Recommendations on cleaning wooden clock cases

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Floyd's Grandson, Mar 22, 2020.

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  1. Floyd's Grandson

    Floyd's Grandson Registered User
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    Mar 16, 2020
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    I’ve recently acquired several antique clocks. Some are mantle clocks, and most recently a mahogany grandfather clock. One in particular is a black painted Waterbury “Darien” mantle clock.

    What do you all recommend to clean the clock cases with, without damaging the finish?
     
  2. gleber

    gleber Registered User

    Jun 15, 2015
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    A lot of people here say Gojo waterless hand cleaner without pumice works well. I have used it and I like it, but I can't get the same dramatic results I have seen by others. I guess I don't put in enough elbow grease...

    Tom
     
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  3. Floyd's Grandson

    Floyd's Grandson Registered User
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    This is the second recommendation I’ve received for Gojo. Must be something to it!! Thanks for the reply!
     
  4. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    You can also browse the Clock Case Restoration and Repair section for other options, and perhaps this would get more replies if it was posted there. You can ask a moderator to move it.

    Tom
     
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  5. Old Rivers

    Old Rivers Registered User
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    I really like this stuff:

    https://tinyurl.com/rgf8fjq

    Have used it on several clocks, it contains no harsh chemicals and is very gentle. Same manufacturer's "Protective Wood Feeder" is also a great product for follow-up afterwards .

    Bill
     
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  6. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    the secret to the gojo is not elbow grease, but finger grease..... you work the surface bare-handed, using your fingers. the trick is to both feel and observe progress, and to wipe clean repeatedly while going. as with all things clock, the more careful and attentive you are, the better the results.

    while you shouldn't expect 'brand new', the results can be pretty impressive.

    btw... removing specks of paint, etc. would be done prior to gojo-ing.
     
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  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I use "Spruce it Up" when I decide that the surface of a piece would benefit from a cleaning. I like grunge so don't use it on everything.

    If you google the name, you can order it on line. It is a cream that comes in a plastic tub.

    Just removes the dirt and leaves the finish. I have had pretty good results. Even use it on real antiques furniture, too.

    Apply with a cloth. Only if surface is dirty or dark, I apply with 4-O steel wool (gently rubbing). Using steel wool will take the paint spots off, too. I then wipe clean with those soft paper shop cloths that come in a box. Final rub down is with a flannel or microfiber cloth.

    As mentioned, I have had good results on clocks and antique furniture.

    Here are 2 pieces that I used "Spruce It Up" gently applied with 4-0 steel wool then patiently rubbing out until there was no residual of the product and the shop rags were "clean": Both retained an original finish that I wished to preserve.

    A Merklen Brother's arm chair:

    merklen 1.JPG

    Kind of a mess when found, including that the finish on seat was cloudy...a previous must have had sweaty bottom?

    Here's a Herschede tambour:

    herschede.jpg

    Had original finish and survived in pretty good condition but was dull and dirty. Came out pretty good??

    RM
     
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  8. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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  9. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    Mineral spirits (for those in the U.S.), variably known around the world as white spirits, mineral turpentine, solvent naphtha, petroleum spirits, Varsol, or Stoddard solvent.

    The grunge on an old finish on wood is usually embedded in wax. Mineral spirits will dissolve the wax and not touch the wood finish, whether shellac or varnish. You can put it in a spray bottle and spray it on, then wipe it off with a soft cloth (I like old worn out cotton things, t-shirts and flannel sheets and the like (or underwear, but it makes my wife cringe)), or you can dampen/soak the cloth and do it that way. It works incredibly well for getting off decades of grunge without risk to the finish.

    Hope this helps.

    Glen
     
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  10. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User
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    Jan 20, 2017
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    i'm a gojo man personally, but i do agree with what was said above: various clocks with have different sorts of gunk accumulated on the finish over time.

    I posted some examples in an old thread what shows a comparison between start and finish. check out entry #11 in this thread:

    Herschede/Elite 11 tube Hall clock restoration thread
     
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  11. Floyd's Grandson

    Floyd's Grandson Registered User
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    It’s baffling to me how many clocks I’ve seen already in my limited time of collecting that have specks of paint on them! Why wouldn’t you move the clock out of the room when you’re painting, or at least cover it?
     
  12. Floyd's Grandson

    Floyd's Grandson Registered User
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    Very nice work!
     
  13. Floyd's Grandson

    Floyd's Grandson Registered User
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    Thanks, Glen! I don’t know why I didn’t think of this. I’ve used mineral spirits (in the form of some old cans of Zippo fluid I had laying around) to clean many guitar bodies, and it worked great! Thanks for the reminder!
     

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