Longcase Restoration Project

Snorty

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Would have been silvered. Can still see the black engraver’s wax in the incised detail.
Cool cheers.....I better get the slivering kit bought! Do we think 50 grams would be enough for the 3 rings and the boss?
 

svenedin

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Cool cheers.....I better get the slivering kit bought! Do we think 50 grams would be enough for the 3 rings and the boss?
I bought a standard kit and was more than enough for all of those parts on the clock I did. I don't recall what the exact weight was.
 

Snorty

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I bought a standard kit and was more than enough for all of those parts on the clock I did. I don't recall what the exact weight was.
Ah brilliant....thanks for that. Saves me ending up with loads spare!
I think I have enough Renaissance wax to last me the next 3 years! :chuckling:
 

Snorty

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Does anyone have any idea what purpose this part serves? It was mounted to the inside lower left of the backplate. It actually looks like a bell stand but I doubt it can be! It doesn’t seem to have any physical connection to anything else?

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Mike Phelan

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Difficult to see from the pic, but is it against the end of the hammer tail when the hammer is at rest?
 

Snorty

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Difficult to see from the pic, but is it against the end of the hammer tail when the hammer is at rest?
I’m just look back at my photo album Mike and I think you are right. Presumably to spring it back into place?
 

Snorty

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Brilliant, thanks everyone.

Thought I’d share a quick photo of my efforts on the cast bell. I’m really pleased with the outcome :)

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Ralph

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it doesn’t look like it has ever been silvered yet the chapter rings definitely were.
You will often find residual silvering, from the process, on the back, if the silver is gone on the front.

Ralph
 

Snorty

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You will often find residual silvering, from the process, on the back, if the silver is gone on the front.

Ralph
The back is pretty mucky although I doubt I’ll be doing anything with it! Not sure if there is evidence here or not....
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novicetimekeeper

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I've never experienced silvering to occur on the back when I'm silvering the front, but then I'm silvering it 300 years or so after it was first made, perhaps on the first silvering with the metal surfaces much fresher then some displacement occurs on the back.

Either way, these parts are usually silvered. The maker will be keen that when somebody sees the clock they see who made it, and the silvering is to increase contrast and legibility in candle light.
 

Snorty

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Definitely makes sense. I’m going to re-silver all the dial components anyway. The main chapter ring is almost still acceptable but I don’t want to do some and not others.

On a separate matter, I have given the seat board a coat of dark oak stain earlier and have noticed quite a lot of dust falling from the worm holes. Is there a chance there’s still something active there or is it more likely to be dust from a former infestation?
 

Simon Holt

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On a separate matter, I have given the seat board a coat of dark oak stain earlier and have noticed quite a lot of dust falling from the worm holes. Is there a chance there’s still something active there or is it more likely to be dust from a former infestation?
Snorty, you're not going to like the answer...

You daren't assume that there's no live woodworm. You'll need to check out the entire case for holes before deciding how to proceed. If it's only the seatboard, you could put that in your freezer for a few days. Or, you could make a new seatboard.

If the rest of the case shows evidence of infestation, putting that in a freezer is impractical (unless you know a friendly butcher...) You'd need to paint on a woodworm treatment on all surfaces inside and out. You may need to remove any polish or wax first so that the treatment can penetrate the surface (it doesn't need to penetrate all the way through to the centre of the wood though).

Simon
 

Snorty

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Snorty, you're not going to like the answer...

You daren't assume that there's no live woodworm. You'll need to check out the entire case for holes before deciding how to proceed. If it's only the seatboard, you could put that in your freezer for a few days. Or, you could make a new seatboard.

If the rest of the case shows evidence of infestation, putting that in a freezer is impractical (unless you know a friendly butcher...) You'd need to paint on a woodworm treatment on all surfaces inside and out. You may need to remove any polish or wax first so that the treatment can penetrate the surface (it doesn't need to penetrate all the way through to the centre of the wood though).

Simon
Thanks Simon......your are right....it’s bot really the answer I was hoping for! Although I haven’t looked the case right over yet as it as to be the final stage of restoration, I have given it a quick once over when I got it.
The front and sides have little or no holes (believed to be oak which they don’t seem to like)
The backplate has not faired quite so well. Some parts are very soft and quite badly affected along side the corner blocks inside the case. Some of these have completely disintegrated.
I could as the burger down the road but I’m not not sure what he would say!
Definitely more than the seat board although it is still solid enough if I am able to arrest the fall now.
 

Simon Holt

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Well, if you don't have to strip the finish off the visible parts of the clock then you may get away with just treating the seat board and back panel, together with making new corner blocks.

I'm no expert, but my advise would be to fill every hole, then look carefully each year for three years to see if 'frass' has made its way to the floor.

(If you want to amuse yourself, blow compressed air into some of those holes - but wear a mask!)

Simon
 

novicetimekeeper

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I would treat the inside of the case and the backboard both sides. You can get a wax polish with a treatment in it that you can use to polish the outside.

Get a treatment with an applicator or use a syringe to inject into the holes you can see. The beetles will often lay eggs in the entrances to the existing holes.
 

Snorty

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Thanks guys. I have even noticed a few holes in the sides of the case too although far less than elsewhere. I’m going to pick up a 5 ltr tub so will find a spray bottle and give it a good going over. I might try a syringe too just to be sure. I’m sure I’m the damage is historic but I just don’t want to take the chance.
I wish I had spotted the holes in the side of the case before as I just bought a tub of beeswax....Sod’s law!

Simon....I may have to give that a try!
 

shutterbug

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I've had good success with that yellow stuff they hang in barns and things to kill flies. A tiny piece in the bottom of the clock, leave it for a month. Seems to work well.
 

Snorty

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I've had good success with that yellow stuff they hang in barns and things to kill flies. A tiny piece in the bottom of the clock, leave it for a month. Seems to work well.
Oh really? That’s interesting.....I’m not familiar with that stuff I’m afraid....I’ll need to do a bit of research.
 

svenedin

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I am in the process of rescuing a longcase that had woodworm. It was in a terrible state having lived for years in a smoky pub. Case was almost black and riddled with woodworm. I had to strip the finish (shellac) and then I took the case outside and drenched it in woodworm killer liberally applied with a large paintbrush. I used a lot of killer so that it ran into the holes. I turned the case as I went so that surfaces were horizontal to aid the liquid penetrating the holes. That was about 10 years ago. I never got round to finishing it! What I can say is there is absolutely no sign of living woodworm now. Actually I may write up that clock on here when it’s finally done. Dial and movement are away being restored - I have to finish the case. It’s not an exciting or valuable clock but is of family significance.
 
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Snorty

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I am in the process of rescuing a longcase that had woodworm. It was in a terrible state having lived for years in a smoky pub. Case was almost black and riddled with woodworm. I had to strip the finish (shellac) and then I took the case outside and drenched it in woodworm killer liberally applied with a large paintbrush. I used a lot of killer so that it ran into the holes. I turned the case as I went so that surfaces were horizontal to aid the liquid penetrating the holes. That was about 10 years ago. I never got round to finishing it! What I can say is there is absolutely no sign of living woodworm now. Actually I may write up that clock on here when it’s finally done. Dial and movement are away being restored - I have to finish the case. It’s not an exciting or valuable clock but is of family significance.
Wow....it sounds like that one has had a seriously tough life! The guy I got mine from was a really heavy smoker too but thankfully he didn’t have it in his possession ling enough for the smell to linger for too long. ....as an ex smoker I despise the smell these days! You should definitely do a write up...I’d live to get a nose at at it! I don’t envy you having to remove shellac. I have only waxed one small panel on the front of the case so I doubt there’s much more on it to remove. I’ll try and track down the wax novicetimekeeper mentioned and see if that might be the way to go externally.

I think I’ll probably go for this stuff from permagarg.co.uk for the inside and backplate....it looks pretty good.

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svenedin

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Wow....it sounds like that one has had a seriously tough life! The guy I got mine from was a really heavy smoker too but thankfully he didn’t have it in his possession ling enough for the smell to linger for too long. ....as an ex smoker I despise the smell these days! You should definitely do a write up...I’d live to get a nose at at it! I don’t envy you having to remove shellac. I have only waxed one small panel on the front of the case so I doubt there’s much more on it to remove. I’ll try and track down the wax novicetimekeeper mentioned and see if that might be the way to go externally.

I think I’ll probably go for this stuff from permagarg.co.uk for the inside and backplate....it looks pretty good.

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Actually it’s extremely easy to strip shellac finishes. It dissolves in alcohol so it can be wetted with alcohol soaked rags and wiped off. It is a very messy process though because usually there’s a load of wax and filth on top of the shellac. It’s a shame to strip a finish and I would avoid it whenever I could but woodworm has to be dealt with or the case will be lost to it eventually. Also I certainly don’t want woodworm spreading amongst my antiques!!!
 
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shutterbug

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This is the stuff I was talking about. Just a piece of it in the clock. Keep the rest out of your living space.
 
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Simon Holt

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I think I’ll probably go for this stuff from permagarg.co.uk for the inside and backplate....it looks pretty good.
That's much cheaper than the one I bought from Screwfix! I wish I'd seen that one...

Read the instructions; the one I bought (if I remember correctly) says that it is designed to kill the worm at the beetle stage of its life-cycle. As the beetle gets to the surface, in preparation for flying away, it chews a hole through the surface of the wood. So the 'poison' only needs to penetrate the surface and there's no point in soaking the wood throughout.

Actually it’s extremely easy to strip shellac finishes.
On a flat surface, I use a scraper, which I find to be much quicker than using methylated spirits. I was shown this technique by a professional French polisher.

Simon
 

Snorty

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Actually it’s extremely easy to strip shellac finishes. It dissolves in alcohol so it can be wetted with alcohol soaked rags and wiped off. It is a very messy process though because usually there’s a load of wax and filth on top of the shellac. It’s a shame to strip a finish and I would avoid it whenever I could but woodworm has to be dealt with or the case will be lost to it eventually. Also I certainly don’t want woodworm spreading amongst my antiques!!!
The latter doesn’t bear thinking about!!o_O
 

Snorty

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This is the stuff I was talking about. Just a piece of it in the clock. Keep the rest out of your living space.
Ah ok, I think I have seen that stuff before. Looks like it is pretty toxic to dogs so I might stick with the other stuff.

That's much cheaper than the one I bought from Screwfix! I wish I'd seen that one...

Read the instructions; the one I bought (if I remember correctly) says that it is designed to kill the worm at the beetle stage of its life-cycle. As the beetle gets to the surface, in preparation for flying away, it chews a hole through the surface of the wood. So the 'poison' only needs to penetrate the surface and there's no point in soaking the wood throughout.


On a flat surface, I use a scraper, which I find to be much quicker than using methylated spirits. I was shown this technique by a professional French polisher.

Simon

Screwfix would certainly be quicker as it’s a five minute drive from me! I didn’t think to look there...I’ll have a nose at their prices. If they are too expensive, I’ll just go for this. Will have a good read through of the instructions first!!

Thanks for the link Shutterbug, that stuff seems to be pretty toxic to pets so I’m thinking I might just go with standard treatment.

Fantastic cheers! I shall get that ordered now.
 

Jim DuBois

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I have only had a couple of times I had to deal with powder post beetles or woodworms. I think they are pretty much the same critters. There are about 12 types of these pests.

Some of what I read in this thread seems to suggest they are easily eradicated. Experience suggests that is not always the case. At least part of the problem lies in the lifecycle of the pests. Eggs, larva, and beetle all need to be killed for successful eradication. And therein lies the rub, so to speak. The eggs are the most persistent problem as they may be in an incubation period of 30-45 days. So, fuming and other chemical treatments that do not have long persistence may not get the next hatchlings. Freezing can kill off both larva and eggs, but it needs to be substantially colder than most home freezers and needs to be of an extended period, say 30-45 days, to deal with the eggs resolutely. Some publications suggest that maybe 72 hours in your home freezer will kill off the beetles and the larva, but does not kill the eggs.

Borax and water applied liberally is one of the more recommended solutions. Fumigation may be necessary in some cases.
 

Snorty

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I’ll be honest Jim, I haven’t seen any specific clues that would indicate there is a current problem ongoing. As the guys have said though, it isn’t worth taking the chance.
I’m afraid freezing wouldn’t be an option anyway as I don’t have access to anything appropriate.
Nor would fumigation really be feasible either.
I think I have to proceed down the route of spray as much killer as I can around inside the case and backplate and use the polish on the external front & sides followed by a layer or two of the beeswax I originally bought. It could all be a lot of work for nothing but sadly I can’t take the chance!
 

shutterbug

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I have used the pest strip piece with both cats and dogs in the house. No harm. I also used it to eradicate mites from a snake I purchased from a pet store. A small piece had no effect on the snake even though it was in her case. Don't let pets eat it. That's the biggest danger. Leave it in the case long enough to kill pests hatching from eggs too.
 

Simon Holt

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'scuse my ignorance, but what if the beetle emerges outside the case? 50/50 chance of that, isn't it?
 

shutterbug

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I guess if he exits and doesn't return it's all good :) I guess wax would suffocate the new critters and solve the problem too.
 

Snorty

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Does anyone know if you can get extremely fine taper pins? Or possibly just thin wire....one of the old ones on this movement snapped upon reassembly but it was tiny and none of the pins I have here are thin enough...
 
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shutterbug

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Your local hardware store will have thin wire. Taper pins are usually sold in an assortment.
 
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Snorty

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Not to worry....disaster averted! I managed to file down one of the finest taper pins :chuckling:
Verging on microscopic that hole!

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Snorty

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Guys, now that I have the movement cleaned and reassembled, (bearing in mind that the strike was quite far off and by that I mean not even striking at the hour) can anyone guide me on how to set up this rack and snail?
I’ve hunted through the web but there isn’t much clear help on how to do it from scratch :banghead:
Any advice on the process would be very welcome!
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svenedin

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Are you familiar with how the strike is meant to operate on a rack striking clock? Basically, at roughly 5 minutes to the hour (it varies from clock to clock) the clock goes into “warning”. At this point the rack is unlocked, drops and the pin in the rack tail contacts the snail. Due to the steps of the snail the rack falls a variable distance according to which hour it is. The variable fall onto the steps of different heights translates to the gathering pallet “gathering” the rack back up by the correct number of teeth corresponding to the number of blows struck for the hour. You will need a test stand so that you can mount the movement and attach the weights and hands. Only wind the weights a short distance off the floor in case the click fails. Then you can move the hands round and observe how the strike works.
 
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Snorty

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I have a rough understanding of the mechanism but I think placing it on a test rig would probably help me massively! I’ll need to re-gut it next before I proceed but having it on a rig would no doubt help with that.
 

svenedin

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I have a rough understanding of the mechanism but I think placing it on a test rig would probably help me massively! I’ll need to re-gut it next before I proceed but having it on a rig would no doubt help with that.
You will need a test stand anyway to ensure all is working properly before putting the movement back in the case. You only need the minute hand mounted to start testing the strike and you can do this by moving the movement to the edge of a table and applying some power with your finger to the strike great wheel. It is likely that the gathering pallet will be misaligned (it is on a square so you may have mounted it in any of 4 positions) and also that the minute wheel may be incorrectly aligned in relation to the pin on that wheel (the warning pin) that releases the rack in warning and then goes on to release the strike. First though, I would suggest you check that the rack is falling properly and the "beak" or pin of the rack tail falls correctly on each step of the snail. It needs to be at the start of the step so that at each hour it has fallen consistently onto the next step. If it doesn't you will have the wrong number of blows struck. Once you have done that you need to ensure that the gathering pallet ends up consistently in the valley between two teeth and not sitting on a tooth and that it gathers the right number of teeth each time. Unfortunately, parts may have been bent in the past or even repaired incorrectly and this messes up the geometry of the "counting system". It is best to get this absolutely correct and reliable as it infuriates if the clock starts striking the wrong number of hours when back in the case. Been there, done that!!
 
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shutterbug

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The bottom wheel turns the snail. It will come off, and the snail can be moved. I set them up on the 11:00 step of the snail. It is the narrowest step, and when it's right, all the others will be too. Just turn the minute hand until the highest lift drops, and set the 11:00 at that point. And just to be sure, I mean the rack tail should sit dead center on the step.
 

svenedin

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The bottom wheel turns the snail. It will come off, and the snail can be moved. I set them up on the 11:00 step of the snail. It is the narrowest step, and when it's right, all the others will be too. Just turn the minute hand until the highest lift drops, and set the 11:00 at that point. And just to be sure, I mean the rack tail should sit dead center on the step.
This is ok on a time and strike but if the clock has a pull repeat as some longcase clocks do, then the rack tail must sit at the beginning of the step on the snail so that the hour is correct right up until just before the next hour.
 

novicetimekeeper

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This is ok on a time and strike but if the clock has a pull repeat as some longcase clocks do, then the rack tail must sit at the beginning of the step on the snail so that the hour is correct right up until just before the next hour.
That's just a trip for repeat, and shouldn't be taken too seriously. Pull repeat is an independently wound repeat found on bracket clocks where pulling winds a coil spring to drive the chime and/or strike. I think if the trip works for 30-40 mins that's loads.
 

Snorty

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Ok, thanks guys, I’m just digesting all of that! I think the minute wheel is misaligned as it is raising the strike lifting lever at 5 past the hour. Is there an easy way to correct that or will I have to disassemble things?
I should add that the gathering pallet appears to be working ok.
shutterbug, I managed to track down some of that yellow pest stuff over here so am going to give that a try cheers :thumb:
 
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svenedin

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Ok, thanks guys, I’m just digesting all of that! I think the minute wheel is misaligned as it is raising the strike lifting lever at 5 past the hour. Is there an easy way to correct that or will I have to disassemble things?
So it is warning at 5 past rather than 5 to the hour? Assuming the rack tail is landing correctly on the steps of the snail you basically need to keep the snail as it is and adjust the mesh of the minute wheel probably by one tooth of the pinion anticlockwise. Does that make sense? You can mark the current meshing with a little dot with a sharpie or soft pencil.
 

Snorty

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So it is warning at 5 past rather than 5 to the hour? Assuming the rack tail is landing correctly on the steps of the snail you basically need to keep the snail as it is and adjust the mesh of the minute wheel probably by one tooth of the pinion anticlockwise. Does that make sense? You can mark the current meshing with a little dot with a sharpie or soft pencil.
It seems to be.yea..... that makes perfect yes. I watched the movement earlier whilst performing what you described before so have a better understanding in my head now.
How do I adjust the minute wheel though? That doesn’t appear to be possible without removing the snail etc first?
 

svenedin

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It seems to be.yea..... that makes perfect yes. I watched the movement earlier whilst performing what you described before so have a better understanding in my head now.
How do I adjust the minute wheel though? That doesn’t appear to be possible without removing the snail etc first?
Yes you will have to remove the snail first.
 

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