Clock Case Repair - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 Old 09-19-2015, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Clock Case Repair

I need some help to figure out how to repair the top of the clock case.
[ATTACH][ATTACH]Clock Case Repair-thumb_img_1761_1024.jpg[/ATTACH][/ATTACH]

I repair clocks and try to restore them instead of just scraping and replacing broken parts. This is a 1906 Waterbury "Hillsdale" gingerbread shelf clock. The movement and most of the important parts are in tact. I am just not a good (experienced) enough woodworker to figure out the best way to fix this case. I am more into repurposing and refinishing ugly furniture than building things from scratch.
This clock case was built in 1906 and is steam pressed oak. I will disassemble the case, clean it up and regalia it with hide glue. I have some pictures of a Hillsdale model clock that I can use to build a pattern for the top. I need to know how to best attach a piece to replace the broken top rather than just replace it.

Sorry for the long winded explanation!!
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-19-2015, 12:20 PM
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If you don't have the pieces you really need a wood carver. In doing that though it would cost more to repair the clock than it's worth. It's broken in a second place about 1 1/2 down from where it's broken off. If I were going to restore it I would try to remove the upper face and cut it and joint it just below the break. Then bandsaw a new piece and glue it on. From there draw some design on it fitting with the rest of it and carve it. If you can draw a design on it if you are patient you might be able to reproduce the design using a dremel tool. It would be time consuming but you could make light cuts going deeper and deeper into the wood. The dremel tool is just very hard to control if you try to cut too much at a time.
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-19-2015, 05:59 PM
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It will be a labor of love to duplicate that ' Carving'--The original work was not carved ,but pressed with a die---duplicating that look will take some time and practice.
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-19-2015, 06:08 PM
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Consider drawing a cardboard template of the top of the clock case that would match-up with the remaining original clock case design. Using the new template, cut out the "missing" piece with a fine tooth saw blade in a similar material as the original case. You may need a backer board for the entire clock case for extra strength to prevent more of the original case from breaking away. Most of those designs from that era were "stamped" into the wood - NOT carved. It will take a lot of time, but it can be done if you are patient. Be safe.
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post #5 of 15 Old 09-19-2015, 06:19 PM
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Would a complete new top devalue the piece any more than an original with a repair that may be obvious?

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #6 of 15 Old 09-19-2015, 07:56 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Here's what i'd do...

Use a piece of Velum, a see through drafting paper, and tape it to the face. Use a hard flat graphite or Crayola and rub the face that is remaining so it transfers to the back side of the Velum. Now, flip it over and locate it so it blends symetrically with the existing design... BAM!!
You now have a complete pattern to work with.

Now you can saw off the split portions and I would use a horizontal line to cut to. This will make it much easier to add another piece to carve the design into following the suggestions above using a Dremel. Someone who carves duck decoys would be of assistance or other miniature figures.

You can trace the carved V groove with a soldering iron or woodburner to get the wood a little darker like the original. Laser etching is another approach and they can digitize the remaining pattern and recreate it above and then etch it in on your replacement patch.... $$$..... I donno?

If this is beyond you interests or capabilities, then the choice becomes... sell as is or

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-20-2015, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. If it were possible to buy a new top piece of "gingerbread" that would be the way to go. But that is not possible. Restoring the clock for financial reasons is not really the issue because it is not a high dollar antique. Waterbury was one of the largest clock makers in the late 19th and early 20th century. They made thousands of clocks. Unfortunately thousands of clocks have not been taken care of. Many have been just thrown out over the years because they tend to run for very long without servicing. It's really more just a labor of love.
I didn't realize that the design was pressed into the wood.
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-20-2015, 01:56 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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so, now what?

Will you take the "great suggestions" and follow up and repair the face or are you giving it the heave ho...?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #9 of 15 Old 09-20-2015, 09:09 AM
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I looked for a photo of a similar clock on google and didn't have any luck. I sometimes enlarge a picture to the actual size and print it on plain paper. Then use carbon paper to transfer the design to the wood.
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-20-2015, 10:30 AM
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quote from Wikipedia--

Pressback chair, a wooden chair of the Victorian period, usually of oak, into the crest rail and/or splat of which a pattern had been pressed with a steam press
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press backed chairs - Bing Images
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post #11 of 15 Old 09-21-2015, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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I will take and use the great suggestions. I have a good picture of what the top should look like from a listing on eBay. I will give it a shot. The worse could happen is I could screw it up and have to replace the the top with something else. I still need to disassemble and clean the movement.
I have gotten somewhat off course because my daughter-in-law wants me to fix and old clock that she got from her grandfather. It's and old Inghram built Lovell kitchen clock. I have a post about it elsewhere on the forum.
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post #12 of 15 Old 09-22-2015, 10:37 AM
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I also do clock repairs. is the base original (looks newer)? customer's clock or yours? best bet may be to cut the top off at some line and add a new cap to it.
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post #13 of 15 Old 09-22-2015, 11:10 AM
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You can find empty Gingerbread clock cases, fairly common and usually under $40. If your works are good, look for an empty case. These clocks generally have a value of $100+- if running and complete. The works are also commonly available for $20. Not of high value but wonderful to have ticking away in the house.
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post #14 of 15 Old 09-23-2015, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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The clock is mine. I bought it for little of nothing as a project. It was complete except for the pendulum and suspension spring. Both of which I have now acquired. I realize the clock is not an expensive antique but it is my intension to try and require some of these old clocks from just becoming trash. The entire case appears to be original. I don't think it has been apart.
If I can't repair the top I will probably just try and replace it with something of my own design. (That should be interesting!!).
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post #15 of 15 Old 09-23-2015, 11:02 PM
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I really enjoy clocks----
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