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The Clock Watch BLOG

... Q&A on clock matters. A blog by Claire - The Mantel Clock

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Caring for a Mechanical Clock

Posting date: 13th May 2007 18:03

I would like to pass on this advice from someone who has spent their life painstakingly looking after and restoring mechanical clocks. I like and sell these clocks but I won't pretend to be an expert!

Caring for your clock case:

Once you have your clock installed in your home, there are several points that need to be observed in order that you will continue to maintain and enhance the beauty of its appearance over the years.

Most items are given a final finish of wax polish. This serves both to protect it and create a subtlety of surface that cannot be matched by any other treatment. It is the organic nature of this surface that allows the build up of patina and warmth of colour that careful use will impart. Initially, there is no need to add any more wax to the surface, but most items will need careful buffing with a lint free cloth once a week for about the first six months. Once a month for the next six months should then suffice.

By the end of the first year it may be appropriate to apply a thin coat of good quality wax polish. This should not be of the spray variety and must not contain silicone, which can leave harmful deposits on fine furniture. Generally, it is recommended that the wax polish has a wax tint to match the type of wood being treated, although Antique Brown or Rugger Brown will suit most dark timbers and Neutral, Pale, Lemon, or Clear being suited to lighter woods.

Apply the wax in a thin coat with a lint free cloth and then carefully buff to shine with a separate lint free material. Synthetic mutton cloth is particularly recommended for this final buffing process since it alleviates the tendency for the wax polish to smear. If this is not available - a good quality duster will make a satisfactory substitute.

If possible try to end the polishing in line with the grain, as this reduces the tendency for the wax to display a streaky appearance.

Caring for your clock movement

Do not oil the wheel or pinion teeth - this will cause premature wear and necessitate expensive and unnecessary remedial work.

Oil only the pivots where they run in the movement plates, the escape wheel teeth (sparingly) and parts of the under dial motion work which are subjected to rubbing or butting motion, again sparingly. Do not forget to oil the weight pulleys!

The first sign of oil being required on a properly restored clock is th slowing of the strike after 5-6 years in a normal environment. Worn out pivots on an unrestored clock will run on without oil for years - resulting in a major repair bill!

The clocks I supply are delivered with a free bottle of suitable high tech synthetic clock oil together with a wire applicator

With thanks to Allan Smith

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