I have wrote a few blogs that I hope you enjoyed about antique cabinet restoration. Clearly antique cabinet restoration once carried out properly is a once in a lifetime operation as a rule. Antique clock movements meanwhile need to be cleaned and serviced at least every ten years.
All antique clock movements at Pendulum of Mayfair are properly serviced by trained high quality horologists. The movements are completely taken apart, cleaned and any necessary bushing & pallets re-facing carried out. Normally there will also be other repairs to undertake. Especially if the movement has not been properly services in the last 20 years.
Many clients believe if the clock is running and has been doing s,o this is sufficient. Dried out oil tends to mix with dust and other foreign bodies to become a grinding paste. Unless the movement is cleaned every 10 years or so this grinding paste can cause undue wear. This will also mean that when the next service is carried out extra work is required.
Service your clock every 10-15 years
It will normally take our horologists a couple of days to complete an overhaul of a grandfather clock mechanism. This only needs to be done every 10-15 years. Therefore a small price to pay to keep your antique clock in full working order and in tip top condition. Please only entrust your antique clock to the finest horologists. We have had our own workshop for over 40 years and all our staff are trained to the highest standards. We undertake work for Embassy’s, major London hotels and for many vip’s. Many clients have shipped their grandfather clock cases and movements back from the States. Then this work can be carried out by us. Poor quality restoration and repairs not to the highest standard can effect the value of your antique clock.
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
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.
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.
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
Manager: Pendulum of Mayfair- London -0207 629 6606/ Coppelia Antiques Ltd – Cheshire 01565722197
It is this time of year when many students start thinking about careers. Working in the field of antique clocks as a horologist can be very rewarding.
The horologist was a top profession in the 18th century
In the 17th and 18th centuries it was one of the top professions. Now I suppose the doctors and dentists or bankers and accountants are today. It is a shame that many colleges do not offer courses in horology but some still do. West Dean College still provides excellent courses in horology. There is an excellent article in the Independant newspaper on these horology courses and ‘breathing life into old treasures’. It is possible to do home study courses in horology with the British Horological Intstitute. It is also possible to do a BA Hons course at Birmingham City University in horology.
Excellent Career Path
I believe it is an excellent career path for young students. What I have found in the last 20 years or so is many people retiring into studying horology. This is fine but if young people knew how rewarding learning and working with antique clocks was, they would gain a head start in the field. Many people retire to work in horology as it has many benefits. It brings enjoyment in bringing something special back to life. Many workshops can be setup at home and so it is a great way to work for yourself and be your own boss.
It is also a great career path to other forms of engineering or maybe working as a specialist auctioneer of clocks and watches. Working and repairing antique clocks brings you lots of knowledge along the way about the way things were made. Knowing how to date antique clocks for auctioneering. This is all valuable information and a great basis from which you can carve out a valuable and rewarding career in what ever you then may choose to do.
Specialize in clocks
There are fewer specialists in this field today and so a bigger chance to make a name for yourself. In the 17th and 18th century every little village had its own clockmaker and London was the centre of clockmaking with the Clockmaker’s Company. Today there are few world recognized horologists. George Daniels was a watchmaker who was regarded as a special talent, he died recently. He gave alot to his field and certainly made a difference. It is certainly possible with the right enthusiasm and drive for students who enter this field today. Make the same difference and to enjoy what they do. I suppose this is a rare in many jobs today. Most people go to work to earn a living, but to actually enjoy your job, this is what makes your job special.
In this blog I wish to talk about the process of sympathetic restoration of a C.1770 antique bracket clock. I will show you the time consuming process that is generally carried out on most 18th century antique clocks at some part in their life.
Sympathetic Restoration Antiques
Sympathetic restoration done professionally is essential. It can literally transform a clock into a wonderful piece of art and bring it back to life. Restoration done poorly or done by an unqualified person can literally destroy the value of a clock.
Difference between Restoration Done Properly and Done Poorly
I also hope you can understand the difference in price of buying an unrestored antique clock from an auction and a carefully sympathetically restored guaranteed example from a respected antique clock dealer. Restoring an antique clock from what we call a ‘sleepy’ state to ‘showroom’ condition takes time. In today’s world labour costs are expensive and as a result can be costly.
How long does it take Restoration Done Properly ?
Restoration taking some 10/15 working days on a cabinet and 5 working days on any antique clock movement are very typical. 20 working days, nearly a month of a highly skilled persons wages, costs alot of money. Some clocks may not need as much work, maybe this will have been carried out at some time in the past, but how well has this been done?
Over Restored Items
On the antiques market there are lots of over restored items. I have seen examples that just make you want to shake your head, sticky french polish and open grain wood.
Antiques Sometimes Ruined
These are not beautiful antiques anymore. Our cabinet restorers have worked with us from school, they have about 20 years experience and have proper in house training. The antique clocks director of a major auction house once stated, ” no one in his opinion restores their antiques as sympathetically.” The restoration process is a slow labour intensive process, it can not be rushed and corners must not be cut. Clocks or antique furniture do not leave our workshop until the owner himself is happy.
Some Examples of Restoration
Below are a series of pictures detailing the transformation of a bracket clock from a tired somewhat distressed state, into a beautiful loving cared for example. This clock will now give many years joy to its new owners. Finding clock is such a ‘sleepy’ state is far better I it means they have not be ‘butchered’ by over enthusiastic workmen in the past.
Lots of Intricate Repairs
As you can see in the above pictures where mouldings or pieces are loose these need to be removed and adjusted/repaired and then refitted with animal glues. Animal glues are what 18th century cabinet makers used. They have a superb property that when heated they become unstuck and so repairs to veneers or mouldings can be carried out. If modern pva wood glues were used to clock sections, repairs would have been more difficult.
As you can see all loose veneers on clock or damaged sections need to be removed and either replaced by wood of the same age and then carved to shape by hand or simply re-glued with animal glue.
Further pictures from a painstaking restoration to a beautiful C.1770 antique bracket clock. A clock might look immaculate as in the top picture prior to restoration but generally many weeks work are required to bring any clock into proper showroom condition.
All repairs can only be done when cabinet is structurally sound. Animal glue over many years can become brittle and mouldings can become loose or have been stuck on incorrectly over years.
Structural repairs to clock are now nearly complete. From now on, the clock will start looking like a clock again!
Repairs carried out, done properly with wood of the correct flame and age, are unnoticeable.
Antique bracket clock restoration perfectly carried out by an experienced cabinet restoration specialist.
The finished clock minus frets to door that need to be fitted. A transformation that is time consuming and can only be carried out be a fully qualified experienced cabinet restorer. For any futher information on antique clock restoration please contact me directly, I will be happy to help. Later in the year I will write on antique clock movement restoration. Please subscribe to my rss feed to received regular information. Pendulum of Mayfair can provide a full antique clock repair service, for more information visit www.pendulumofmayfair.co.uk.