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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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