Paper dial replacement tutorial

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by bikerclockguy, Nov 18, 2017.

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  1. bikerclockguy

    bikerclockguy Registered User
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    Jul 22, 2017
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    I'm getting ready to do a paper dial replacement(or it would probably be more accurate to say I'm going to do a series of experiments in hopes that one will produce the desired result)and I was looking for a tutorial on this. I could've sworn there were several here under the old format, but I've searched all of the tips and tutorials, ongoing interest and encyclopedia articles, and didn't come up with anything. Can someone point me in the right direction? Thanks!
     
  2. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
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    Jan 18, 2017
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    I just did my first one last week, maybe I got lucky but it turned out quite nicely. The toughest part for me was cutting the holes for the winding arbors but I just used a sharp craft knife, went slowly and it went well. I used a spray contact cement on both the tin backer and the back of the dial, let it sit for 20 minutes to get tacky and then pressed on. The contact cement was very forgiving for smoothing out wrinkles and pressing into indents. Maybe there are better, more approved methods but this worked well for me.
     
  3. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Jun 24, 2008
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    You need a good paper dial cutter to cut a perfect circle, especially when the edge of the paper is visible. The blade must be very sharp so the paper will not tear, especially when cutting around printing at the bottom of the dial. I tape the dial down on a hard smooth surface so the paper cannot slip, making sure the tape does not touch a part of the final dial I am using. There are varied opinions about the glue you should use, but after trying several different kinds, I found that a simple bottle of rubber cement works best for me. Some glues cause the paper to pull and wrinkle when drying, but rubber cement does not. It comes with a brush which works perfectly for spreading glue evenly on the paper dial. As for cutting the holes, I, like Woodlawndon, use an exacto knife with a triangle shaped blade. Always cut from the front side of the dial, cutting inward with each cut. This keeps the paper from tearing on the outward side of the dial. Makes a nice clean cut that is perfect for a grommet if one is used. The center hole does not get a grommet, so it is important to get a clean, non tearing cut on that hole.
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. BLKBEARD

    BLKBEARD Registered User

    Nov 15, 2016
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    A sharp blade in the circle cutter is very important, I also like to put a sheet of sacrificial Poster Board under the dial to be cut, so the blade can easily pierce the dial and isn't effected by wood grain. I use Permatex Spray Adhesive.
     
  5. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Oct 19, 2005
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    For the dial itself, a good flatbed scanner helps, but a camera is acceptable. You make a photo copy, and use a good photo editor to clean up the bad spots. I use the "clone" feature on high magnification a lot for that. Just copy the good parts of the dial and clone them to the bad parts. Also high magnification helps to get nice straight lines on numbers, and things like that. Then print to the size needed and cut it out as described above. You and also put some "patina" on the dial if you like by changing the color or duplicating the color that is on it now.
     
  6. bikerclockguy

    bikerclockguy Registered User
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    Jul 22, 2017
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    Thanks everyone! I seem to remember a tutorial somewhere that mentioned dial alignment; getting the hole for the F/S adjustment rod in the right place and making sure 12:00 is exact top center, but I may have seen that someplace else. I bought a dial cutter from Timesavers before I started this project, but I haven't been impressed with it. It doesn't want to make a good cut and in some spots it will try to bunch the paper up and tear it. Not bad for getting the general outline, but I'm going to do my fine-tuning with a razor blade. As for the dial itself, I couldn't find one with a 4" time track, so I bought a 5 inch and reduced it by 20% with my scanner to get the right size, and cleaned the template up with Windows Photos. The original dial has a light plastic coating like a playing card, and I managed to duplicate that almost exactly using a product I bought at Home Depot called Polycrylic. I went through about 4 different clears before I tried this stuff; that others either smeared the ink or soaked into the paper, but Polycrylic did the job nicely.
     
  7. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    Nov 18, 2012
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    Any thoughts on how to age the paper dial, for example, using tea.
    Ron
     
  8. bikerclockguy

    bikerclockguy Registered User
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    Jul 22, 2017
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    Like Don, this is my first one. Tea ought to give you an old water-spotty look, I would think. I don't like the stark white dials that scream "replacement" from across the room myself, and for the one I'm doing now, I bought cardstock in ivory and tan. My first thought was that the tan would look better, but after I got the dials printed and coated, I ultimately went with the ivory, because the tan was too uniform. It looked like a tan dial rather than an aged white dial, whereas the ivory could pass for a well-preserved white dial. If you are coating i highly recommend the polycrylic too. It's a little pricey(about 9 bucks a can)buy it doest sear the ink and looks like the original coating
     
  9. bikerclockguy

    bikerclockguy Registered User
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    Jul 22, 2017
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    This is a mock-up I made using a practice dial. This was the first batch that resized correctly, so I printed a few off to practice with. The one I'm going to use is has finish drying on it at the moment, but you can get a good idea of the color anyway. The dial is ivory, and that's a sheet of tan cardstock it's sitting on

    mockup.JPG
     
    Dave T likes this.
  10. Coalbuster

    Coalbuster Registered User

    Aug 22, 2017
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    I glue a paper dial to a thin piece of sheet metal to make it easier to work with. I can then use tin snips to cut out the proper circle and a step drill to drill out the holes. Here's a temporary paper-on-sheet metal replacement for a Lincoln dial that I'm sending for repainting. I used brown shoe polish for faux aging. :

    lincoln_dial 3.jpg
     
  11. lpbp

    lpbp Registered User
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    Aug 25, 2000
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    To age dials I use paste wax that I tint with a little aniline dye, then rub it into the dial which causes the color to go on uneven like you would expect to find on an original dial, let it dry buff it slightly, the wax also provides some protection for the dial.
     

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