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How to Repair a Grandfather Clock ?

Garnet grandfather clock dial after cleaning

Bringing back to life an old dusty and somewhat dilapidated antique grandfather clock into a stunning clock fit for any home is a skill that few people can master. Our workshop here in Cheshire has many years of experience in repairing and restoring antique clocks and furniture. Each having differing respective challenges. I must first say I would only recommend in undertaking such a complex and painstaking restoration if you have the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve this.

Value After Restoration

Poor quality restoration can reduce the value of any fine antique. Sympathetic restoration by highly skilled craftsmen is really important in this respect. Some of our repairs that we have to carry out on clocks is to take away old poor quality repairs. It is usually the case a ‘sleepy’ grandfather clock can actually be easier to repair in may ways than an over restored example.

It is easy to over restore

Once something has been ‘over restored’ it is very hard to correct. The lovely patina in many cases has been stripped off. The beautiful colour underneath the years of grime has been ruined Generally by whatever pot of stain the culprit has used. It is the case restoring sympathetically takes a lot longer, but the end result is far far superior.

We have lots of superb restored North West or Liverpool clocks for sale, you will see a lovely examples if you can visit our search facilty on our website to see various Liverpool clocks here.

North West Clocks

In this blog I will be looking at a lovely North West clock that we have just restored here in Cheshire. To give you some idea of the time taken, the cabinet required just short of 9 full days work. The movement about 2 and a half days.

If only the maker William Garnett of Bold could see the clock now. The clock looking probably even lovelier than it did when it was new back in C1770

    Before – After Restoration Images

Back to life the Bold movement now cleaned and overhauled

As you can view from the pictures above, the Garnett of Bold antique clock movement has been cleaned and overhauled. It has been brought back to life so to speak. 2 and a half days in the critical A and E department of our Cheshire antique clock workshop and now its heartbeat is working strongly again.

antique cabinet being repaired before restoration

Bold Garnet antique clock cabinet requiring professional restoration

Pictures pre and post Restoration

As you can see from the various pictures taken prior to the restoration taking place, the clock cabinet was in a poor state of affairs. It required some difficult sympathetic restoration to bring this past master back to life. The base panel was warped and twisted and another issue was the wood that was veneered on was all shapes. The hood door mask was smashed and various mouldings and feet to the clock needed attention. The cleat to the trunk door was also loose and the clock had numerous places of small repairs to be completed.

Time consuming work

All time consuming and meticulous work. It is vital for any of these repairs to be undertaken with wood of the same age and colour and grain. A good match can then be obtained. Replacing a foot or moulding with new wood will make it impossible for the repair to match correctly.

Humidity controlled environment

We have a store (all humidity controlled) of 17th ,18th and 19th century woods so a good match can be achieved. Animal glues are used in repairs just like in the past. Animal glues have a great quality that is pretty much unmatched by modern glues. The veneer stuck down with animal glue can be reheated if necessary and unstuck. This meant performing repairs, like was necessary to the base panel of the clock, was possible.

Careful work to base panel of Bold of Garnett clock

Difficult Repairs

In the pictures above very difficult repairs had to be carried out on the base panel. The base panel was warped and their was no way the wood the the veneers to the front had been veneered on could be saved. It had multiple splits and was really rough chopped. We had to remove all the veneer from the base panel. Upmost care has to be taken here. The mentioned veneer is stuck down traditionally with animal glues. An iron and wet rag can therefore be used to steam the veneers off the damaged back panel. A 18th century flat piece of mahogany was used to glue the original veneers back down and straps were used. The twisting of the base panel is reduced in the future.

Period wood Used

All wood used in this process is wood of the correct age of the clock. The veneer is clamped and glued with animal glue as before. The outside of the clock now has a perfectly flat base panel.This will be structurally sound for the years ahead.

Lots of small and more complex repairs on this Garnett of Bold clock

Above you will see lots of tasks carried out by our antique furniture restoration department. The top of the mask was replaced in 18th century wood and various other smaller repairs all over the cabinet. In the next series of pictures you will see the final completed restoration. All work carried out sympathetically and preserving the beautiful colour and patina of this clock. I hope you will agree a repair carried out to the highest standards and making the clock sound for future generations.

Lovely colour and patination Garnett of Bold clock

Conclusions

I could give you many references on the quality of our restoration. Our antique clock and furniture repair and restoration department has carried out many complex tasks. We have undertaken repairs for major Embassy’s in London. Important Hotels and for influential private individuals. I remember a Sotheby’s director who attended our shop opening many years ago of Pendulum of Mayfair in London, said he had never seen as sympathetic restoration before. We pride oursleves on this.

Come see for yourself

You can view items on our website to see our standards or even better still drop by our shop in London. Also visit our antique repair and restoration workshop premises in Cheshire where this work is carried out.
If you want any information or prices on having your clock professionally overhauled and repaired. Please visit our website Pendulum of Mayfair. You can also follow my antique clocks tweets on twitter by clicking here. Alternatively please read and like my antique clocks page on Facebook.
Daniel.R.Clements

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How to properly repair a longcase clock cabinet

From the very onset of our business we have always had our own highly skilled staff employed in Cheshire. They undertake skilled antique clock and furniture repairs for our London shop. Antique clock repair is something that can only be carried out by highly qualified and time-served skilled staff. It is important to know what they are doing. In my latest blog I will be looking at the restoration of a badly damaged antique clock cabinet. This clock was damaged by a very hungry owners dog ! You can see from the pictures below, taken prior to restoration, the damage to the base and trunk door areas on the clock.

One very hungry pet dog

Clock Cabinet Repair Restoration

 

As you will notice damage was to the sides of the base and the bottom of the door in the main. This is very intricate antique clock restoration. Our skilled cabinet restorer carefully restored this clock to its former glory. Whilst the restoration of the antique clock was ongoing. We noticed the two sides of the base banding had been replaced with mahogany veneers over the years. We took this away and replaced the mahogany with the banding to match the trunk door. This being tulip wood.

 

Furniture Repairs

As you will see from the finished restored pictures. Close up pictures of the damage from the clock, the skills of a craftsman. All repairs were carried out in hand cut veneers of wood. This was a like for like match. Animal glues were used like in the original. After all the antique clock repairs were carried out at our base here in Cheshire. The clock was redelivered back to very happy owners.

 

Repairs Done Sympathetically

Restoring antique clocks like we have done for over 40 years here at Pendulum of Mayfair or Coppelia Antiques is vital to be done properly. Do not have a clock that has been poorly restored. This would take away from the value of the clock. Restoring your antique clock sympathetically can add thousands of pounds to the value. If the clock is genuine and basically all there. Spending £3,000 or so to restore your clock can be money in the bank.

Don’t cut costs in repairs

Spending £1500 for restoring your clock badly you may think you are saving money but do not be misled. Poor restoration can actually reduce the value of the clock, your £1,500 may well be lost. We charge out at competitive rates for unrivalled quality workmanship I believe. For a quote please send pictures of the item needed to be restored to the contact at the bottom of this piece.

 

 

Seldom seen damage

Can I point out before I go on, damage due to canines I have only ever encountered twice in all my time. I believe this was done by overexcited puppy’s with teething issues, you need not worry to much ! Basically antique clock cabinet repairs are much more standard. Loose moulding, little pieces of veneer lost, or he odd scratch here or there. Sometimes years of dirt to the surface of the case just needs carefully taking back and then the true colour of the cabinet can be achieved.

 

Colour of piece

The colour of every clock tends to be different and dependant on the wood and how this had reacted with the sunlight over the years. Hopefully if you choose a restorer he will preserve the colour and not just splash the stain of the day all over your clock. To many times I have seen furniture restorer throw shellac french polish to high gloss standards. Then stain whatever colour they were using that day on items. Rather than building up the finish underneath the years of grime, and basically wax finishing.

Wax finish is vital

Soft finish of wax, rather than the ploughed field of a poorly french polished and stripped surface is required. The grain on any antique clock takes years to fill with many years waxing. You do not want an open grain sticky finish, like what you will see on lots of modern furniture today.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

I hope the three pictures included and the pictures of the clock now restored show what can be done by sympathetic highly skilled craftsman. We have undertaken repairs for Museums , a very important Embassy , and lots of major hotels in central London. We also undertake repairs for the general public. We have highly skilled staff specifically now just undertaking outside repairs.

Antique furniture and clock repair

It is a growing side of our business. Put your family heirlooms in safe hands and contact the specialist today. All public enquiries for antique clock repairs for a limited time will receive our special offer trade daily rate. You will need to quote ” antique clocks blog special offer” on your e.mail. Please hurry this is for a limited time only and applies to cabinet work.
We also have two full time horologists on staff to repair your antique clock movements. These are also highly skilled professionals. I suggest you should have a major overhaul of your clock every 40 years. If you have had this carried out properly a clean every 10 years or so. This will keep wear on any pivots etc to a minimum.

I hope you will agree the finish restored antique clock below looks stunning. The total time was approx 10 working days to restore movement and cabinet.

Any questions to

Daniel Clements

Manager: Pendulum of Mayfair- London  -0207 629 6606/ Coppelia Antiques Ltd – Cheshire 01565722197