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To paint or not to paint? - Sessions restoration

Gage_robertson_collector

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I am restoring this Sessions mantle clock, and when I got it the metal trim was painted over with gold paint. I am more of a fan of original spelter over paint so I decided to take the paint off to see what condition the metal was in, and this is the result. I wanted to ask in the case of this restoration, and in general, do you think it is best to leave as is, or to repaint the metal like it was before? I know the spelter is quite faded and there is not much left on anything besides a few collumn parts and the side handles. You can forget about the feet, those are just raw metal at this point. Let me know what you think.

thanks,

- Gage Robertson
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Willie X

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Once you start down the 'slipery slope' ...
Opps, looks like it's to late. :)
Willie X
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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I am restoring this Sessions mantle clock, and when I got it the metal trim was painted over with gold paint. I am more of a fan of original spelter over paint so I decided to take the paint off to see what condition the metal was in, and this is the result. I wanted to ask in the case of this restoration, and in general, do you think it is best to leave as is, or to repaint the metal like it was before? I know the spelter is quite faded and there is not much left on anything besides a few collumn parts and the side handles. You can forget about the feet, those are just raw metal at this point. Let me know what you think.

thanks,

- Gage Robertson View attachment 675028 View attachment 675029 View attachment 675030 View attachment 675031 View attachment 675032
It looks like they have the original anodized finish?

Why would you paint it?

RM
 

leeinv66

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Your clock complete and working would be around $100.00US in approx value. The finish on the side handles is what the rest of the pot metal pieces would have looked like originally. If you paint them or leave them as is, it will likely make no difference to the clock's value. The bigger concern to me would be the paint job. It is way too shiny (in my opinion) and all the carved details (that should be gold) have been buried. I'd spend some time sorting that out. Then decide if I wanted to leave or paint the fittings. Just my opinion.
 

Gage_robertson_collector

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Your clock complete and working would be around $100.00US in approx value. The finish on the side handles is what the rest of the pot metal pieces would have looked like originally. If you paint them or leave them as is, it will likely make no difference to the clock's value. The bigger concern to me would be the paint job. It is way too shiny (in my opinion) and all the carved details (that should be gold) have been buried. I'd spend some time sorting that out. Then decide if I wanted to leave or paint the fittings. Just my opinion.
In this photo, I just applied the final coat of paint. I had previously pointed out all the engravings prior to painting so I will be able to uncover those when I am done. I use windsor and newton gold ink. I plan to dull out the finish on the case and make it less shiny.
 

Willie X

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That Rub-n-Buff is a very good product.

The big question in this matter always comes down to, what to do with the dial and usually the columns and the inside areas.

These parts will look like crap against a clock with new paint. This has always the 'kicker' for me when restoring old blacks.

Willie X
 

JimmyOz

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I plan to dull out the finish on the case and make it less shiny.
I am no expert on American clocks, however I think this type were to look like the French Marble clocks, only a lot less in cost to the customers, therefore the finish would have tried to look high gloss as polished marble. As for painting the metal, why not, at least they all would be the same. Not pictured are the wooden parts above and below the columns these were normally done to look like multi colour marble.
 

Levi Hutchins

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Oct 21, 2012
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Most of the pieces have it still, but the feet have lost it all. I guess I was just asking for what others would do in this situation. I think for now I will leave everything bare metal, and then I will go back and paint if necessary.
As has been recommended, the appropriate shade of Rub n' Buff is an option, easy to apply and easily reversible.

As Willie, noted, it should be compatible with the dial, bezel, and other elements.

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Calvin H. Huynh

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JTD

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How long does the Rub N Buff last? I've heard it's only temporary.
No, it isn't. I've used it a lot and never had any problem with it not being durable. In my experience, it is an excellent product and a very good alternative to painting or replating.

JTD
 

Calvin H. Huynh

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No, it isn't. I've used it a lot and never had any problem with it not being durable. In my experience, it is an excellent product and a very good alternative to painting or replating.

JTD
I see. Sounds good, as I will use it if it's not considered "lipstick" restoration. Any friend to dial restoration?
 

JeffG

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I see. Sounds good, as I will use it if it's not considered "lipstick" restoration. Any friend to dial restoration?
I would think that a "restoration" would require proper plating rather than a metallic wax job, but it will definitely bring new life to old brightwork. I don't think it would be an alternative to silvering a dial because you may not be able to apply or paint numbers over it. Maybe it would work to dress up a fancy brass dial face if the paper is removed from behind first?
 
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Levi Hutchins

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How long does the Rub N Buff last? I've heard it's only temporary.
It has been over a year since I applied it to the Sessions mantle clock pictured, and I've not noticed any deterioration.

If that eventually happens, it would be easy to touch up or re-do.
 

Willie X

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Antique people use it to brighten up drawer pulls and the like. It does wear but unlike paint it still looks good when worn.

Levi's clock is nice. It's obviously restored but not over done. This is difficult to do. Way more difficult than you may think.

Willie X
 

Willie X

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Hard to do 'well'.

Many amateurs go way into the 'over-restored' region, with the old (or new) dial sticking out like a sore thumb.

I remember when all blacks were give-aways. In the 70s there was a craze to 'refinish' all things on the face of the earth. During that time you could buy any amount of em for around 10 bucks (or less) each. Fortunately, the black mantles and most clocks in general escaped the dip and strip era unmolested. :)

Willie X
 

Gage_robertson_collector

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Antique people use it to brighten up drawer pulls and the like. It does wear but unlike paint it still looks good when worn.

Levi's clock is nice. It's obviously restored but not over done. This is difficult to do. Way more difficult than you may think.

Willie X
I can relate to that. You get one thing done thinking its going to turn out great, for exampe, you spray a coat of paint on a clock and when it dries, you go to look at it and you notice a drip, and you try to get rid of it and it just makes the whole issue worse! haha
 

Gage_robertson_collector

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As has been recommended, the appropriate shade of Rub n' Buff is an option, easy to apply and easily reversible.

As Willie, noted, it should be compatible with the dial, bezel, and other elements.

lovely clock! Hopefully mine turns out a nice as this. I plan to give it to a friend of mine as christmas present when it is done.
 

Gage_robertson_collector

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Another vote for Rub n' Buff!
There are several color options to choose from. You could try to match the finish on the columns, or go with a contrasting color instead.
I noticed that a lot of these old Sessions clocks have three types of finish on the columns. (at least the metal ones) Black with a gold/ brass accent stripe all the way down, painted a solid color, (like gold or silver, e.t.c.) or they are a dark greenish finish. I think that is what I will do, in the end, I will rub and buff all of the metal pieces on the case, and I will try to color match the green to a sessions clock that already has the original green, and then paint the columns on my clock green as well. I could try to replicate the striped pattern (which is probably what would be most close to how it would have originally been on the clock) but I think that the green will provide a nice contrast from the gold (rub and buffed) parts of the clock. Let me know what you think about this..

- Gage
 

Gage_robertson_collector

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I am no expert on American clocks, however I think this type were to look like the French Marble clocks, only a lot less in cost to the customers, therefore the finish would have tried to look high gloss as polished marble. As for painting the metal, why not, at least they all would be the same. Not pictured are the wooden parts above and below the columns these were normally done to look like multi colour marble.
Yes mine has a red marbelized accent on the tops of the columns, I had to remove them so I could repaint the case. I agree however that the goal for these american manufacturers was to replicate the french clocks, and by doing this, they were purposly trying to make the finish as bright and shiny as possible. I think that I will try to make mine shiny, but not too shiny that any slight scratch or defect on the finish in the future will show up like a sore thumb.

- Gage
 

JeffG

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Here's a Sessions black mantle clock that I've got on deck for fixing up with the green marbleized paint on the columns and entablature. I don't plan on touching that green. I think this is the "Austin" model.

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Dave T

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Timesavers and others I'm sure sell marbleized effect paper for columns, etc.
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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I've had several blacks (iron and wood) painted at a local auto paint shop. I knew the owner and he would set the bare case aside until they were painting something black. They would paint the clock twice. Once at the start of the auto job, and once at the end, or at the next job if necessary. Nothing can come close to what a professional spray painter can do! I was instructed to let the finish dry for at least two weeks before reassembly.

Willie X
 

Purfler

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Weird how I recently join the forum, having not previously found an image of the clock I bought in bits 5 or 6 years ago, and here is another one! I know they are not uncommon but there was a zillion variations it seems. FWIW most of the timber on mine has the finish, I've just treated it with Renaissance wax. Inside the case you can see the full brilliance of the original marbling which has sadly faded on the outside. I touched up the gold in the engraving and the metal work, deliberately going for a matt aged looked.

Tim

EDIT: Just realised that they are not the same - another variation. The OP's has longer columns and no marbled pediment (if that's the right term)

IMG_0318.JPG
 

Purfler

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Hi Jeff,

I'm a bit of a sports car nut, and in a MX5 (Miata to you I think) forum my signature file says: "In this, as in most other things, I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about."

With that disclaimer, what I did was use an acrylic gold paint my wife used for decoupage. Using my finger, I gently rubbed it into the engravings and then gently wiped of the excess with a microfibre cloth.

Hope this helps. I'd be interested to hear what the proper method is.

Regards,

Tim
 
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Gage_robertson_collector

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Hi Jeff,

I'm a bit of a sports car nut, and in a MX5 (Miata to you I think) forum my signature file says: "In this, as in most other things, I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about."

With that disclaimer, what I did was use an acrylic gold paint my wife used for decoupage. Using my finger, I gently rubbed it into the engravings and then gently wiped of the excess with a microfibre cloth.

Hope this helps. I'd be interested to hear what the proper method is.

Regards,

Tim
I press out all the old engravings with a needle, (you could even use a thumbtack) and then I use windsor and newton gold pen ink and a clock movement oiler pin. medium sized.
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Gage_robertson_collector

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Hi Jeff,

I'm a bit of a sports car nut, and in a MX5 (Miata to you I think) forum my signature file says: "In this, as in most other things, I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about."

With that disclaimer, what I did was use an acrylic gold paint my wife used for decoupage. Using my finger, I gently rubbed it into the engravings and then gently wiped of the excess with a microfibre cloth.

Hope this helps. I'd be interested to hear what the proper method is.

Regards,

Tim
I also run some car wax over the gold after applying to buff it out and protect it better.
 
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Dave T

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Looking good... back off on the camera and show us the whole case!
 

Gage_robertson_collector

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Looking good... back off on the camera and show us the whole case!
Its not quite done, but here is where I am at now. I am fairly content with the top. I applied two coats of primer, lightly sanding in between each coat. I then applied about four coats of black semi gloss spray paint, sanding in between each coat with 220. The final coat, I sanded with 600, then 1000, then 1200, and finally 1500. I used meguiars ultimate liquid compound on the surface and then applied a coat of car wax. I have only applied the final sanding and polishing process to the top of the clock, the rest of the case has yet to be sanded and polished but I’m getting there. What do you think?

regards,

- Gage

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