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  1. #1
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    Default Friesan Clock restoration

    i posted in the Clock section wanting a clock restorer. I got no responses so looks like itís up to me

    First of all, hereís the clock in question

    11D000F1-0A46-4C0C-AE1E-CBE266C7CD69.jpeg A6D37478-94E8-439A-8D12-14D919C2F221.jpeg

    The case is in a very poor state as you will see in the upcoming photos.

    I found a clock restorer in Tinonee ( small town out from Taree NSW) who was willing to have a look and see if restoration was possible. He has restored similar units in the past.

    Visted there today and the upshot was the clock mechanism itself was all there, including weight, pendulum, chain and rollers which were all jammed up inside the front cover. This unit is unusual as it has an hour striker mechanism as well as an alarm mechanism The hour mechanism is only on the high end units. It is well over 100 years old and heíll know more once he cleans up the mechanism.

    He is familiar with the units and had the top hood and lower cover off in seconds and the mechanism out a couple of minutes later.

    A quick appraisal and the clock mechanism looks like it is missing no parts but is seized and should be able to be restored. The beautiful hand painted dial facia, hands the decorative brass shim just needed careful cleaning and he gave me a rough estimate with a firm quote once he had closer look.

    The case was another matter. It was only missing one corner finial but the back board is split, the hood piece broken in places with its leather cover in tatters and the lower cover has loose sections. It also needed complete refinishing. It would cost more to restore than the mechanism and you add them both together and no way I could afford it. Also, he has heaps of antique clocks needing repairs with one grandfather clock case needing case restoration with the ornate base eaten out by borers so another case repair was not really an option.

    So, Iím taking on the job of restoring the case.

    Hereís what Iíve got ahead of me

    The Hood

    E0076629-858C-4216-82F2-6F79C2B89432.jpeg 0E4D4B4D-366A-4E8B-965E-455742B32334.jpeg

    The Backboard with main frame

    C2ED384C-82FC-417D-B3A6-40F5FE3CF094.jpegCFEBA8FA-CB1E-484F-A6A2-0069FB853D1B.jpg

    Pendulum cover with brass section design with glass panels

    1D4AEF1C-F93D-4EE4-A654-0AA6268030C2.jpg

    This is will be a long restore as I have put no deadline on the mechanism and he said he will need the finished case to fit it to.

    He has given me some tips on restoring the brass and finishing so I should be able to restore it to itís former glory

    additional

    I was showing the photos to a friend and, if you look at the third last photo showing the split you can see ďI JĒ which were the great grandparents initials, then something I canít make out yet, then maybe ď1829Ē then something so, if thatís the case, itís older than we thought.
    Last edited by Lappa; 15th Apr 2019 at 08:35 PM. Reason: Added note

  2. #2
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    Default

    Lovely piece Peter.
    Looks like you have a fair bit of finish that could be revived.
    As well as some that is missing and will need re building.

    Is that what your thinking of doing with the finish?


    Rob

  3. #3
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    Default

    There some very loose, fragile pieces that will probably need to be fastened before attempting to clean. I’m thinking of using epoxy on the more stressed, hidden sections that have broken. I’ll use hide glue on the areas where the glue has let go. After the clean I’ll be better able to determine the state of the finish.

  4. #4
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    Default Backboard

    I decided to attack the backboard first as it is the main structure that everything else fits and aligns to.
    Itís made up from four tongue and groove boards and one of these joints has let go. The reason is fairly obvious, borers have eaten most of the tongue. I only have two entact sections about 100mm long at each end.

    DD84AF43-31F0-4A0B-A149-B85BA72E61F6.jpeg

    One quick, easy option would be to remove the rotten tongue sections, fill the groove and butt join the timber but there is no strength as the backboard is only 10mm thick. I could reinforce that with another panel over the entire back but it would be lacking itís originality.

    So I have decided to rout a groove in the tongue side where the tongue is missing and fit a spline/tenon. I need to order a 1.6 or 2mm slot cutter.

    I was going to dismantle the backboard so I could easily rout the slot but the cross structoe is still very solid with timbers cut into each other and nailed and glued so I would possibly do more damage trying to dismantle it.

    7F8EEDA3-562C-4C14-AD37-11172FE05B36.jpg


    There is enough ĒgiveĒ in the structure to raise one side with 10mm blocks so I should be able to rout the groove with a non bearing slot cutter. Hopefully they will be here this week so I can see if itís possible.

    B6FBAC4D-5437-4950-BA2A-B88223077517.jpg

    Any other ideas that will not take away from itís looks would be appreciated.

    Cheers

  5. #5
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    looks like the T&G was there for movement of the back . And that what its been doing . Butt joining or gluing both sides together will restrict the movement and end up looking worse when it cracks with the grain .

    Even stranger, if it was glued up, that would mean the maker would have been ok with the back of the carcase moving in and out with changes in humidity. It would have stopped on that false , Veneered back ? and cracked .
    doesn't make complete sense to me from what I see . Is there any other back support on the very back side ?like horizontal braces going across ?

    Are you thinking of gluing the new tongue in one side only ? Or is there evidence of it having been glued on its other side ? And having some other way of letting it move where it meets the sides ?

    And how does the false polished back stay in place ? I can see a groove up both sides . Does it slide up that ? and what holds it up there ?

    Interesting piece . Never really looked at them . And only seen English cases . 18th and 19th C ones of those had T&G backs as well . I had to go buy a T&G set for the same job . The set can be taken apart for two or one cutter to be used . Forget where I got it but its painted Red . Used for 10 or 9.5 back boards .

    Rob

  6. #6
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    A close examination of the backboard shows that my original observation that it was made from four tongue and groove boards was wrong. In fact, 3/4 of the backboard is a single piece with just this one section that is tongue and groove.

    53E2E00C-C678-4D3D-9727-D3C873451D4A.jpg

    There is is no back bracing at all as you can see. The only sections attached to this backboard is the rest that the hood sits on, the clock mechanism sits on and that the false front slides into. There are two brass pins, one each side, that slide through the sides in the picture below, and into the false front sides to hold it in place

    CFEBA8FA-CB1E-484F-A6A2-0069FB853D1B.jpg IMG_0264.jpgIMG_0267.jpg

    If the tongue and groove section was allowed to move, there would be nothing stopping the back from falling apart like it is now. The side pins for the false front only fit into a hole and would not hold the backboard together. Also, the top and bottom can move out of alignment as shown below.


    IMG_0261.jpgIMG_0260.jpg

    At the moment, the assembly has some inbuilt misalignment so the tongue and groove section sits slightly misaligned as you see above so I feel it needs to be secured to stop it separating wide apart horizontally and misaligning vertically

    The false front "may" hold the bottom of the backboard together but every section is loose and ready to fall off so I might have to redo that after I fit a new tongue to the backboard but before I fasten it in any way.

    If that doesn't work, I'll have to look at other options.

    One way would be to place a lining on the very back but that wouldn't be original so I'm loath to do that.

    I can't put any bracing at the front of the backboard even though it would be hidden by the false front because the pendulum swings in there.

    Anyway, I've heaps of time so slow and steady does it.

  7. #7
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    Yep . Then the interesting part is how that false back fits and is held in place. If its just a T&G up each side that doesn't stop the back from spreading apart unless the false back is either pegged , screwed, Or like some Euro stuff . In their own lovely weird and wacky way they had sliding dovetails left and right .
    They had special purpose dovetailing planes much more than than you can see in English Woodworkers tool boxes.
    Its a nice possibility ?

    How is that false back fitted and held?

    Rob

  8. #8
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    A bit of interesting reading about your clock

    In the Clock Shop This Month

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by auscab View Post
    Yep . Then the interesting part is how that false back fits and is held in place. If its just a T&G up each side that doesn't stop the back from spreading apart unless the false back is either pegged , screwed, Or like some Euro stuff . In their own lovely weird and wacky way they had sliding dovetails left and right .
    They had special purpose dovetailing planes much more than than you can see in English Woodworkers tool boxes.
    Its a nice possibility ?

    How is that false back fitted and held?

    Rob
    When you say false back, are you reverting to the piece that slides in front of the backboard ie. this part

    61673D21-FAAF-4993-9829-77DF20591F1B.jpeg

    It slides in the grooves in the side frames on the backboard like so ie. tongue and groove so it canít hold the backboard together.

    DC8BE04E-4342-4F01-BDB0-43EE4292AB60.jpeg

    It then locks into the side frames with brass pins I mentioned in the post before. I also put pictures showing the hole in the side frames and the front board that covers the pendulum.

    You can see the brass pins and chain in this picture

    608065E4-F561-4303-B9A5-55F97B62670B.jpeg

    However, the base section which looks like this, may? hold the lower section of the backboard together but as I said previously, its all loose so itís not clear whether it will hold the backboard together. I will rebuild this section next.

    E5DBFAC9-4DD7-493A-9C59-948AA15B6AB0.jpg

  10. #10
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    Default

    While waiting got the router bit I decided to strip down the false front which had a number of loose sections and actually holds the bottom of the backboard together so security and measurements are critical.

    541A5219-173B-4347-A74C-31550D7CD4AB.jpeg

    One problem has been that large extra nails that have been hammered in over time. They have rusted, swollen and split the shaped wood sections or distorted them. On this section below, I removed as much of the nail as I could, filled the cavity with epoxy and clamped it. It is still badly distorted so it will have to have timber removed so it will fit back into place.

    EEE4394B-2762-40CA-A1FD-0C1F4DA15241.jpeg

    I also repaired a number of splits in panels and repaired the rear arch.

    F9AE7102-ABF4-434A-8B91-869EC5B2EA80.jpg047A2281-C12E-4D4A-BBD0-13E56000A8CC.jpg

    The lenticle, the thin brass decoration that covers the lower window, is badly damaged with sections missing. I found the exact same one, which only has a few dents, in Holland - free postage👍

    6484ED5F-245C-4CDC-B4F2-3BE7E1BC3790.jpg

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lappa View Post
    When you say false back, are you reverting to the piece that slides in front of the backboard ie. this part

    61673D21-FAAF-4993-9829-77DF20591F1B.jpeg
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lappa View Post
    It slides in the grooves in the side frames on the backboard like so ie. tongue and groove so it canít hold the backboard together.

    DC8BE04E-4342-4F01-BDB0-43EE4292AB60.jpeg

    It then locks into the side frames with brass pins I mentioned in the post before. I also put pictures showing the hole in the side frames and the front board that covers the pendulum.

    You can see the brass pins and chain in this picture

    608065E4-F561-4303-B9A5-55F97B62670B.jpeg
    Yep I Get that now, That's good . .


    Quote Originally Posted by Lappa View Post
    However, the base section which looks like this, may? hold the lower section of the backboard together but as I said previously, its all loose so itís not clear whether it will hold the backboard together. I will rebuild this section next.

    E5DBFAC9-4DD7-493A-9C59-948AA15B6AB0.jpg
    I don't understand how that bottom "may?" hold the back board .

    Ill wait and see.

    It makes sense that the false back just slides up and is held with the pins .
    And that the true back has the T&G to allow for movement .
    My next guess is that the thing that the movement sits on that looks like a bridge and goes from the left to right side is the main structural thing holding the lot together. ??

    C2ED384C-82FC-417D-B3A6-40F5FE3CF094.jpg

    Another thing I was thinking is , just say the T&G was meant to be glued up, which I doubt . And having shrunk , wouldn't that mean if it was glued up the false back would have to be reduced in width for it to go back in ? It looks like a fairly big gap due to shrinkage .



    I like the hanging hole in the back for the hanging on a wall .

    That also has me scratching me head . The whole clock hangs from that point . The T&G being loose and not central means the weight is not even . So no wonder the thing is out of alignment maybe .

    Maybe its that the back and the T&G is glued as one ??

    Its an interesting puzzle worth the fun of sorting out . Just a pity its trying to be done over pictures on the internet.
    You see this sort of thing in the antique game all the time . And when the penny drops it always amazes me just how well the old guys who made this stuff were mostly very in tune with the material they worked with . And it all makes sense.

  12. #12
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    I have removed the mechanism mount as it had pulled out of the bridge (split the timber ) which is why there is so much movement in the backboard. It has also allowed me to get a bit more movement for routing for a new tongue. When you put that back and fasten it it pulls the top of the backboard together

    The backboard also has a short rebate on each side at the lower end
    A210C903-B566-4D7A-A765-8A9F835E8809.jpeg

    There is a corresponding rebate on these pieces on the sliding false front.

    CADE80B6-C499-448A-9C71-022BA631CFEC.jpg

    So the false front, as well as sliding in the grooves in the bridge, also slides in short rebates at the back of the lower end of the backboard. This also holds the bottom of the backboard together.

    4F31BD11-C316-4B85-99A2-169F799DCD86.jpg

    I have everything in bits at the moment so when I have it back together, iíll post an assembled photo which will make it much clearer.

    Meanwhile a rough drawing

    F2B6BD6B-A063-4CC7-B831-CD4A4E016252.jpeg

    Pulling it all apart has shown me how it is actually assembled and what holds what where😀 and itís quite ingenious.

    Unfortunately there have been repairs done previously using nails that are way too big which have split the timber, have rusted and the rust swollen (as it does) and distorted some carefully shaped sections. Lots of fiddly work at the moment so it doesnít look like progress

  13. #13
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    Default Finishes/coating for unfinished timber

    All loose bits have been removed, all damaged bits repaired apart from the backboard tongue - still waiting in the router bit, so Iíll probably start reassembling next week.

    Now itís all stripped, there are many areas of the clock case, which are not on show, such as the interior surfaces of the hood, that have no coating/ finish, and the timber is very dry. Do I leave it like that or is it worth using a finish such as an oil, or some coats of shellac etc. to protect /nourish it?

    Its easier to do while disassembled.

    Cheers

  14. #14
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    If its covered in dry dusty stuff and needs a clean , a light mix of linseed oil and mineral turps is a good way of cleaning it up . 25 / 75
    On raw wood it will look fresh but dry off to almost nothing. Brush it in and wipe it off dry if you want to try that . The small amount of thinned linseed oil left behind will leave it looking old but clean and your not changing anything .

    You dont want to go changing it by coating it up in anything heavier than that . A water based wash would do the same but has the potential of changing wood dimensions or water staining things .

    Nothing needs nourishing either . Nothing much goes in to far . it just sits on top soaks in a little .

  15. #15
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    Default New tongue

    The slot cutters arrived today. The 1.6mm was 4 cutter but the 3.2mm arrived as a 2 cutter

    it was difficult to set up as I had to make a special fence due the the backboard unit being in one piece and I could only lift the section 10mm. The fence had to be screwed to the router top as clamps got in the way.

    E23C53D9-F54B-4612-B474-9C5AC636BB86.jpg7C05AAC4-824A-466F-88E9-50CD30816173.jpg

    Be because the tongue side of the backboard was fragile I cut a 1.6mm slot first then followed up with the 3.2mm.

    The result was not bad if I say so myself and you can see the extent of borer damage.

    A5AFE5A3-39FC-48C6-AFB4-13CA95339BDB.jpg

    Fortunately, the damage (loss of the edge you can see) is at the back. The front fits together with no damage showing.

    Cut a number of tongues and picked the best fit, shaped it to suit the groove using a number of dry fits, then glued it in.

    902BF818-9EE6-4C0B-9863-EB1D85409570.jpeg

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