Original Finish Preservation vs. Overagressive Stripping and Refinishing

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Jim DuBois, Jul 13, 2018.

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  1. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I have often railed about keeping original surfaces, maintaining patina, and folks belt sanding clocks. While I recognize there are always clocks that are past salvation of original surfaces/patina and the like, I am not an advocate of making them look new when restored. Showing age when appropriate is a better solution in my opinion than converting a clock to a piece of plastic. I recognize there are other opinions on the subject.

    All that considered I recently obtained a clock that for lack of a better term, had been stripped of all original surfaces, cleaned to the extent there was little color left in the wood, and then finished with a few coats of poly. Not a pleasant sight. So, it happens, what is the big deal?

    Would it help to know that a well-meaning party had done this to a quite rare clock that even in a properly restored appearance might well command a price of $25,000 or more? One recently sold for an excess of that amount and had it a bit of apparent restoration work. The one I now have in its current condition is worth little more than pocket change.

    I am not going to picture that particular clock here; I plan to do a before and after paper on it later, assuming the restoration goes well and it turns out looking more as it should.

    But, here are some photos, the first of which is what is left of a New Hampshire time and strike mirror clock. Some well-meaning party spent hours stripping off all the paint, removing all the gold leaf, removing all the gesso and certainly stripping all remaining patina from all observable surfaces of the case. This clock is a lesson on how to make a clock that could have been worth $1000-3500 even in today's market worth almost nothing. As is it is worth whatever its movement and dial will bring, and the case will bring almost nothing? I bought it for less than $100.

    I am attaching a photo of a complete NH mirror clock as well as a plain NH mirror. Both show wear, patina, and some crusty finish on the clock. In my opinion either is perfectly acceptable in my house and far better than the badly skinned and poorly refinished example.

    A final example of skinning off all patina can be seen in the tall clock photo(s). The stripped version is what I generically call “belt sanded.” While its details can’t be seen so clearly in the dark brown finish, it does not look even close to proper in the skinned look. At least to me.

    If I can encourage a few folks to treat patina and original surfaces gently, versus stripping and completely refinishing, then this rant is worth something.

    20180712_110954b.jpg 20180713_123108b.jpg 20180712_200042b.jpg reedcase.jpg IMG_6015.JPG
     
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  2. the 3rd dwarve

    the 3rd dwarve Registered User

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    Hi,
    Is the tall case clock's case constructed from maple?
    Have you seen it in person, or only in photos?
    D`
     
  3. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    1,000% agreement...but in my case, you're preaching to the choir.

    When it comes to this, I feel like poor Sisyphus:

    luke-oram-lukeoram-titian-sisyphus.jpg

    The ultimate expression of futility (as depicted by Titian).

    RM
     
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  4. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Yes it is maple and yes I have seen it in person. Both in its stripped version and in the redone/aged finish that was reapplied at a not small cost. It would have faired far better in its market in the darkened finish than when it sold in its stripped version.
     
  5. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    I did a service on a large Gustav Becker grandfather many years for an old fella, this belonged to his father, anyway I regularly serviced the clock over the years, the fella died and it passed to his son, a few year later I get a call to come service the clock and I hardly recognised it, it had gone from the dark Oak finish to a bleached finish, at least the "restorer" had used lacquer not two pack, the reason? The son had moved into a modern home that has light timber finished floors and trim.

    It's still in the family I suppose, but the next in line will probably give it a distrested painted finish to make it look old,......
     
  6. David 62

    David 62 Registered User
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    I would like to know if it is possible to duplicate a crusty old shellac finish if say one was trying to match a missing return.Keeping the original surface is always best in my opinion.
     
  7. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    Even though there are only a few replies so, I think this is an interesting and thought provoking thread and I expect there will be a rather wide range of opinions. I personally enjoy restoring things, but I try to consider what is the best for each restoration. I think I did the right thing recently with this clock: Slightly Molested American Cuckoo Clock Company Cuckoo Clock, but I'd love to hear opinions, especially how it would be best treated if not stripped and refinished. The only thing I don't like is the hands are numbers look too white. I only cleaned the hands. The original flaking paper dial was replaced by a wooden one with embossed, but not colored numbers and I painted them on in white. Some of my other projects can be found at www.myclocks.site/repair in the Example Projects section.

    Maybe we need a place to post before photos and get opinions on how far to go... before starting?

    Tom
     
  8. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    It can be done for certain. Each job seems to behave a bit differently and what works on one piece very well may not work at all on the next piece. I have been working on old finish replacement on and off for a long time. Sometimes good, other times not so much.

    The following photos are all of reproductions I have built featuring old finishes/surfaces/showing wear. Not for everybody but there are a fair number of people who love it....

    20160816_150803.jpg IMG_1963x.JPG IMG_1085.JPG IMG_1392.JPG IMG_2807.JPG 2016-08-17 07.53.38.jpg
     
  9. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Your cuckoo clock came out great. It all looks like it should when you were done and it carrys its age well. Doesn't look new and your repairs fit right in. Nice carving work too... regards doing the repairs and blending them into the old surfaces, it can be done. Not usually easy but do-able.
     
  10. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I agree with preserving as much authentic finish as possible. Sometimes there is no hope and the alternative is just plain junkie looking. However, I see kitchen or parlor clocks that have been urethane varnished. They look like plastic. I have shown these pictures before of a Gilbert Dudley. When it came to me it was painted black, the dial was damaged, the bezel was missing, there were small nail heads showing from under the black paint, and the back was gone. Granted, not much to work with. The movement was good and the original gong was there. I decided to see what I could do. I started stripping the paint and found the veneer had been chiseled off and spackling in the gouges before it was painted. As I stripped the base I found it was mahogany in good condition. I set about re-veneering and finishing to match the surviving base, made a back, printed a dial on parchment type paper, and bought a bezel. No way can I recover the time and resources put into this little clock but I am happy. It is as close to original as I can get it at this time

    Recently acquired a Waterbury Iron front. Some suggested I polish the bezels and repair the paint on the flowers. All I did was refinish the hands in a matte finish, repair the movement, and carefully clean the outside. The clock dates to 1860, it should look like it does.

    DSCF1338.JPG DSCF1341.JPG IMAG0189.jpg Iron Front Waterbury.jpg
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    You and certain like minded folks are recreating time marked finishes with the intention to sympathetically reverse the damage done by stripping/refinishing and as part of undoing what was considered by some "restoration". It is being done using a knowledge of period finishes, construction techniques, etc. That has been the task of conservators for years. For example, I have a number of books describing furniture in various museum collections (the Garvan at YU, MFA, Historic N.E., etc). I might also add many of the pieces shown are iconic. Each entry has a section describing the condition of the object. Invariably are described efforts to undo bad repairs and ameliorate refinishing/stripping!

    That said, there is a certain irony here.

    On the one hand, the people who feel the need to skin and "restore" often erasing signs of honest age and wear and others who are working long and hard to undo that damage.

    Take that one step further. There are people who are seeking to deceive and profit from their deceptions. As an example, recall that Civil War Memorial Secretary that was revealed as a forgery. We discussed it on the MB and recently it was exposed as such and received world wide coverage in places like the NYT: ‘I Cheated,’ Says Woodworker Who Fooled the Antiques Experts

    One of the features of this object and the others this individual has created over the decades (and there are many he created) and that he considers the most important and that he works the hardest to achieve...the surface and the finish. Much time is spent, sometimes months, just tweaking that surface to make it look old, worn and convincing. Others like him do the same. That includes recreating "old paint".

    SO, a bit ironic there are people so willing to remove that patina of age for I think rather misguided reasons while at the same time there are those who value it, to the point of working very hard to create it!

    I applaud what you did with you lovely iron front. I recall when you first posted it and it looks great. NO reason to have touched the wonderfully preserved original period paint. I shudder to think what fate might have befallen that clock if it had gotten, sadly, into the hands of many others.

    The result you achieved with the first clock is quite nice. However, and I apologize if I seem critical. The example of the first clock is often, to me, a sign of the confusion around the points raised. Based upon the pix and your description, the clock was a totally abused wreck. It had been held hostage and tortured. Furthermore, it's not really a clock of any great value or collectability. SO, what you did is just fine and in fact rather nice and I certainly can't object.

    RM
     
  12. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #12 Chris Radano, Jul 14, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
    This Weight regulator wasn't exactly a "basket case", but I bought it many years ago missing about 35% of it's rosewood veneer. And the finish was gone. Most of the missing veneer was off the front edges. This clock was probably stored many years in a moist place. The dial glass was missing. It was neglected. But not too far gone.
    I had this case restored professionally. I picture it here (sorry it was difficult to get light on it), because the restoration was expensive, and probably not something most people would have spent the dough on. So, a rare occurrence....a clock of this type, of this value, professionally restored. Now I admit today I would have passed up this clock because the restoration was too ambitious for me to execute myself. Missing veneer on clocks seems to cripple their value to people. And this clock is not "rare". But it is "well done". How could I, I lover of clocks, not have this saved? To me, the "REGULATOR" painted on the bottom glass has a cool "wild west" look to it, for a Connecticut clock.
    Honestly, it looks too new for my taste today. Give me a raw, beautiful, crusty old clock any time. But in this case, the restoration really was needed. This clock runs great, and is an accurate timekeeper. In my heart I like it, but probably no commoner can set it up.
    Another point....I like the contrast of the old and new in our house. We have antique, and new furnishings. Even "vintage" stuff of the in between age. I never understood people who think everything must look the same in their home. How boring.

    Gilbert Regulator #2 001.JPG
     
  13. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    restoring cases, and mechanisms, is a bit beyond my skillset. I shall get around to the mechanisms but the cases will always be a bit more challenging. I can do repairs and strengthening.

    That means I rely on specialists, and every restoration involves a conversation about what to do and what not to do. My overall approach is that I don't want something 300 years old to look new, but I don't want artificial ageing either. Sympathetic treatment is what is required, a complete train wreck will require rather more and may then look closer to how it was new, particularly a problem with ebonising.

    I think my most recent case, the feather banded oak case shows what can be achieved by a skilled cabinet maker, I think it has the balance between showing the history and sympathetically replacing whatever was missing.

    DSC_0652.JPG feather band 2.JPG featherband 1.JPG speakman case 3.JPG speakman case 2.JPG speakman case 1.JPG
     
  14. mauleg

    mauleg Registered User
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    This issue has sides similar to the discussions around polishing silver pocket watch cases. My approach for silver pocket watches is to leave patina alone, but remove dirt and severe tarnishing (i.e., surfaces that are more black than silver)

    I follow a similar approach in terms of clocks. Other threads here have highlighted clocks that were badly damaged and subsequently restored. These restorations (including refinishing), when done right, are conservation at its best.

    To sum it up, here's my take:

    1. Environmental damage (I include "alligatoring" of shellac in this category) is not a hallmark of antiquity.
    2. Use minimal intervention to address environmental damage. Methods that preserve the constituents of the original finish are preferable.
    3. In instances of extreme environmental damage, such as near-complete loss of finish or damage to the underlying substrate, complete refinishing may be necessary. In this case, the new finish should be as close as possible to the original in terms of application and materials.
    The overall idea is to bring the clock back to a state this is as close as possible to a well-preserved clock of similar age. A recent example of where I believe that this has been achieved (so far; a work in progress) is in this thread. The re-amalgamation of the shellac is an example of item #2, as it does not remove any of the original finish.
     
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  15. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I undertook the restoration of the Gilbert Dudley simply because I wanted to see how much I could do. No way is that little clock worth much except to me. Ironically, I only had a couple of photographs to base my restore on. Since that time over a year ago I came across an original Dudley at a sale. Bought it for a song primarily to use as a comparison. As you can tell the restore came pretty close to the one that had never been touched in these photos

    IMG_20180714_115834306.jpg IMG_20180714_115808146_HDR.jpg
     
  16. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    And a wonderful job done made better by the experience acquired!!

    RM
     
  17. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thought I would post 2 objects. One somewhat vandalized, the other only partially so.

    The first is a rather scarce MA P&S by Simeon Crittendon:

    crittendon.JPG

    Skinned to the bare pine. I still felt worth having at the right price as his clocks are unique and scarce. How sad, though. See this thread for how it may have once looked: Simeon Crittenden, Hawley, Massachusetts pillar & scroll, with an interesting story. as well as additional info about his clocks.

    Even if my clock's original finish was dark, degraded and grungy, it would have been better than this IMCO.

    The next object almost faced the same fate. Not a clock, but a scarce tilt top candle stand:

    IMG_7333 (1).JPG IMG_7335.JPG

    Note the shape of the top. Here's links to similar tables sold at auction for much money:

    Federal Cherry Carved Tilt-top Candlestand | Sale Number 2680B, Lot Number 129 | Skinner Auctioneers

    Federal Cherry Carved Tilt-top Candlestand | Sale Number 2680B, Lot Number 130 | Skinner Auctioneers

    Potentially an scarce important table. The auctioneer says VT. I say NH.

    Sadly, the top of my table had been stripped. Over time, it has mellowed some.

    I had the opportunity to speak with the picker/dealer who had owned this table and brought it to market (he liked it so it had been in his personal collection for decades). He related the story that he went to a home for a "house call". As he pulled up, he came upon a horrifying scene. The owner had the table in the front yard and had just poured Stripeze onto the top. One can only suppose that said dimwit was going to do that to the rest of this table which retained its original finish. The dealer leaped out of his car and screamed "STOP" at the top of his lungs. It was too late for the top but the the rest of the table was thankfully spared a similar fate. This table brought much less at auction than the other 2 I link too.

    So, I too feel the need to scream "STOP"!!!

    RM
     
  18. Isaac

    Isaac Registered User

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    There are some instances where some clocks would benefit from being heavily restored, although this varies from individual to individual. A hardcore collector would argue against doing any restoration. However, I have to argue against that form of thinking in some instances. There was a high end ebonized english bracket clock that was posted a while back that was in disastrous shape. The before and after photos are like night and day. Without restoration, I would hazard to guess that the case would continue to break down even more and become “irrepairable” by most of our standards. At that point, what’s the point of keeping the originality if it means that the item would end up being completely destroyed by the elements?

    Antiques that are restored with regards to looking as closely to the original as possible are fine as long as the person that’s restoring it keeps the restoration either just as good as the original or better.

    Most of the people that do careless stripping and restoration usually do not know the real value of what they are buying, or they plan on keeping it instead of selling.
     
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  19. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    The age old debate about conservation versus restoration...….

    I disagree with some/many of the comments on this thread. In my view a poorly maintained case is NOT preferable to a thoughtfully restored case using the ORIGINAL techniques and finishes. In my opinion some on this thread has confused unnecessary stripping of antiques (which I dislike) with thoughtful restoration of a case in a state of disrepair. There is a major difference.

    I've attached three of my cases that have been restored.

    The case of the first clock was in much worse condition that is shown in the photos and was ready for the rubbish bin. Its a very decent clock and ending in the rubbish bin would have been a massive shame. Its also by a maker who made the first bracket clock I ever saw so has sentimental value to me aside from its current aesthetic beauty.

    The second is a hooded wall clock that was painted with an unoriginal green/brown paint and was stripped then ebonized. It is a cheap clock and it cost about the same to restore the case as the original purchase price but I believe it will now outlive me by a couple of centuries because it looks amazing. Its a simple hooded wall clock and I think it has been saved from its likely fate as landfill. This would be a shame for a 250 year old clock. It may look better than it did when it was first made but I think guaranteed survival is preferable to maintaining a non-original crappy painted finish .

    The third is a high end 2nd half of 18thC case that was also in a very tired state and is now ready for another 250 years. It wouldn't have been landfill but it certainly didn't look at a standard appropriate for the quality of the movement the rear of which is shown in the last photo.

    Some may agree with me and some no doubt will disagree but at least I know I've saved these clocks for another few centuries and I feel good about that.

    Dean




    original.jpg IMG_2082 (003).JPG 1510 (2).jpg IMG_3337.JPG IMG_3338.JPG IMG_3341.JPG IMG_3343.JPG b1adfc5e-ae15-43df-b1b3-2ecf10be07ba.jpg
     
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  20. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    However, I would take a different approach on an older clock such as the clock in attached photos which dates to 1600. On clocks like these I think it is better to leave the worn mercury gilding rather than replace the finish. However, I would clean the case to remove the dirt and grim as dirt and grim are not patina. The first photo is the dirty case and the remaining are the clean version.

    It has a missing dial which I intend to have remade in solid silver and hand engraved identical to the original style used by this maker (as I have found a virtually identical clock). Again this is restoration over conservation.

    IMG_2763.JPG IMG_2792.JPG IMG_2793.JPG IMG_2795.JPG
     
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  21. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    #21 novicetimekeeper, Jul 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
    I agree with Dean, leaving a clock exactly as you find it is for a museum. Museums usually clean but pretty much stop at that. They will have rips in paintings repaired.

    My collection is not for a museum but for me to enjoy. The aim is that virtually all my clocks will be brought back to running condition, although they won't all be run. I feel a sense of responsibility to them, many are rescues because the falling value puts them at risk and they have been brought back from the dead to have another 300 years of life.

    EDIT Note> With regard to the Asselyn ebonised bracket clock mentioned in the previous posts, it was indeed far far worse than the pictures published show. I was even concerned to handle it lest further degradation should occur as bits were falling off all the time. Now it looks absolutely stunning. The guy who worked on it is a magician. I saw it a couple of times during the repair and the way he coaxed the ebony veneer on the top back down showed great confidence and great patience.
     
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  22. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dean,

    I can't argue with this at all, as long as the back of that new dial is appropriately marked and dated to prove its origin. It only becomes problematical for later researchers if this isn't done. If I make a new pair of hands for a watch, I always sign and date the underneath surfaces.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  23. David 62

    David 62 Registered User
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    I would like to know how to reproduce alligatoring" of shellac.Nice work on those "old finishes" Jim!I like the idea of having the original surface that has survived in the various environments that the piece was exposed to and was touched by all of the owners over time.
     
  24. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #24 Chris Radano, Jul 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
    This is coming from someone (me) who at the moment, has a collection that has been amassed over a reasonable amount of time, that I'm "perfectly" happy with. I won't buy them if they are a basket case. Because they will need heavy restoration to be brought back. Likewise, I will pass them by if the restoration looks odd, or wrong. Generally, I'm not a fan of the heavily restored look, except for really nice clocks. Actually, I have some really nice clocks that are completely restored and look great. For most clocks in my collection, they usually need cleaning and light restoration. Some I've already done, some still are untouched. But if they don't show age, I'm not interested. Just my opinion only. There are no clocks that are a "holy grail" for me, that I will add one that doesn't look the way I like just because it's on a "wish list". It took years, and lessons learned to reach that conclusion. As it turned out for me, what I'm most happy with is a "good example". More so than a specific type, or something someone (even myself) thinks I need to have just to put me in a specific category.
     
  25. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    A true alligatored finish in shellac is fairly tough to replicate. I have only been able to do that a few times in shellac and these times were more accidental than intentional. If you want to see some thoughts on the subject PM me your email address and I will send you a link to a paper that gives some more details.
     
  26. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    I am very happy you guys are out there snapping up all the good examples. It means we are not competing for the same clocks and that leaves all the bad examples for me ;) I am not interested in buying a clock that I can sit straight on a shelf. Or one where I only need to clean the movement for that matter. All my clocks have been someone else's trash. I buy the used and abused and I wouldn't have it any other way. I have a clock collection, but I am not a clock collector. The restoration of each of my clocks is where I find bliss. I have never given a hoot about the value of any of my clocks beyond their intrinsic value to me.
     
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  27. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Sounds great, Peter. I can assure you we are not competing over the same clocks, mostly because we could not be further apart geographically on the planet. In fact, I am not competing with anyone. For me, I like clocks that maybe have been in a family, or one place, for many years. Maybe that clock was carefully stored for a long time. The clock was cared for in it's working life, and show signs of use, and repair.It was valued, and not trashed or stacked like firewood in a warehouse, or tossed about from collector to collector like a piece of seashell barter. It's my pleasure to be the next curator of a clock such as this. I would not drastically alter it, but continue it's caring use. That's an ideal. Of course, there are clocks that are fine that don't exactly travel this path.
     
  28. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    You would be surprised Chris. At least half of my clocks have come for the US or Europe. Living on an island to the south of mainland Australia, most all my clocks have travelled a fair distance to their new home. :)
     
  29. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    I’m marginally north of Peter and I’ve only acquired one clock in Australia. Without the internet I wouldn’t have a collection.
     
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  30. RAK

    RAK Registered User
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    The clock in this photo still has a finish in most places but it is very dry and almost powdery for lack of a better term. It doesn't really fall into the category of what I would call alligatored. I apologize for the poor photos. The finish, along with the rest of the clock is all original except for it is missing one piece of molding on the side and the grommet for the winding arbor is a (incorrect - too fat) replacement. The advertising glass is in exceptional shape, but clearly shows its age.

    Like so many of the clocks we own, this is an uncommon clock and is a clock I, with wide open eyes, overpaid for to acquire. I have seen about ten of them over the years (all in photos except this one - mostly facilitated by NAWCC member Jerry Maltz who owned three and had photos of others). All of the others except one (which is in a Historical Society collection) were either missing the top trim or the bottom boot, or the glass was redone or had other problems. All looked refinished except for the one previously mentioned.

    What is the consensus on a finish like this? Would you strip it and refinish? Is there products to try that can clean and revive a finish that is this deteriorated? Would you leave it be?

    Sodus.jpg Sodus2.jpg
     
  31. RAK

    RAK Registered User
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    PS... The photos were taken in two different locations. The one with the light switch is from after the move.
     
  32. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #32 Jim DuBois, Jul 17, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
    I would dust it a few times a year and call it good! While there are many who may disagree there are also a fair number of people who will pay a premium premium (yes repeat is intentional) for furniture and clocks "in the black." And while the ARS takes heat for overpricing some things on the show it is hard to discount some of the pieces in the black seen there that have gone on to world record prices when auctioned. Can't say the same for refinished pieces. I can personally speak to both ends of that arguement with clocks I have owed that were original in heavily patina-ed cases vs. some that were skinned (or others might contend returned to a new condition as when made). Once cleaned, restored, or returned to how the original maker intended it to look, much of the story of the piece is lost as in most cases a lot of value. There are exceptions, some pieces are so heavily damaged with missing parts and the like that there is little choice about doing a full restoration, but even those can be done in a fashion where it doesn't look like a recent escapee from IKEA. The bracket clock referred to in this thread is a classic example of "no other choice" and it is done so well as to look entirely proper, but it doesn't to me look new or even restored. It looks proper.
     
  33. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    Really depends on how worn the original finish is... if it's completely crazed and nothing helps to preserve it, then strip and refinish to the best of one's knowledge regarding how the clock originally looked. Totally different ballgame if you're doing this for a customer who may be far more ardent in desiring the clock to be 'all original' or in 'pristine condition', though both do not always go hand in hand.
     
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  34. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Honestly, I see no great debate here.

    I would recommend refinishing that clock just about as quickly as I would have asked my (now late) 103 year of age great grandma to get a face lift and collagen injections.

    I agree with Jim. Just dust it periodically. It's wonderful and as it should be at > 100 years...like my great grandma was.

    RM
     
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  35. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Under most circumstances, the only stripper that belongs on a clock:

    6975381_1_x.jpg

    It's the fan dancer Lux clock based upon the famous 1930's stripper, Sally Rand.

    RM
     
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  36. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Here is a clock I bought, badly skinned as can be easily seen, nearly 50 years ago. It is a wood works made by Nathaniel Hamlin of Oxford, Maine. A rare clock that was not cheap even in its stripped condition, but still a 30 hr WW. About 30 years ago we had a great painter recreate a more proper painted surface. There were several traces of paint in what was left of the case before the repaint was done. And to that point paint folks would perhaps call this 2nd surface, not a repaint. Splitting hairs. In any event it is acceptable to me as a repaint vs the really poor skinned clock as I got it. More the way it should have looked new.

    The whales tail pillar and scroll is a clock I also bought a very long time ago, more than 40 years ago. It has been featured in a couple of books and it pretty fairly represents a clock that many would have immediately "refinished", made look like it did originally, etc. I have heard that recommendation dozens of times in the last xx years. I paid about 6-8-10 times what a normal P&S would have sold for back then. I recently sold it, as shown here, for a lot of money. Several times what a skinned/well refinished example brought in a recent NY auction.

    My take away remains the same, old surfaces can add a lot of value, even if some of us thinks it should be refinished or cleaned up.

    Hamlen stripped 2.jpg IMG_0932x.JPG Terry whales tail.jpg stripped whales tail.jpg
     
  37. tracerjack

    tracerjack Registered User
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    The clocks I typically get have zero finish left. It's all gone, so there really isn't any decision to make on those. I do what it takes to protect the wood case and make the clock look like it should be in a home instead of the trash bin. Lately, I have picked up some clocks that have crazed or crackled finish, worn dials and such. From reading this forum, I have come to appreciate their history. They are classic examples of clocks that look their age, and only need the dust and dirt cleaned off. I think the title of this thread says it clearly, "overaggressive". We've all seen those, and it's just a shame.
     
  38. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Here is a close up photo of the base of an old banjo clock from this thread:
    Amazing old banjo clock.
    BTW, thanks guys for your help to give a summary of the clock.
    Sarcasm aside, My heart leaped for joy when I saw the condition of this clock. No way would I ever consider refinishing this base. Unless I want to kill any value this clock has to a knowledgeable, appreciative person. How about some gooey, blistered finish, anyone?? I do plan to give it a light cleaning and sprucing up, as I've already started as my schedule permits. Even though I feel Antique Road Show is full of it when it comes to monetary values of the featured antiques, I won't question the appraiser's knowledge when they often suggest a cleaning of whatever item they're looking at.

    Banjo clock base 001.JPG
     
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  39. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Much as I approve of retaining patina, I think this one needs a bit more help than that. I very nearly got a local external countwheel 8 day for it, but I was the underbidder :(

    original (16).jpg original (15).jpg original (14).jpg original (13).jpg original (12).jpg
     
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  40. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    From an ethical perspective faking an antique finish is probably not the preferred option.

    Each to his own as long as the clock is not then sold as genuine original finish.
     
  41. Isaac

    Isaac Registered User

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    I've been reading this and love seeing the different examples shown. I believe that it is simply down to a "case by case" basis (pun intended) depending on the clocks collectable value as well as ultimately what the owner wants to do with it (resell, keep in home, etc). I do my best to clean up the case as best as I can, and simply use a little bit of wax to help bring out the wood grain. Here's a great example of a restored Herschede clock. It'd be pretty hard to argue that the restoration does not bring back value to the clock in this case.

    Hardcore collectors might disagree about the value after restoration. But from a casual observer's opinion, one is more inclined to buy a clock that doesn't look like it's been sitting in a damp basement for many years.

     
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  42. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    Sometimes you really have no choice.

    Vienna Case Project.jpg

    Case Project 002.jpg
     
  43. RAK

    RAK Registered User
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    Jim, I really appreciate your comments regarding finishes like the one on my adv. clock. It hasn't been messed with by someone in the past, and that makes it stand out from the other examples I've seen. So dusting (and looking for a better grommet) will be it.

    OMG RM, I can't stop laughing when I think about that Lux Fan Dancer clock. What a classic! Every man cave should have one.
     
  44. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Every straight mancave perhaps, not really my thing. :)
     
  45. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    And they were sold as souvenirs for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair! In fact the original pendulum bob on these clocks indicated that fact.

    A good pairing might be?

    scotty dog.jpg

    RM
     
  46. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I suspect we can agree preserving patina can be overdone as we can see from this fine example.....

    stove with patina.jpg
     
  47. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #47 Chris Radano, Jul 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
    Yes Jim, I'm sure there are plenty of mouse droppings, maybe some cockroaches in there. Unless the grease drove away the cockroaches,
    Here's a story related to untouched finishes on furniture. About 15 or so years ago, I was looking for an end table for our home. I found one on ebay, that had perfect measurements. It was local. Obviously it lived in a barn for maybe a century. It could have been described as having a mud finish. I thought, "Good. nobody will want that. I'll get that one". Well, as the listing duration progressed, I realized to my dismay that there was other interest. I bid a little before the end, and was outbid. I was determined! I bid again. Anyway, you all know how that goes. I did win the shabby table....for about $550! Waaayyyy over what I thought it would be. Not bad for a little muddy table. So, maybe it was worth it, because the wife and I use this table every single day. I rubbed it down with 000 steel wool and wax, and some mustard yellow paint turned up. Probably I killed the table's value by doing that. Oh, well. Sooooo, what's so great about this table? Maybe you guys know? I think maybe it was used for some type of job, or manufacturing process (a work table?). Or was it a stupid "bidding war" for no reason? I wouldn't try to outbid someone today, I would have passed. The point about original finish was taken!

    end table 001.JPG end table 002.JPG
     
  48. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    In the parlance of the trade, it's a "primitive" with great "surface" and "paint history"?

    RM
     
  49. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Bob, How about "untouched" surface? Great patina too!

    And Chris, it looks you did what needed to be done on your primitive work table. Didn't do a lot more than make it acceptable for its intended use I would think. Seems perfectly acceptable to me.

    What troubles me are re-finish/restoration jobs like this, nothing left that looks old....might as well be entirely new. I think the door trim, the hood columns, and a couple of other moldings and trim pieces should be ebonized, but it is hard to tell. The whole clock might as well be Formica when done up like this. The prior owner paid $7000 for it......fairly recently.....

    20180719_172228.jpg 20180719_172221.jpg
     
  50. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I think he was robbed.
     

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