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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.






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






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Antique Clock Cabinet Restoration













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


Daniel R Clements



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Humidity: Antique Furniture and Clocks

Humidity – Does it really matter?

Please read this before it is to late. This particular topic is very dear to my heart. It is vital for not only for people that own antique clocks and furniture, but people that care about their health. No doubt many ears pricked up when I mentioned health. Yes that’s right. Low humidity and high humidity have been found to be major contributors to asthma. Humidity changes and the incorrect humidity will effect all things like your plaster, cornice or your newly laid expensive wood floor. If you do not take action splits or the joints opening up or general warping can occur.

Not Low or High Humidity

All natural things are susceptible to damage from either low or high humidity, whether that be mold damage or shrinkage damage. Antique furniture pieces are often veneered, which means a flamboyant wood like mahogany on the outside and oak or pine on the carcass. Different woods have differing expansion rates. Rapid changes to humidity or prolonged low humidity will therefore lead to warping, splitting or cracks developing in the veneers. Veneers on antiques are stuck on normally by ‘animal glues’, after changes to humidity and temperature over time veneers tend to drop off.  This can be an early sign of the incorrect humidity levels in your home or office.

Early Signs of Problems

Another early warning sign is the hood glass on your grandfather clock splitting from side to side. The door frame shrinks leaving the glass no where to go. If this happens get your humidity levels urgently checked before expensive restoration work is required. If this problem is left untreated it may be too late.

Humidifiers Are Vital

Antique clocks and furniture should be kept in a controlled environment. Rapid changes to humidity or prolonged low or high humidity can cause damage as described above. Low humidity is damaging for antiques, as a result many antiques have been ruined by central heating. This is a real shame and something that is easily corrected.

Purchase a hygrometer

Humidity is the amount of moisture or water molecules in the air. Keep your humidity between 40-65%. Purchase a hygrometer to check whether you have an issue. Humidity levels can be adjusted to the correct levels by either a humidifier (if you have low humidity) or a de-humidifier. (in cases of high humidity)

Customers can benefit if you have low humidity and like it warm can increase your humidity. Higher humidity will make you will be able to have noticeably lower temperatures and still feel comfortable. Slightly increasing your humidity can therefore save on heating costs. Contact me now at Pendulum of Mayfair, for more information.


By controlling your humidity to the desired levels you can therefore:

1) save your antiques from damage

2) save money on your heating bill

3) look after your health in the process