press to fit everything in. The .5 ton might be strong enough, but might not have a big enough opening to fit everything in to try the operation.

On the arbor press, if you remove the rotatable round table, the opening in the u shaped base might be big enough for the center wheel to sit in, and might give you enough throat opening to fit everything into. If memory serves me right, the .5 ton arbor press isn't very big..

If using a press, use discretion and don't bend the plate.

Ralph
 
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Mike Phelan

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I might have missed some of these many earlier posts, but I think the centre arbor is probably rusty where the cannon pinion is onto it.
I've never used paraffin (kerosene) on a clock, ever.
This is what I'd do:
Dismantle movement and soak offending parts for a week in a mixture of diesel and white spirit..
Find something like a couple of steel bars to put on inside of front plate next to centre arbor.
Gently tap outside end of centre pivot, with something other than steel.

HTH.
 

Snorty

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I think there is a good chance of damaging the wheel with a pinion puller.

Without overthinking how to position the movement, you could just block up the front plate of the movement to protect the center wheel and it's arbor. Another thought is a piece of PVC pipe that will fit over the center wheel and longer then the exposed arbor. You could set the plate on it and press the center arbor. If the process went smoothly, a drill press might give you a better view and sensitivity. You would need enough of a throat opening in either the arbor press or the drill press to fit everything in. The .5 ton might be strong enough, but might not have a big enough opening to fit everything in to try the operation.

On the arbor press, if you remove the rotatable round table, the opening in the u shaped base might be big enough for the center wheel to sit in, and might give you enough throat opening to fit everything into. If memory serves me right, the .5 ton arbor press isn't very big..

If using a press, use discretion and don't bend the plate.

Ralph
I see what you mean about the drill press. My late father owned a number of pillar drills and one is still sat waiting for me so I may pick that up and give it a try.
Thanks for the thoughts though. At least it gives me some further options to try!
 

Snorty

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I might have missed some of these many earlier posts, but I think the centre arbor is probably rusty where the cannon pinion is onto it.
I've never used paraffin (kerosene) on a clock, ever.
This is what I'd do:
Dismantle movement and soak offending parts for a week in a mixture of diesel and white spirit..
Find something like a couple of steel bars to put on inside of front plate next to centre arbor.
Gently tap outside end of centre pivot, with something other than steel.

HTH.
Hi Mike, that’s an intriguing hypothesis. It would certainly account for the seizure! I wish you had posted yesterday as getting hold of diesel & white spirit would have been infinitely easier that paraffin :chuckling:
I suppose my only concern with that would have been dismantling the movement whilst leaving the centre arbor in place...I considered it but it didn’t look like it would allow a methodical approach, and this being the first time I’ve done one, I really need!
I have a small dual ended hammer coming though so could still potentially have a go at it that way.....one way or the other, it’s going to have to come out!!
 

Mike Phelan

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Hi Snorty.
B&Q or Wickes for white spirit and someone with diesel for a local farmer with a diesel tractor?
 

Snorty

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Cheers Mike, I’ll keep that in mind for next time...The movement is in paraffin this time around so we’ll see how that pans out!
 

Snorty

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So....I’m thinking I need something to do whilst the movement is submerged and I’m waiting on cleaning solution etc arriving.

What are peoples thoughts on the following- firstly the seat board is manky! I was thinking a wash down followed by potentially a light sand and re-stain?
96DA314B-D050-44AB-B27A-7EF75B024AA7.jpeg


Secondly, the face has a slight bend in one corner. I know the photo doesn’t show it too well but it’s the best I can do. Hopefully you can see it. I’ve tried applying light pressure here but again, I don’t want to do too much in case of a disaster!! I’d also be interested to learn if it is worth trying to clean it up and if so, how?

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Lastly for now (you’ll be glad to hear I’m sure!!) I think the pendulum bob needs a little attention too. The rod has some light surface rust and the bob looks like it has had tape on it. I know how to deal with the latter but I’m wondering how best to approach refreshing the rod?
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F30C6CAE-4BC4-4CEB-A516-A721FCBB0DC4.jpeg
 

svenedin

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Ah, now I see what your dial looks like! I have a clock rather similar to this. Mine is by Thomas Lister of Halifax. https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/longcase-overhaul-thomas-lister-halifax.88764/

Your seat board looks sound. No woodworm or rot. Yes, give a rub down with wire wool (or those green pot scourers) and white spirit. Water could swell the grain and distort it. Then stain if you like but not necessary.

Your dial, very similar to my clock. All the dial bits come off the backplate (the spandrels, chapter rings etc). You can then clean the spandrels with a toothbrush and clock cleaning fluid (an electric toothbrush with ultrasonic works really well). The backplate is a little tricky because it is too big to immerse in fluid and half immersion gives a "tide mark". I'd use metal polish (Autosol is very good; Halfords). When clean, degrease the backplate of all polish (meths or IPA) and then either lacquer it (difficult to do well) or use Renaissance wax. This prevents air getting to the metal which will dull it again. For the silvered chapter rings and the boss, be gentle with polish as the silver layer is very thin. If too far gone you can re-silver. It's not difficult and I could do it without ever having done re-silvering before. Again protect the metal with Renaissance wax when done. For the bend, that's above my pay grade but take all the dial furniture off before deciding what to do. Perhaps you can gently ease that bend by having the plate flat on the table and placing in such a way that the bend is on the edge of the table, then applying some force. Better with a rounded edge to table or kitchen top as sharp edge could cause a crease.
 
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Snorty

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Wow....Beautiful job you made of yours I have to say! Nice that it had been in the family for so long too.
The seat board has a tiny bit or worm but nothing I’m really bothered about tbh. Cheers for the info on that, I shall get in about it shortly!
I think I will leave the face for a while as it sounds fairly involved and I don’t want to have too many plates spinning at one time :chuckling:
info is much appreciated though and great to know how it can be approached. Maybe once the spandrels are off and it is just the back plate, coaxing the bend out might be possible....Ithought perhaps heat it a little and leave it pressed for a while under something flat and heavy might help. It’s not the end of the world as it isn’t that obvious when the face is installed in the case but it would be nice to try and correct the problem .
 

Snorty

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Ah, just noticed your additional info....looks like we are thinking along similar lines there!!
 

svenedin

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Wow....Beautiful job you made of yours I have to say! Nice that it had been in the family for so long too.
The seat board has a tiny bit or worm but nothing I’m really bothered about tbh. Cheers for the info on that, I shall get in about it shortly!
I think I will leave the face for a while as it sounds fairly involved and I don’t want to have too many plates spinning at one time :chuckling:
info is much appreciated though and great to know how it can be approached. Maybe once the spandrels are off and it is just the back plate, coaxing the bend out might be possible....Ithought perhaps heat it a little and leave it pressed for a while under something flat and heavy might help. It’s not the end of the world as it isn’t that obvious when the face is installed in the case but it would be nice to try and correct the problem .
You’re very kind. Old thread with bad photos but yes very pleased with end result. Can we see the case (with hood on).
 

Snorty

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Yes, of course....Oddly I’m just sitting here thinking about the case! Here are a few snaps:

8DC7B460-5855-497B-B8EC-479E36B952A8.jpeg

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Apart from the back being fairly badly wormed in places (one of the guys reckoned it was elm hence the worms enjoying it!) and some of the corner blocks inside being eaten, the worst damage to the case is one and a half missing pieces of moulding / beading on the front base panel and half a section on the top right side of the trunk. I know it would be a tough one but I’d love to replace these. The carved base side panel on the left is split but I doubt there is much that could be done about that! Best left as a character mark! I was thinking a good beeswax polish would be a great start.
I polished the glass last night and am very pleased with the result. I can’t believe it hasn’t been replaced at some point through its life but it still looks pretty old....has a few nice little imperfections in it!
The trunk door is an interesting one too....I have no key and there is a ‘knack’ to getting it to remain closed :chuckling:
 
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Snorty

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Please ignore that unicorn.....I have no idea how it got there nor can I seem to delete it! :chuckling:
 

svenedin

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Superb case that harks back to Jacobean furniture in some ways. Not good on timber but I’m sure someone will tell you. If very heavy could be oak. The back often softwood (worms prefer).
 

Snorty

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Interesting....Yea, the case definitely drew me to it. I love the carving! The general consensus seemed to be that the main body was oak and the back elm. Actually it is pretty light though!
Hopefully the mouldings could be repaired/ replaced but if not, it will just have to stay as it is.
I’ve given the seat board a scrub with a little brass wire brush I had and the white spirits. There is a small section that has suffered a little with the worms and is a little soft, however I think it’ll be ok. Still a little wet from the white spirit.


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NigelW

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The case may be largely original to the clock but the carving is probably Victorian i.e. done 100 years or more after it was originally made. The hood does not look quite right and may have been altered, the swan neck pediment moulding in particular looks wrong and the turned pillars may be later. Adding Jacobean style carving to earlier oak furniture was quite common in Victorian times and often done by amateurs.
 

svenedin

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The case may be largely original to the clock but the carving is probably Victorian i.e. done 100 years or more after it was originally made. The hood does not look quite right and may have been altered, the swan neck pediment moulding in particular looks wrong and the turned pillars may be later. Adding Jacobean style carving to earlier oak furniture was quite common in Victorian times and often done by amateurs.
Yes it does have a certain naïve style. Charming though. Slightly ironic that the Victorians like to make stuff look old even when it WAS old even then!
 
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svenedin

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Interesting....Yea, the case definitely drew me to it. I love the carving! The general consensus seemed to be that the main body was oak and the back elm. Actually it is pretty light though!
Hopefully the mouldings could be repaired/ replaced but if not, it will just have to stay as it is.
I’ve given the seat board a scrub with a little brass wire brush I had and the white spirits. There is a small section that has suffered a little with the worms and is a little soft, however I think it’ll be ok. Still a little wet from the white


View attachment 643221

View attachment 643223
Looks good. If wood is very soft you can get some wood hardener as used for rot but should be fine.
 
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Snorty

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The case may be largely original to the clock but the carving is probably Victorian i.e. done 100 years or more after it was originally made. The hood does not look quite right and may have been altered, the swan neck pediment moulding in particular looks wrong and the turned pillars may be later. Adding Jacobean style carving to earlier oak furniture was quite common in Victorian times and often done by amateurs.
Really? I find the history of these fascinating.....incredible how many changes some of them have seen over the centuries!
 

Snorty

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I had a little go at the pendulum bob & rod there. The bottom part of the rod came up quite well I thought after a good rub with some 1200 grit paper and a clean with some acetone. The same method was good on the rod too, taking most of not all of the surface rust off!

68E389C5-7014-42E2-8724-F5D59D44A819.jpeg

The acetone also cleaned up the Bob not too badly and at least removed the surface residue. There are still some blemishes but I don’t think it is going to get much better than it is currently. I don’t want to go too mad on it in case I take the lacquer off....
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svenedin

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I had a little go at the pendulum bob & rod there. The bottom part of the rod came up quite well I thought after a good rub with some 1200 grit paper and a clean with some acetone. The same method was good on the Tod too, taking most of not all of the surface rust off!

View attachment 643257

The acetone also cleaned up the Bob not too badly and at least removed the surface residue. There are still some blemishes but I don’t think it is going to get much better than it is currently. I don’t want to go too mad on it in case I take the lacquer off....
View attachment 643258
Bob not really important as does not show unless door open. Clean is good enough. Bottom part of rod good idea as when you get round to adjusting the timekeeping you’ll want the bob able to move up and down easily.
 

Snorty

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Bob not really important as does not show unless door open. Clean is good enough. Bottom part of rod good idea as when you get round to adjusting the timekeeping you’ll want the bob able to move up and down easily.
Very true, the bob runs free and easy so ideal in that case.

Have to say, I am absolutely loving working on this!! I feel an addiction growing already :chuckling:
A massive thank you to everyone who has commented and offered advice....it is great to have found such a community :)
 
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shutterbug

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Please ignore that unicorn.....I have no idea how it got there nor can I seem to delete it! :chuckling:
I took care of him for you. He's now officially extinct :D
 
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Snorty

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I took care of him for you. He's now officially extinct :D
You are very kind! :chuckling:

I have just noticed I have a damaged spandrel:confused:

D1331286-EA4B-454B-A178-54F825A8065F.jpeg

I had a look on eBay and there are some for sale that are an extremely close match (2 of only I think). What’s the best options here?

Also, I have tried a little autosol metal polish on the face.....it is certainly shining it up although it does appear to be taking the top coat colour off of you’ll excuse the poor description! Does this look ok?
I don’t want to proceed if not.. In some lights it actually looks darker after polishing but if you shade it a little, it is bright.
I assume the rear of the main backplate will never come up as bright brass? It is black!

360AB113-91B1-46B3-8A81-D29B99D2092A.jpeg
 

svenedin

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You are very kind! :chuckling:

I have just noticed I have a damaged spandrel:confused:

View attachment 643451

I had a look on eBay and there are some for sale that are an extremely close match (2 of only I think). What’s the best options here?

Also, I have tried a little autosol metal polish on the face.....it is certainly shining it up although it does appear to be taking the top coat colour off of you’ll excuse the poor description! Does this look ok?
I don’t want to proceed if not.. In some lights it actually looks darker after polishing but if you shade it a little, it is bright.
I assume the rear of the main backplate will never come up as bright brass? It is black!

View attachment 643454
I am probably being dim here but I cannot see the damage to the spandrel. What is wrong with it?

If the dial backplate is really bad you may need something more abrasive. It really depends how pristine you want your clock to be. This is entirely your decision and is a matter of debate. IMHO a good restoration is a fairly light touch. At the end of it, the clock looks as if nothing ever happened and still shows its age. On the other hand, some people want their clocks pristine as if made yesterday. With your dial backplate you could go for something more abrasive and then go up through the grades and finally with very fine abrasive to achieve a polished finish. It will look terrible after the coarse abrasive, covered in scratches, but have no fear -these will all be removed as you go up through the grades of abrasive. Rather than doing this by hand you could use a DA (random orbit) electric sander as used on car bodywork. The fact that the dial backplate is flat makes this possible. Remember that you can always take the dial restoration further at a later date if you decide a light touch is not enough.
 

Snorty

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If you look at the lower half of the spandrel in that photo, about an inch of the tip is missing. I hadn’t even noticed until I bagged it up.
Here you can see the state of the rear of the backplate....
A7BC38AC-5211-44E2-AB8F-F2A909F07383.jpeg

I was unsure if those posts could be removed so left them alone. I think it would take a huge amount of work to bring this side back! It might be nice to improve it a little though.
I definitely not of the ilk of wanting it to look brand new afterwards, that’s for sure.
I suppose thinking about the visible side of this plate, there isn’t really a huge about of it seen once all the rings etc are re-fitted. I was just a little concerned that I was damaging it by rubbing the metal polish too hard! It would be nice to get rid of some of the tarnishing though so as long as I’m not harming it in any way, I’ll just continue with it.

I’m also noticing that the polish is getting into here so I’ll need to find a way to remove it again!!
1E87022A-06D0-41B0-8669-36AD9817C571.jpeg
 

svenedin

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If you look at the lower half of the spandrel in that photo, about an inch of the tip is missing. I hadn’t even noticed until I bagged it up.
Here you can see the state of the rear of the backplate....
View attachment 643473

I was unsure if those posts could be removed so left them alone. I think it would take a huge amount of work to bring this side back! It might be nice to improve it a little though.
I definitely not of the ilk of wanting it to look brand new afterwards, that’s for sure.
I suppose thinking about the visible side of this plate, there isn’t really a huge about of it seen once all the rings etc are re-fitted. I was just a little concerned that I was damaging it by rubbing the metal polish too hard! It would be nice to get rid of some of the tarnishing though so as long as I’m not harming it in any way, I’ll just continue with it.

I’m also noticing that the polish is getting into here so I’ll need to find a way to remove it again!!
View attachment 643476
I wouldn't worry about the damaged spandrel. It's original so keep it.

Back of the dial plate just give it a wash with soapy water and a brush and leave it. They always look like yours.

Front of dial plate, yes a bit of elbow grease needed! Brasso or Duraglit also good. Fine steel wool (000) and then Ultrafine (0000) and autosol is a good combo too. Messy business though!!
 

Snorty

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Cheers......time to get work in that case!! I may be some time! :D

For the sake of the thread, this is how the front stands just now...

4BD9DA28-1652-487F-8D9B-EBA3E808DBE5.jpeg

Also managed to sort the bend not too badly..

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Mike Phelan

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I wouldn't do anything to the centre part of the dial front apart from brushing it in some sort of solvent; it's supposed to have that sort of stippled effect. Keep anything like Brasso or Solvol Autosol away from this part.
 

svenedin

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I wouldn't do anything to the centre part of the dial front apart from brushing it in some sort of solvent; it's supposed to have that sort of stippled effect. Keep anything like Brasso or Solvol Autosol away from this part.
Very important point well made!
 

novicetimekeeper

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If you polish the back of a dialplate it will just raise questions in the mind of collectors. We don't clean the backs.

Don't disturb the dial feet or you will need to rerivet them.

Metal polish is not a great idea on a matted dialplate or the spandrels, it will be hard to remove residue. I wouldn't use anything harder than brass on it either or you will damage the matting.

You don't often see urn and eagle spandrels reproduced, you will find second hand ones, if you hadn't noticed it before perhaps there is no need to sort it.
 

Snorty

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Ah well, the brasso got to the centre section before I got to the last couple of posts!
Not to worry, it hasn’t disturbed the finish and has in fact cleaned it up fairly well.
Still a work in progress but you can see it is coming up not too badly with quite a lot of elbow grease!
Good point on the spandrel....I think I may just leave it as is unless a second hand identical one pops up somewhere.
97BC9459-5A10-45A2-A636-CB24F155AE15.jpeg

 

svenedin

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Brasso (on a cloth) isn’t abrasive enough to damage that matted finish if you’re careful but it can leave a residue in the dimples. A wash at the end with soapy water and a brush should sort that out.
 

Snorty

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Ah, fair enough then. Think I’m done with the back plate for now.....quite pleased with the result though!
AD5805A7-719B-491B-8F9E-2DBE129C28C1.jpeg
98A6EC11-A4DD-45D0-A5B4-32C313C5CB97.jpeg
 

Snorty

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Guys, what would be your recommendation with regards to polishing a case like this? I know beeswax seems to be pretty great but my concern is it will get into every little bit of the carving and I’ll never be able to remove it again!

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shutterbug

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That would take some work any way you do it. Beeswax on something like a shoe brush might work.
 
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svenedin

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I'd recommend one of the traditional wax polishes from Myland or Briwax (I use these for all of my antique woodwork). As Shutterbug suggests, use good quality bristle shoe brushes. The shorter bristle one to put on and the longer bristle one to take off. Then finish with a decent cloth. Don't use a traditional yellow duster as they leave bits of yellow fibre everywhere and will catch on the carving edges. A Selvyt cloth is better to finish.
 
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Snorty

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Fantastic.....thanks for that guys! I like to have a plan. I know it will be a lot of work but in my mind 100% worth the effort. A panel a night perhaps :chuckling: I wasn’t entirely certain if I should touch the lock surround or hinges but I’m glad I did, I didn’t go overboard and I like the way they look now.
Interestingly the door knob on the hood seemed to come up brighter....I can’t help but wonder if it was a later addition / replacement..
 
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