Refurbished Ansonia Mercury-FINISHED!

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by bytes2doc, Oct 6, 2018.

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  1. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Lots of new techniques for me, and I could not have finished without all your help.

    This piece was ready for the trash can. I could barely see some gold paint on one of the the side arms-cast hanging from the mid section of round clock. Mercury had virtually no paint, and the paint it did have was easily scratched off with your fingernail. One of the attached pictures is typical of what all the ornamentation looked like. 1538860390911109545889.jpg 20180603_162614.jpg

    After sand blasting the entire thing, powder coating was next. The only piece not original is the top finial - that melted in the oven curing the paint. It is made of solder!

    The finished clock, keeping good time and strike.

    Now should I find a new dial or leave well enough alone.
     
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  2. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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  3. JTD

    JTD Registered User
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    I think your refurbishment looks very fine, and it's particularly good that you have rescued this clock and brought it to new life.

    As for the dial, I would leave it as it is, or at least don't get a new one. If the cracks really worry you, you could try to bleach them out a little. One way is soak the dial overnight in water with two or three of the fizzy tablets used to clean dentures. I used this method on an Ansonia dial with cracks similar to yours with quite fair results.

    Other way is to apply household bleach to the cracks with a Q-tip, leave it for a while and then rinse off.

    But for myself, I don't think the dial looks too bad and would probably leave it as it is.

    JTD
     
  4. tracerjack

    tracerjack Registered User

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    Came out really nice. I'd keep the dial as is.
     
  5. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    Yes, great job ... and the dial looks fine as is.
     
  6. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Great job. Stop now!
     
  7. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    #7 Time After Time, Oct 8, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  8. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    TaT, I powder coated, after a good sandblasting.

    The dial was in pieces, and I jigsawed it into place and used a little epoxy.
     
  9. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Hey Barry,
    I saw that you mentioned powder coating. I just assumed that it was on the Cast Iron Base.
    Looks good on the Spelter pieces too. Very smooth finish. Did the process retain all of the fine detail?
    Thanks,
    Bruce
     
  10. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Yes it did, and I'm very happy with it. If you have a spot you want me to get a close up just let me know.

    You have to watch the temperature with the Spelter pieces. A bit to high and it appears that solder bleeds from every joint. What was a surprise to me is that the top finial is actually molded from solder. How do I know? It melted in the oven with that bright silver look of hot melted solder. That is the only piece I replaced.
     
  11. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    I don't know what to tell you. Spelter (or "Pot Metal") can vary in composition from one casting to another I think. I try to avoid exposing it to anything much hotter than very hot water or perhaps a hair dryer after a cleaning to dry the parts off

    We have a Mercury. The Spelter pieces look to have been refinished, probably with several different shades of paint to replicate the look of patina. (The flash really accentuates the different colors...they blend in much better under "normal" lighting)

    For comparison here's a close up of the face, eyes and shoulder armor. Besides all of the dust, what do you think?

    Mercury.JPG
     
  12. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Looks like ole Mercury could strike more than just one pose on those clocks ...
    Willie X
     
  13. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Hey Willie X!
    I don't know. I just took the snap shot more from an angle "looking" directly at Mercury's face. As you may already know, Ansonia also used this figure on a more elborate base and clock tower. They called that model their "Hermes" Here's a link: Ansonia “hermes” Metal Seated Statue Clock
    Regards,
    Bruce
     
  14. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Here is a similar angle.

    image.jpeg
     
  15. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Looks nice.
    Thanks for posting that additional photo. I understand that powder coating can be quite durable. If you wanted to remove it, what would you use?

    I've seen some very nice "patina" effects with the various acrylic paints. The thin, lighter coat usually goes on first and is allowed to completely dry. A darker wash coat is applied and is wiped off while it is still drying. The wet dark coat is left in the recessed areas while the slightly darkened lighter coat is partially exposed. The effect looks like the type of high spot rub/buff patina you see on statues which nave been handled or polished over time.

    Attached is a photo of a figural Ansonia clock in our collection called "Poetry". Some previous owner kind of went over the top with colors chosen for the ornamentation. However, if you look at Poetry's leg you can see the full effect. The refinisher also applied the "two-tone"effect with the gold parts as well.

    I imagine that we could strip the paint if we wanted to but would never dream of doing so. It's certainly not an original color/finish. That reduces the value of the clock to some collectors but we love her.

    Thanks again for sharing your results Barry. I think that you did a very nice job restoring your Mercury.

    Regards,

    Bruce

    Poetry_Front.jpg
     
  16. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Powder coat is great. The only problem I have run across is that when the base surface is not well prepared the paint will peel off in a thick sheet. Course this can happen with any paint but it seems more prevalent with powder. Willie X
     
  17. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    I have no experience with the term "powder coat". What is it, and how do you apply it?
     
  18. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    I don't know that much about it SB. Perhaps Barry can weigh in. All I think I know is that the "paint" is spayed on metal parts as dry powder. I believe there is some type of electrostatic charge that makes the powder adhere to the metal. The Powder Coated parts are then baked at a temperature that melts the paint allowing it to flow on to the surface as a continuous thin coat. Is that right Barry?
     
  19. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Yes Bruce that is it.

    You use a "paint gun" attached to a very low airpressure, about 12psi. The gun accepts a small container filled with the "paint," a very very fine powder. At the tip of the gun is a device that imparts an electrical charge when you squeeze the trigger and press on a foot pedal that turns on the electricity. The powder exits in a mist, but charged.

    The piece being painted has a ground attached to it, activated at the same time you press the foot pedal. Of course the charged particles seek ground, and the piece is covered in a even layer of this powder.

    If you made a mistake at this point, just blow it off and start over. Also bumping it or touching it will also displace the powder and you have to start over.

    Once coated, place it in an oven at 450 until the powder flows. That is the point that the dry and dull looking powder now looks wet. Turn the heat down to around 325-350 and set the timer for 20 minutes to cure.

    This was my first attempt at it and I thought it work out well. Learned as I went along. I used a HF powder coating device, bought the biggest toaster oven I could find, but bought quality powder.

    I love Poetry Bruce! I think I'm getting partial to Ansonia figures.
     
  20. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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  21. Time After Time

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    Barry,
    Since old Spelter Alloy can supposedly contain Tin, I would advise caution when using this process. Also, lately there have also been a lot of reproduction parts offered on eBay with a lesser variety of Ansonia reproduction parts being offered by Supply Houses.. I have no idea what alloy those have been cast with. The fact that just one piece of your castings melted suggest that it may have been a replacement part. Perhaps not. Maybe it was one of a large batch fabricated by Ansonia. Who knows? How did you source the replacement part? Were you able to powder coat it too?
    I'm told that Spelter is notoriously difficult to solder since the melting points can be so close. I've repaired a piece or two using steel reinforced JB Weld with respectable results I think. If you're interested in the specifics, I'll try to dig up the two-tone paint technique.
    Thanks,
    Bruce
     
  22. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User
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    Looks just great, nice job!
     
  23. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    I got the replacement part from timesavers. Seemed solid and no issues with the heat process.
     
  24. Time After Time

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    #24 Time After Time, Oct 10, 2018 at 8:37 PM
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018 at 8:42 PM
    Yes, Timesavers is one of the Supply Houses that carries a limited array of Ansonia Replacement Parts. There is also a Seller on eBay who goes by the name "Perfect Parts Tony" (or something along those lines). He hasn't been very active lately but I know he has (or had) a huge inventory of Figural Ansonias that he uses/used for mold patterns. Not sure what he casts with. You asked the question earlier "How do I know" in reference to whether a part has tin/lead in the alloy. I don't know of any way to test for it before you apply high heat in the range of 450 degrees. That's right about at the melting point of tin and I think that tin/lead is lower. It's always good to have options. Here's a link to an article by Ben Fulbright. In it, he primarily discusses restoration of Adamantine finishes (Seth Thomas) but it also discusses "REFINISHING AND/OR RESTORING METAL STATUARY OR ORNAMENTATION". As I said, I think you got a good result on your Mercury. If you're going to refinish these types of pieces, however, I think you may want to be aware of your alternatives. I know that I would.
    Regards,
    Bruce
     
  25. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    You're really twisting the dragon's tail to put pot metal in a 450 degree oven!
    Willie X
     
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  26. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Ya I know about twisting the dragons tail on this! However I did not know that when I started.

    Basically I obtained a trashed clock and this was going to be my learning project. If I killed it, no big deal. I did get the book "Extream rstoration" which is excellent, but unfortunately nothing on restoring cast iron or pot metal. I was on my own. Did not even know it was pot metal at the time.

    What I learned is that if you heat just to the point of powder flow, open the oven to cool down quickly to 350, then continue with the 20minute cure at that temp, then every seems to work out okay.

    I walked away at one time before knowing this for a few minutes and noticed one of the pieces started to "bleed" what looked like solder from the joints. This is why I thought it was solder and what held the parts together. Most of it got sucked back into the joint when i let that cool back a bit more slowley.

    Although the final result is a hard and durable finish that will most likely last overy another 100y, and maybe even more durable than the orginal finish, I appreciate the link to the alternative, and perhaps correct way of doing this. Although it turned out okay not sure I would want to tempt it again.
     
  27. Time After Time

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    I don't know that I would call it "correct" Barry. I currently have no idea how these pieces were originally finished at the Factory. I don't think it was with paint. There is, however, a track record for the paint approach and so one can expect a certain result. Spelter or Pot Metal is pretty fragile. Generally I handle it like glass. It's almost crystalline and breaks are very jagged. These antique pieces are most often over a century old and may have been repaired or soldered with unknown materials because the alloy is so variable and so easily broken. You really have to use care or you may end up with a donor clock in your collection.

    There's nothing wrong with trying new things. If you're not sure about something, please run it by MB members first. There's a wealth of experience and knowledge here and chances are pretty good that at least some of us have been there before.

    Something that is of concern to me regarding the powder coat approach is its durability. I don't think it would be easily reversible. I know that some folks have used it on cast iron bases which were originally finished with baked enamel. I think powder coating can be an excellent choice for that type of application. The only possible downside that I can see would be loss of the incised and gilded scroll decorations that one almost always sees in those types of pieces.

    Willie X doesn't beat around the bush, and I think that he's absolutely right. You got a pretty nice result and I don't want to be critical of your methods. I hope that you'll continue to breathe new life into antique clocks and preserve them for another generation or two. I just wanted to expose you to an alternative method for consideration. ;)
    .
    Have fun.

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
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