• The Bulletins and Marts are again available online. The network connectivity problem has been fixed. Thank you all very much for your patience.

More about French chalk polishing

Keith Doster

Registered User
Mar 31, 2011
328
33
28
65
Chester SC
Country
Region
A year or so ago I was introduced to the existence of French chalk by a friend who uses it with great results. So I bought some. But he never told me exactly how it is to be used. I found one old (2007) thread here in the forums that seems to have stopped any additional comments. So I think I'm essentially raising this topic for the first time for many of you. After reading that thread and taking some notes, I'm sure there is more to be learned about the process. But basically, if I understand it correctly, French chalk is to be used only on movements that were originally polished to a high lustre. Secondly, it is a polish, not a cleaner. Therefore the movement (and whatever other parts you want to polish) needs to be absolutely clean prior to using the chalk. Thirdly, the chalk is to be applied lightly with a soft brush. Run the brush across the chalk block and then lightly polish the parts. And apparently it is a very time-consuming process, but the results are worth the effort. I have not yet tried this, but thought there would be others who may be interested in the topic, and still others who could contribute more to the topic. The chalk can be purchased from Timesavers HERE. Soft brushes can be had from Griffen's HERE. I don't know of any other sources for these items, so please post any you may know of. They might be found on Amazon or Ebay. And finally, a picture of what I'm talking about, but no pictures of the results of using it yet. Feel free to show us your results.

IMG_1200.JPG
 

bruce linde

ADMIN / MODERATOR
NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
9,524
1,589
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
i used google to search the message board and found these:

french chalk polishing site:mb.nawcc.org - Google Search

apparently you brush the chalk hard enough to pick some up on the brush and then brush/tap it onto the brass to polish it up.

let us know if you come up with a definitive process.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Keith Doster

bruce linde

ADMIN / MODERATOR
NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
9,524
1,589
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
great... i initially forgot to put the double quotes around "french chalk" to make google look for that specific phrase.

for those who don't know the search-the-message-board-using-google-for-better-results trick, just add (with the quotes) "site:mb.nawcc.org" to your search phrase or params to constrain the search to the message board. you can of course use this trick to search any site....
 
  • Like
Reactions: Keith Doster

Keith Doster

Registered User
Mar 31, 2011
328
33
28
65
Chester SC
Country
Region
Mike Phelan is our resident expert on using chalk. I'm sure he'll be around to comment ;)
Yes! Virtually all of the info I was able to glean from my initial search was from him. Very knowledgeable! I'm hoping we can find a current supplier of the brushes in particular. As I said above, Timesavers still has the chalk, and Griffen's has brushes, but those were the only two laces I know of to get them.
 

Mike Phelan

Registered User
Dec 17, 2003
10,406
145
63
West Yorkshire, England
Country
Region
Thanks for the accolade, SB!
From an ancient post:
Right - here we go:
Firstly, it is no good at all using a cloth to polish a movement; you must use a brush (actually three of them!) You cannot polish wheel teeth with a rag. :eek:
The chalk only polishes, it does not clean.

Assuming the clock is not too dirty, go to (2)

(1) Clean clock with paraffin/white spirit/petrol/ammoniated cleaner.

(2) Pour Brasso or similar into a tin lid and brush each part with a fairly stiff brush. Use strips of leather to polish large holes and wheel crossings.
Do not worry about a final polish - there may be some Brasso left, which will be black.
The important bit is that it has been thoroughly brushed.

(3) Wash everything off with petrol or IPA (maybe use ultrasonic but not tried that) It must leave no residue at all. Use a separate stiffish brush. At this point onwards, no touching with naked fingers!

(4) Peg all holes out, including threaded ones, while in solvent. Pay attention to wheel teeth.

(5) May need another rinse in solvent. You should get everything clean and bright, but dull, with no trace of Brasso.
Dry in a warm room.

(6) Brush chalk on to a soft brush, and brush as fast as you possibly can, with no pressure at all.

(7) A final pegging out of holes , and blow any chalk dust off with a blower, not your mouth. You may need to polish crossings with a clean strip of leather.

The brushes are just the normal clock brushes, as Keith shows in his pic. Should be available everywhere in USA. I've had mine for years now - for interest one of the clocks I made in the late 1990's was polished in this way and only needs repolishing now!
 
  • Like
Reactions: shutterbug

Forum statistics

Threads
169,741
Messages
1,481,529
Members
49,138
Latest member
BigDon
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,965
Last update
-