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Considerable Reader,

I blogged a little while ago about a handsome old clock that I’d bought while attempting to shop for old books. I am no clock restorer – but I hope that the Reader will allow me to blog a little upon my first amateur steps to try and restore this wonderful timepiece.

The first job was just to give the frame and dial that I’d bought a bit of a clean, which aside from uncovering a few old screw holes lost in grime, showed how long it had been since the clock had last been looked at properly – the top of it was encrusted with ancient candle wax.

Some quick notes on what was needed and where it would end up.

Some quick notes on what was needed and where it would end up.

Then I had to buy some things. The list of parts the clock needed was quite extensive, but fortunately a clock known to have been made by the same maker only a year earlier is well photographed online. What I needed to make or buy was:

  • A bell
  • A bell hammer
  • A clock hand
  • A mechanism, either striking or one that could be made into a striking mechanism
  • Brass to make a crown from
  • Brass to make the fretwork from
  • Brass to make the side doors from
  • Brass finials
  • Brass feet
  • Bolts to fit the thing together, as well as other odd finishing pieces.

This list does not include the tools I’ve also had to amass to even begin attempting this project.

So far I can tick a few things off.

I’ve bought a bell –  a beautiful thing that is probably about the same age as the clock if not a little earlier. The hammer is going to be tricky though, and I’ll probably end up making that myself to fit the shape of the old holes in the top of the clock.

Some things piled on top of the clock.

Some things piled on top of the clock.

 

I’ve also got two mechanisms, I spent a long time trying to find one that was front winding and would line up with the old winding hole, but the movement from the ~19th century conversion that created the old winding hole must have been pretty custom, so I’ve decided to go for a rear-winding movement to keep it simple. One of my mechanisms is a very incomplete 19th century French carriage clock movement, the other is a simple Swiss movement from the 40s, which should be easy to add a passing strike to.

A Swiss movement - I have since bought an escapement for it too.

A Swiss movement – I have since bought an escapement for it too.

I’ve bought some nice hand-cast finials, which are surprisingly similar to examples used by Savage on his other clocks. There’s also a bunch of brass sheets, which will I’ll be cutting and engraving to make up the several parts of the clock which were custom to it and can’t be sourced easily – namely the fretwork, doors, movement-stand, and crown.

Lastly there’s the hand – just one, since my clock is early enough to be single-handed – I bought a nice laser cut reproduction, which I can work down with a file to make look hand-made and original.

Oh, and I haven’t bought any feet or bolts yet.

So, what have I done so far?

Firstly, I had to make up a template for the fretwork. I'd decided to start off by cutting out all the brass so that I had everything I needed for assembling the clock.

Firstly, I had to make up a template for the fretwork. I’d decided to start off by cutting out all the brass so that I had everything I needed for assembling the clock.

Once a template was drawn out onto card and cut out I could use that to stencil the design onto the brass.

Once a template was drawn out onto card and cut out I could use that to stencil the design onto the brass.

Then it was into the vice for cutting, first with a saw and then the detailing around the edge with a file.

Then it was into the vice for cutting, first with a saw and then the detailing around the edge with a file.

Next job will be piercing the fretwork, I haven't started that yet.

Next job will be piercing the fretwork, I haven’t started that yet.

I’ve also cut out the crown, which needs filing down and then bending so that it will fit over the top and support the bell. I’ve also hand-finished the clock hand to make it look more handmade.

clock-more-things

Some more things on top of the clock.

Until next time, happy Reader!

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