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When the clock was acquired the general condition was really quite good. It was in running order (the striking was quirky which was remedied later) and the overall appearance, while somewhat dull from years of tarnish, was in good, clean condition. I did, however, want to restore the appearance to a new, shiney condition. Furthermore, to preserve this appearance once all the work was done, it was decided to completely lacquer every part to the fullest extent possible. This is the same approach I have taken in my tower clock restoration work. However, on this, much smaller scale, the methods needed, especially the masking off of areas that must not be lacquered require many tedious steps. I know there are many collectors who adhere to the more purist principals where one should not undertake any restoration that is strictly for cosmetic purposes. This may well apply to exceedingly rare clocks or movements that would not be seen as is the case in 95% of clocks whose movement is housed in a clock cabinet. But in a skeleton or tower clock, the movement is seen. With skeleton clocks the components were originally highly finished to especially show off the movement metal. Unlike the removal of  a finish from a wood case which is irreversible, a polish, not overly aggressive will, without additional protection, revert back to it's former patina. There is nothing quite as eye-catching as a sparkling skeleton clock, especially if it has complications like a remontoire, balance wheel escapement or nest of bells.

In general, the steps in restoration are: 1 - Complete disassembly and cataloging. Here the use of a digital camera is essential. Having a computer to display these shots at the bench, especially when it comes time for reassemble is very convenient. 2 - Thorough cleaning with a water-based degreaser in an ultrasonic tank. 3 - Perform any repairs or other obvious adjustments necessary (more on this later). 4 - Polishing by hand with appropriate material. I use Simicrome for all brass parts. Steel parts are cleaned by a small powered wheel charged with white polishing compound designed for this material. Screw heads/slots when damaged from inappropriate handling are dressed to bring back good appearance.  After this is done all parts are cleaned again in the ultrasonic tank to remove any polishing material. All pivot holes are pegged out. All pivots are polished on a small lathe. Ferrous parts are heat dried immediately in an oven to remove all traces of moisture. 5 - Mask all areas with tape, or pegs (for holes) that must not be lacquered. All wheel teeth, pinions and pivots are protected. 6 - Lacquer. I use a commercially available brand designed for metal in a spray can. It takes some time to learn how to apply the appropriate amount to achieve a smooth surface; avoiding a dull finish from too little coverage or an 'orange peel' surface, drips or sags from too much. Often one hears that several light coats are the way to do this. I have found this not to give satisfactory results on a bright, polished metal surface. One must apply the right amount the first time; in one pass. 7 - Reassembly and debugging. 8 - Oiling pivots after being sure the clock is running perfectly. If all the prior steps have been performed properly, a clock should run well for a period of time without any oil. Total parts count on this movement is 339, about the same as would be expected in a full sized tower clock movement (less about 35 parts for the bell system that would not be present on a tower clock movement).

There were certain minor repairs that were necessary. 1 - Various spots on the clock's frame had small metal shims inserted, presumably by a prior repairer that was unable to get the movement to run correctly without them. 2 - It was evident that the remontoire weight had, at a later time, additional material added to drive the escapement. Again because the repairer was unable to get the clock to run properly on the original weight that the clock was designed to run on. Too much friction in the system that he was unable, or unwilling to resolve. My conclusion is that the shims and the extra weight are related to his inability to correctly repair the movement. 3 - The warning pin on the quarter strike detent was broken off. 4 - The wire hammer pull linkages were poorly executed, misshapen and made from differing materials.  It was noticed that at some point in the past a repairer has etched on many locations, some in prominent areas, markings to enable him to identify parts for reassemble. This kind of defacement is inexcusable, but  not surprising considering the shims, extra weight on the remontoire and ugly hammer pull wires.                                                             

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