Restoration questions

Dave Berghold

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I'm in the process of restoring a small tower clock and I've got a couple questions regarding the finish of the brass wheels.... and other brass parts.

Trying to bring a nice luster to the wheels is a challenge without a TON of elbow grease. I can't fit many of the wheels in my ultrasonic so if anyone has any recommendation, I'd appreciate hearing from you. I'm not looking for a high polish, but something that will offer a consistant "cleaner" look. I've taken a sample piece and taken it to the buffing machine with a 3M scotch bright style wheel and it looks fine, but it would be difficult to get all the wheel teeth looking the same. And I don't want to remove and material that would cause issues.

I've considered a mild sand blasting, tumbler, etc... but didn't want to get myself in too deep.

The cast iron plates I'm going to inquire with an auto body paint shop for the primary coat and then hand paint the accents.

So, if anyone has any good ideas, please let me know. The clock is going to be a "show-piece" in my retail business so I want it to look like a show piece.

Thanks,
Dave
 

doug sinclair

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David,

Don't sand blast anything. Many outfits in the business offer a means of cleaning metal using crushed walnut shells. I've never used this method, so perhaps someone might happen along that can advise. The way to get the gears looking absolutely gorgeous is to use orange shellack. Don't allow it to get between the teeth. Shellack generally means you don't need to bring the brass to a high polish. But it must be clean! As to painting the plates- have you considered powder coat? There's no problem with brush strokes or oxidizing paint, and it is extremely durable. If you really want to add some "bling", consider gold-leafing the accents.
 

MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

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on the brass parts I would use Jasco metal cleaner after degreasing , diluted with water to weaken just enough to do the job followed by brass polish with a soft brush, then a cleaning with soapy warm water to remove any excess polish followed by a wipe down with a rag dampened with olive oil will bring a nice luster. Attached is a photo of a Seth Thomas center gear I gave this treatment to. Don't use anything abrasive that will harm the original surface.
George
-> posts merged by system <-
Dave,One other side note,my tower clock is originally from your state, Helena Montana. 73182.jpg
 

SamS

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Hi,

I restored a very rough Howard #2 Striker. I tired everything I could find regarding the finishes (brass finish, painted components, base restoration, etc.). The best method I found for brass finish of large parts was by far; White viniger, salt and 4-0 steel whool. Lots of work, but it cleans up really nice and you can take it to whatever finish level you like (brushed to full polish). After cleaing / polishing, rinse with clean water (lots - under running water), then spray paint with lacquar (can be from cans). In regards to the detailed painting of the gears, it's pretty easy with a good brush, good glasses, and some rustoleum paint. The attached link will show how our clock finished up.

Sam S.

https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?t=51124&highlight=kirby+mill
 

Dave Berghold

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:eek: WOW, you guys are fast! That's why I love the NAWCC board. I'm going to try small pieces with each method and see what works best for me.

Sam, out of curiosity, where did you acquire your clock? It's in wonderfully restored condition... my hat goes off to you. I ask only because I also have another tower clock that happens to be from Helena. It's a Seth Thomas and was originally in the Hawthorne School until the building was deemed structurally unsafe and the tower removed. I purchased it from an old timer in Helena who had it in his basement for many years.

Thanks again to all of you!
Dave
-> posts merged by system <-
And here's an image of the clock....
Anyone with any clues as to it's origins or date, please let me know.
I'm figuring it's either English or American. Not signed but not metric either.
I'd just be guessing 1890-1910.
Thoughts?
Thanks,
Dave 85525.jpg
 

MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

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Dave,I believe your question is directed to me, If so mine came from a Helena basement also, along with the rest of his remaining collection of smaller clocks. Purchased from the family after his passing. It's a #6 from 1889 #555
removed around 1958 from the merchants bank later the union bank in on Edwards and Last Chance Gulch. Originally it had one 8 foot dial I have since acquired all components less dials for a 4 dial tower. the movement is all original including paint and light control but the motion works and center gear had to be refinished.
George
 

Dave Berghold

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That was the same basement that my Seth Thomas came from. A.B. Jr. Where did the Synchranome go?
 

MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

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Small world isn't it! A few clocks were kept by family members, I suspect that was one
 

Dave Berghold

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Al was a great guy. I'll never forget that day I went to make an offer on the Seth Thomas. We went out for lunch with he and his buddy, both in their 70's or so. Chatted over lunch.. they each had a martini or something and were chatting up the very young waitress. When we got back to his house, I asked if I could use his restroom. He said, "I hope so, 'cause if you pee on my floor, I'd be real upset!".

Then we had to dicker on the price. But he mentioned that some knowledgeable watch and clock guy in Bozeman had offered an apprasial a number of years ago (that was me) and that he thought it was a fair price to sell the clock for. So, that was the price. He and I lugged it out of the basement and it's running in my workshop at home right now.

I would have tried to get the other clock, but it was too big for the space I needed to fill.... glad it made it to a good home and that you brought it back into GRO.
 

MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

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never met Al but wish I had , I have known his son for many years. He worked for a tool supply business I frequent and mentioned in passing a few years ago that he had some inherited clocks back in Montana. He hadn't seen in around 30 years but needed to do something with them at some point. when I quizzed him about what was there he wasn't too sure but did remember there was a few tower clocks one was an early electric, a large Seth Thomas he helped his dad remove from the tower back in the 50s, a small Seth Thomas he thought was from a street clock, a brown street clock,a couple of office calendars and some Chelsie's several others he couldn't remember. Also a 1949 Atlas 6 x 12 lathe with many accessories including a dividing head,Al had purchased new and kept in pristine condition. For a couple of years I thought maybe he was pulling my leg as whenever I brought it up the subject it was quickly changed.
Then about a year ago he decided it was time to sell. We went To Helena not knowing just what we would find other than the large tower clock. Well I ended up buying everything in the basement clock related including the Atlas lathe. I had the suburban packed tight to the ceiling room for nothing else unless you wanted to carry it in your lap. Kind of a spooky drive so loaded 650 mi. home with snow and ice much of the way. But I would do it again in a heartbeat given the opportunity.
 

Dave Berghold

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Wow.... I can't imagine getting all that gear into one vehicle! Well, glad to hear that it all went to someone who appreciates it. I recently appraised a small collection (the bulk of the collection I purchased years ago) and there were some nice pieces. The daughters were at odds. When I made my choices and went down to collect them, most of them were gone. The "wicked" sister had swiped 'em. Somewhere, there's a 3 1/2 Parlor that I would have loved to own!

I'd love to see some images of the tower clock you got from Al. I'm going headlong into the restoration of the one I just got out of the mid west. I'll post some more images once I've made some headway. And if you want, I'll shoot a couple images of my tower clock as it sits today.... the one from Al's basement.

Best,
Dave
 

MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

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Dave, here's a few pictures of my clock,I would also enjoy seeing any pictures you have to share. Yes it was packed tight, the Atlas lathe was already out west so I didn't have to pack it in. What really bugged me was the speaker I couldn't fit, University patrician corner unit in mint condition red mahogany 18" woofer and I believe western electric horns.
Apparently he had a hi fi store back in the 60s but with it snowing the roof rack was out of the question. :( 85633.jpg 85634.jpg 85635.jpg 85636.jpg 85637.jpg 85638.jpg 85639.jpg 85640.jpg 85641.jpg 85642.jpg
 

sam

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I'll be restoring an E Howard #3 and it will need to be repainted.

Anyone know the shade of green or name of the green that was used

on the E Howards?

Thinking about going the powdered route.

Sam

PS:

Anyone know of a source for the gearboxes that EH used in their electric
rewind system?
The originals were lost when the clock was dismantled.

Sam
 

MCCLINTOCK-LOOMIS

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Sam I would NOT powder coat,why? this type of a finish while very durable it's not very repairable, just about imposable to remove even with sandblasting. requires heat to cure risking damage and would be a risk taking those rare parts to a shop and leaving them at the mercy of whoever is doing the work .whatever work is done cannot be simply be undone. these clocks were originally brush painted so I would refinish in the same manner, spray if you have to. Prime parts and use a good grade marine grade gloss enamel.
just my two cents.
George
 

sam

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Thanks George,

Makes perfect sense,looks like I'll use the spray gun.

The powder coat process does look great.

Now if I could come up with the right shade of green.

Sam
 

FDelGreco

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Sam:

When we (chapter 28) restored a Howard roundtop T&S for the Geauga county courthouse in the Village of Chardon in Ohio, we cleaned a part of the clock frame that had the best remaining original paint, lightly steel wooled and polished it down to the original, unoxidized green, and brought it down to a Sherwin Williams paint store where they used their paint matching computer to make a paint for metal that was the same shade. We then had a local painter strip, prime, and spray paint everything, and a starving artist painted on the gold trim (working off of photos). After 15 years, it still looks great.

Frank Del Greco
 

Dave Berghold

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Well,
I'm deep into the restoration now. Plates painted (albeit not to original) but classic colors.... at least I think. Today I was making a tail for the end of the rack.... somewhere this piece had been broken... don't think it was very well designed. Needless to say, I also had to make some adjustments to the gathering pallet. It seemed as if it was too shallow and would not engage the rack well enough. So, with a piece of drill rod, I slotted it and then filed the faces of it (front and back). Tomorrow, I'll have it laser welded to the pallet and then finish filing it for fitting.

Anyhow, here's a couple of images. Plates painted and the almost complete gathering pallet.

Dave 87449.jpg 87450.jpg
 
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