Thursday, August 18, 2011

An Old Clock Gleams Again

This beautiful old clock's finish had a dark brown tone when it came in to the shop, but that was not how the finish looked originally.  The finish is made out of shellac which will darken over time.  It also will bead up, sink into the recesses and loose it's glossy sheen.  To restore this clock, we didn't strip the old original shellac finish off, instead we put it in our cleaning tanks which got all the years of grime off.  There were a few minor repairs to the decorative leaves on the top which had to be done.  Then the entire wooden face was coated with 3 layers of an Orange Shellac which is as close as we could come to the original color of shellac on the clock.    The new coatings have smoothed the old to some degree but the texture of the old shellac is still visible underneath, which keeps some of the character of age.

The clock of course needs to have the door put back on,  but before that happens,  the inner workings of the clock will be repaired by a local clock company.  Once that is done, this clock will not just look beautiful but it will function properly and sound good as well.

The label on the back of the clock.

The owner of this clock is fortunate in that the original label is still in place.  Gilbert Clock Company used a number of different labels on the back of their clocks throughout the life of their business, which can help to identify what year the clock was made.   The style of this label tells us that the clock was made between 1885 and 1895.

From Antique Clock Price Guide's Site
AntiqueClocksPriceGuide   has a helpful page with photos of many of these labels.  If you have an old clock who's age you would like help identifying, you might check them out. 

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