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Restoring Your Antique Grandfather Clock

Jul 17, 2008
Antiques of every description are often passed down from generation to generation. Others are purchased at estate sales, auctions and even garage sales. If you are lucky enough to come upon an antique grandfather clock, you may notice that the clock needs some work. Like any antique, grandfather clocks require special care when it comes to repair and restoration.

Before any type of repair or restoration begins, it is important to determine the age of the clock and the maker. The world of antiques is filled with fakes and knock offs and this is no less true when it comes grandfather clocks. Grandfather clocks can add a touch classic beauty to any home decor and there is nothing wrong with owning a reproduction. Before spending your hard earned money on the restoration or repair of a grandfather clock, be sure of its value first.

Information such as serial numbers, makers marks and even the style of the clock face can provide valuable clues about the origin of your clock. Regardless of how you acquired your grandfather clock, the internet can provide clock owners with a wealth of information on a wide variety of topics. From famous clock makers and vintage clocks to professional services, the internet can be a good place to start. The process of doing research about your clock can be fun and quite informative and the internet makes the job faster than ever.

Once you have determined the maker and the age of your clock, the next step is to ascertain the physical and functional condition of your clock. The purpose of any clock is tell time. If the clock is not working properly there are several things that you can check before consulting a professional clock repair service. If the clock is properly wound and the pendulum movement appears normal the problem can lie within the clock movement. Tackling a repair to the clock movement is not a job easily done by the novice clock owner.

Mechanical grandfather clock movements are complex devices and a specialized knowledge of how the movement works is needed. Broken springs, stripped gears and frozen bushings are just a few of the things that can prevent your clock from working. Sometimes a movement has been damaged beyond economical repair. Even if repairing the movement is economically feasible, the parts required may no longer be available. There are skilled craftspeople who can manufacture new parts but this can be very costly. Using a new replacement movement can functionally restore the clock but may diminish its value.

The case of an antique grandfather clock can be quite unique and, like the movement, requires special attention. Old varnishes can be very fragile and under no circumstances should you use cleaners and oils on the case of an antique clock. If the case needs cleaning, use only a soft cloth and warm water. Furniture oils and cleaners can damage the clocks finish making the job of restoration more expensive or worse, render the clock valueless. Just because a grandfather clock case is damaged does not mean it cannot be successfully repaired while maintaining the value of the clock. Any damage to the case should be repaired only by a restoration professional.

Refinishing the case should only be done if the original finish has been damaged through neglect. Stripping the original finish can result in damage to the patina of the underlying wood and will almost certainly guarantee that your clock will lose its value. If you are more interested in the aesthetics than the value, refinishing the case can be done though it is not a job the novice.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a staff writer for the quality online store Grandfather Clock Sale.com. Shop for fine quality Grandfather Clocks at Grandfather Clock Sale.com for your home or office. Please visit Grandfather Clock Sale.com today.
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