Sessions restoration

Sammyt97

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Aug 18, 2006
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Hi everyone,

I was out an about today and found a beautiful Sessions clock (I think it's a cottage clock). Sadly some fool painted it white, but that's not my dilemma. When I turned the clock around I saw the label still there, painted over. I was heartsick. I have included a picture in the event there's anyway humanly (or majestically) possible for the label to be salvaged? I'm guessing not, but it doesn't hurt to ask (but it sure hurts to look at it that someone would do that. Ug).
Thanks,
Chris 84937.jpg
 
Last edited:

Kevin W.

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Hi Chris, i dont see your picture.
Sounds like a nice one to restore.
 

Sammyt97

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Aug 18, 2006
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Hi,

Did the thumbnail not come through? It's just a photo of the back with the painted label. Can anyone else not see it? I'll try attaching again.
Thanks. 84937.jpg
 

Kevin W.

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I see it now.;)

I dont think there is a way to save this label.Too bad it got painted.
Only suggestion find someone with a similar clock, label and reproduce the label they have to put on yours.
 

Sammyt97

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Aug 18, 2006
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Yeah, all the way home I kept saying, "How could someone do that?" Anyway, I thought I would include a photo of the front. This clock has a cylindrical pendulum which I seldom see which is what intrigued me most about it. Thanks again. 84948.jpg 84949.jpg
 

harold bain

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With care, you may be able to use some paint remover on the label to try to salvage it. Try a very small amount on one corner to test the results. You also will need to determine if the paint is oil based or latex to figure out the best method.
 

Steven Thornberry

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This clock is a bit schizophrenic. In 1921, it called itself the Cottage No. 3; in 1923, it called itself the Cabinet R. In any event, the pendulum seems strange and I question that it is correct. How about a picture of it?

Harold's suggestion on the label is a good one. What have you got to lose?
 

Thyme

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Steven Thornberry;533589 said:
This clock is a bit schizophrenic. In 1921, it called itself the Cottage No. 3; in 1923, it called itself the Cabinet R. In any event, the pendulum seems strange and I question that it is correct. How about a picture of it?

Harold's suggestion on the label is a good one. What have you got to lose?
He has nothing to lose. Nothing else will remove paint like paint remover, which is largely a caustic solution.

I would suggest literally soaking it in the liquid type paint remover and being extremely gentle with the attempted removal of the paint on it. The paint will probably dissolve, but the trick will be in removing the dissolved paint from the paper. My guess is that any slightest abrasion will wreck the paper more than the remover will - so be very, very gentle with any touching of the label while it is wet. Try blotting up the tainted remover and reapplying fresh remover repeatedly to do the dissolving numerous times, until you see improvement.
 

Sammyt97

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Steven Thornberry;533589 said:
This clock is a bit schizophrenic. In 1921, it called itself the Cottage No. 3; in 1923, it called itself the Cabinet R. In any event, the pendulum seems strange and I question that it is correct. How about a picture of it?

Yes, you are correct to be suspicious. When I opened it up last night to take a look at things, I found an even bigger mess. It would appear someone replaced the movement with one that is FAR too big for the case. In addition to that, it's an Ansonia movement, date patented 1886, and it looks like they custom built a shelf for the movement to sit on. I'm not even sure the pendulum is a pendulum. At any rate, it is a lesson to me to be learned that I should ask before I buy it to see the inside. I did okay with the price, but would have bargained more knowing it was a disaster inside too. I will add photos later as I'm at work, but I will need a little help figuring out what's original and what I have to fix up. I found pictures of the actual clock on other sites, but no insides. Thanks for the info on the type of clock. It would appear the case and the face are original. Will post photos later. Oh, for paint remover I have an all natural paint remover. It's not a liquid, it's more like goop. Should I not bother with that and just try the liquid? I agree I have nothing to lose, so will try that which you guys think is best.
'Preciate the help.
Chris
 

Thyme

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Sammyt97;533774 said:
Oh, for paint remover I have an all natural paint remover. It's not a liquid, it's more like goop. Should I not bother with that and just try the liquid? I agree I have nothing to lose, so will try that which you guys think is best.
'Preciate the help.
Chris
When it comes to paint remover, the ones that are most effective are those that contain methylene chloride. Unfortunately, recent formulations that substitute less aggressive chemicals in the name of making them less hazardous often simply don't work as well as the old, nasty stuff.
 

Sammyt97

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Here are the photos of the inside. Looks like the person cut away at the sides of the inside of the clock to make the movement fit. Looks like the original movement was attached to the back of the clock. Guess this'll be a bigger project than I thought. S'okay I like projects. 85092.jpg 85093.jpg 85094.jpg 85095.jpg
 

Thyme

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Sammyt97;533940 said:
Here are the photos of the inside. Looks like the person cut away at the sides of the inside of the clock to make the movement fit. Looks like the original movement was attached to the back of the clock. Guess this'll be a bigger project than I thought. S'okay I like projects.
In the antiques trade, usually when a piece is a composite, it is called a "marriage". (In the world of antique musical instruments it is called a composite.) When it is more that just a "marriage", what should we call it? A mongrel? Or the product of an orgy? :eek:

I have no idea what you paid, but that's not the important part. No sense in trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, or keeping this hybrid intact. In fact, the parts (after some improvement) might be worth at least what you paid for it.

Here's my suggestion: Strip and refinish the case, including making an attempt at that salvaging that label. If nothing else it's a challenge that will teach you valuable restoration skills. Rebuild the movement. It's a classic Ansonia movement that was on many of their most popular clocks. That pendulum is very unusual and may be worth something if you can identify its origin.

All these components can be sold by you on FleaBay once they are identified and honestly represented. You might recoup what you lost in $$ and may gain in experience and knowledge. The part that has much potential is that of an experiential event that is an opportunity for developing your skills - and also (coincidentally) one of learning from your mistakes. Maybe that's priceless. ;)
 

xrperry

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dont feel bad sammy, i bought a new haven mantle clock that had 3 coats of paint #1-white, #2 pink(disgusting) #3 white with green splatters (almost as sickening as pink) took lots of zip strip.i dont have a clue what to do with your label but i bet someone here has an idea
 

Steven Thornberry

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Sammyt97;533774 said:
Steven Thornberry;533589 said:
This clock is a bit schizophrenic. In 1921, it called itself the Cottage No. 3; in 1923, it called itself the Cabinet R. In any event, the pendulum seems strange and I question that it is correct. How about a picture of it?

Yes, you are correct to be suspicious. When I opened it up last night to take a look at things, I found an even bigger mess. It would appear someone replaced the movement with one that is FAR too big for the case. In addition to that, it's an Ansonia movement, date patented 1886, and it looks like they custom built a shelf for the movement to sit on. I'm not even sure the pendulum is a pendulum. At any rate, it is a lesson to me to be learned that I should ask before I buy it to see the inside. I did okay with the price, but would have bargained more knowing it was a disaster inside too. I will add photos later as I'm at work, but I will need a little help figuring out what's original and what I have to fix up. I found pictures of the actual clock on other sites, but no insides. Thanks for the info on the type of clock. It would appear the case and the face are original. Will post photos later. Oh, for paint remover I have an all natural paint remover. It's not a liquid, it's more like goop. Should I not bother with that and just try the liquid? I agree I have nothing to lose, so will try that which you guys think is best.
'Preciate the help.
Chris
Try a small amount of the goop on a small part of a corner of the label and the back of the case near that corner and see what the results are. If unsatisfactory, you can always move on to liquid paint thinner, proceeding carefully as Thyme suggests.

As for the cylinder pendulum I have seen a couple of wall clocks with such a thing, e.g., the Gilbert Hollywood and the New Haven Washington Chime banjo clock. Whether this poendulum came from one of those, I cannot say.
 

Thyme

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Steven Thornberry;534184 said:
Sammyt97;533774 said:
Try a small amount of the goop on a small part of a corner of the label and the back of the case near that corner and see what the results are. If unsatisfactory, you can always move on to liquid paint thinner, proceeding carefully as Thyme suggests.
ARRGH! Paint remover and paint thinner are two different things! :eek:

As for the cylinder pendulum I have seen a couple of wall clocks with such a thing, e.g., the Gilbert Hollywood and the New Haven Washington Chime banjo clock. Whether this poendulum came from one of those, I cannot say.
Yep - and both might be sought after items although they were tacked on to this poor, I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!ized clock. :D
 

Steven Thornberry

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Thyme;534290 said:
ARRGH! Paint remover and paint thinner are two different things! :eek:

A thousand pardons for my miscue, master. Although the remover does thin it out considerably.:rolleyes:
 

Jeremy Woodoff

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I think this type of clock would have had a rear-mount movement. There are always loose Sessions movements for sale on ebay; the trick would be finding one with the correct pendulum length. The modifications to the case interior could probably be fixed, but of course they are only visible with the dial removed. I'm sure the sale of the Ansonia movement would about cover the cost of a Sessions movement.

Is a clock with a correctly replaced movement original, when the movements were identical and mass-produced? Say you had two of these Sessions clocks, both all original. You removed the movements to clean them and accidentally switched the movements when re-installing them. Are both clocks still original? Has value been affected? Is this a question for philosophers?
 

Thyme

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Jeremy Woodoff;534401 said:
I think this type of clock would have had a rear-mount movement. There are always loose Sessions movements for sale on ebay; the trick would be finding one with the correct pendulum length. The modifications to the case interior could probably be fixed, but of course they are only visible with the dial removed. I'm sure the sale of the Ansonia movement would about cover the cost of a Sessions movement.

Is a clock with a correctly replaced movement original, when the movements were identical and mass-produced? Say you had two of these Sessions clocks, both all original. You removed the movements to clean them and accidentally switched the movements when re-installing them. Are both clocks still original? Has value been affected? Is this a question for philosophers?

The bigger issue is that since there was an Ansonia movement installed in the case there are likely to be extra mounting holes in the back board. Thus it would be obvious that the movement was replaced, even if you were to find the correct one that fits the case. Admittedly this is not an ultra valuable antique, so it probably wouldn't be of great importance.

Funny how we always tend to think that every clock is worthy of restoration. I would have no qualms about parting out the whole thing, as it was found in a compromised condition with mismatched components. By the time you find and buy all the correct parts for it, it may not be economically worthwhile to do it. In other words, you may end up throwing good money after bad, as they say.
-> posts merged by system <-
Yep - and both might be sought after items although they were tacked on to this poor, I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!I shouldn't have said that!ized clock. :D

My, the censors certainly are being strict today. :(

Maybe I can use the word "illegitimate"? Let's see if that will make it under the radar... :D
 

Sammyt97

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Thyme;534420 said:
The bigger issue is that since there was an Ansonia movement installed in the case there are likely to be extra mounting holes in the back board. Thus it would be obvious that the movement was replaced, even if you were to find the correct one that fits the case. Admittedly this is not an ultra valuable antique, so it probably wouldn't be of great importance.

Actually, the person who replaced the movement, seems to have made a shelf to sit the bigger movement on. The backboard only has the four holes probably from the original movement. Nonetheless, I will most likely strip and refinish it and then sell the case separately from the movement. The case otherwise is in fair shape. I won't spend too much time or energy on it, as I do have four other clocks waiting to be cleaned up with labels that aren't painted over and most if not all, of their original parts. Trying the thinner tonight and let's see what happens.
Thanks everyone.
Chris
 

Thyme

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Sammyt97;534557 said:
Thyme;534420 said:
The bigger issue is that since there was an Ansonia movement installed in the case there are likely to be extra mounting holes in the back board. Thus it would be obvious that the movement was replaced, even if you were to find the correct one that fits the case. Admittedly this is not an ultra valuable antique, so it probably wouldn't be of great importance.

Actually, the person who replaced the movement, seems to have made a shelf to sit the bigger movement on. The backboard only has the four holes probably from the original movement. Nonetheless, I will most likely strip and refinish it and then sell the case separately from the movement. The case otherwise is in fair shape. I won't spend too much time or energy on it, as I do have four other clocks waiting to be cleaned up with labels that aren't painted over and most if not all, of their original parts. Trying the thinner tonight and let's see what happens.
Thanks everyone.
Chris
OK. If you use paint thinner rather than using paint remover you haven't read the advice given. In that case, you're on your own...
 

Sammyt97

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Thyme;534561 said:
Sammyt97;534557 said:
OK. If you use paint thinner rather than using paint remover you haven't read the advice given. In that case, you're on your own...
Completely unintentional. I had paint thinner stuck in my mind as the recommendation. I only put a little bit on, so I will go back out tomorrow and get the paint remover. Thanks.
 

laumeg

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Hi. It sounds like the label on the back may be your lesser problem but I will put in my thoughts. Understand I am not an expert but do have an old house with wall paintings that were covered with paint. My thoughts:

First I would make sure the complete label is well secured, glued, down. You dont want to try to work with loose paper. But remember, paint removers will dissolve glue, so you cannot saturate the label with any paint remover. Any one who has worked with furnature restoration knows what happens when furnature is stripped using a diping method.

Second, I would try to set up a copy situation to practice on. Like posibbly glueing newspaper to wood, paint it, and then practice different methods to see which will work best, before doing practice on the real label.

Third, I would start with the least strenght remover. Most paint removers will remove paint as well as stain. But there are "furnature refinisher" which will remove varnish etc but not the stain. These are less strong and work slower and probably less chance of damage to the label.

Fourth, I would start by using very small sections. Put on a light coat of remover and let it sit only long enought to see that some paint is loosing. Lighty remove it with as little rubbing as possible. Do this in successive slow steps and you can remove even several coats of paint in successive steps. Doing it this way you can avoid saturating the paper and yet hopefully remove the paint. Go even slower when you see print showing thru.
Finally any last advise is to go slow, dont rush it. Good luck, Charles
 

Thyme

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laumeg;536832 said:
Fourth, I would start by using very small sections. Put on a light coat of remover and let it sit only long enought to see that some paint is loosing. Lighty remove it with as little rubbing as possible. Do this in successive slow steps and you can remove even several coats of paint in successive steps.
Rubbing is abrasion. Abrasion of a wet piece of paper is the surest way to destroy it. It won't be the chemical or the saturation of it that will be the ruin of it, it will be the abrasion.
 

Sammyt97

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So a big thank you to all of you who helped with this dilemma. The paint remover worked wonders. I purchased "Oops" because I had read really good reviews on it. I was able with the help of old dental tools (which work wonders with detail) to scrape off the paint and leave the majority of the label intact. I initially was a little too aggressive and lost a little bit on the right hand side, but then learned to go slow and steady. When I first got all the paint off, the entire label was as dark as the dark spots in the photo. You couldn't read it. At first I thought it was water damaged or something from the paint. But then it dawned on me, it was stain. So still without anything to lose, I put the "Oops" on it then took a cloth to soak up the excess and the stain. The results are in the photo. The clock says "Cottage Assortment" Under that which I don't think you can see in the photo it says manufactured by Sessions in (city) Connecticut. Then it says 8 day time and strike. You can also read the directions on how to set the clock. Anyway, thanks again everyone.

Chris 90457.jpg 90458.jpg
 

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