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 This page provides links to shortened versions of some of the how-to topics presented in
 Extreme Restoration.
 Additionally, new or updated information will be posted as it surfaces. Click on the link or the image to
 jump to the listed topic.........


Clock Tablets, Part 1


Many of us feel that we are not particularly "artistic". We can rebuild a complex movement, refinish a case or craft a missing piece from scratch, but when it comes to tasks such as restoring or creating a painted tablet, we tend to shy away and outsource the project to an "expert". 

Fortunately, there are a number of techniques that can be employed by the "artistically challenged" to accurately restore a tablet or create a high quality replacement.

This presentation is the first in a four-part series that will begin with creating the needed tablet artwork then using this artwork to get the image onto the glass then finally, adding color and completing the tablet.

Creating professional quality clock tablets is well within the abilities of any clock restorer with average shop skills As with other restoration tasks, it's all a matter of finding the right tools for the job.

Clock Tablets, Part 2

Traditionally, a clock tablet is created by applying various colors to create the main image. A background of white, black or some other color is then applied over both the image and unpainted glass areas. Creating a tablet using this approach requires a significant amount of training and artistic ability. While there are those who specialize in restoring and recreating clock tablets, it is a skill that most of us simply do not have the time or patience to master.

Fortunately, for us "non-artist" there are techniques that can be employed to produce professional quality tablets. The process described here is based on the traditional approach, but does it in reverse order.

In part one of this series a procedure was presented for creating very accurate artwork for a clock tablet. Now that artwork will be used to begin to create a high quality finished tablet using a relatively simple technique.

Clock Tablets, Part 3

This presentation shows a second technique for getting the image created in Part-One onto glass. This technique uses the artwork to create a very accurate "Silk Screen" which is used to apply the paint to create the background and detail lines as was done in Part-Two.

Making a silk screen using traditional methods is a relatively complex process. Fortunately, today there are high-tech silk screen materials that are much easier to use but every bit as accurate as traditional silk screens.

involving building stretching the screen material over a frame then treating it with a special emulsion to make it light sensitive. It is then exposed to light then cleared of unneeded emulsion to create areas where paint can penetrate and areas where it is blocked. Obviously, for the occasional user, this is both a complex and fairly expensive process.

This technique, while more complex than the method presented in Part-Two,  produces a finished tablet that is very close to original in terms of production method and materials

Clock Tablets, Part 4

Parts One through Three of this presentation covered creating the necessary artwork and getting the background and fine-line detail onto the glass. To complete the tablet, color must be applied to the clear cells and a protective backing material applied.

The use of both liquid metallic paints and dry metallic powders are presented in this short wrap-up presentation.

The techniques and materials detailed in this final presentation show how to complete a professional looking tablet with all the quality and durability of the original even if you are a "non-artist"...........

Getting Started with Hide Glue


Hide glue, produced from animal hides, bones and connective tissue
has been the adhesive of choice in furniture assembly for over 3,500 years.

There are many "modern" glues available today but they just can't
match the working advantages of original hide glue.

Much has been written about the advantages of using original hide glue
but some restorers are still concerned about the cost and difficulty of
setting up a traditional "hot" hide glue system. Well.......

Put your concerns aside. It's a lot simpler than you might think and
actually quite inexpensive. You can put together a good hot hide glue
system for less than $30 including your first order of glue.

To get you started, this short how-to presentation was developed. It provides all the information necessary to quickly get set up to use this fantastic product.

Repairing Screw Holes

Wood screws do an excellent job of holding a clock movement to its backboard. Unfortunately, each time the screws are removed so the movement can be adjusted or cleaned, the holes in the backboard are worn ever so slightly.

Over the short term, this is nothing to worry about, but a clock that is 150~200 years old may have had the movement removed dozens of times over the years. The holes can become so worn that the original screw no longer hold the movement firmly.

There are a number of techniques for restoring worn screw holes in wood. Some are effective, some are not.

This short how-to presentation shows a technique for making strong, long lasting and virtually invisible repairs to worn wood screw holes.


Aging Wood


Occasionally, it is necessary to create a new case part to replace a damaged or missing original. Creating the piece is usually not difficult, but making the piece fit in with the rest of the case takes some extra effort.

New wood simply doesn't look like old, oxidized wood. No matter what type of finish or stain is used, it still just looks new.........

There are products on the market for aging wood and they all work to one degree or another. As an alternative to commercial products, I have found that some common household products can be used to very effectively oxidize and age wood.


 Mirror Restoration

There is a lot of difference between a new mirror that you pick up at the mall and the mirror originally installed in an antique American clock. Comparing a modern mirror to one from an early 1800's wooden works clock will quickly reveal the difference. Mirrors from this era possessed a soft patina and reflected light much more subtly than modern mirrors.

Understanding this difference is the first step in creating a replacement mirror that looks and functions like the original. This brief how-to shows a technique that can be used by the average restorer to "silver" a piece of antique glass or re-silver an original mirror that has become unusable. The results look very much like the early "tin/mercury" mirrors seen on many wooden works clocks.


Faux Tortoise Shell

A Faux Tortoise shell finish became very popular on the columns of shelf clocks from around 1830. All manufacturers used paint and paint-glazes to produce the effect, but every clock maker seemed to have a slightly different technique.

The tortoise shell pattern on some columns is very random while the pattern on others is very directional. Some are very dark brown while others are a much lighter caramel color.

In every case, it is possible to produce very authentic looking tortoise shell columns using only basic materials such as acrylic paints and shellac as a top finish. The technique is easily mastered by most restorers.

Faux Wood Grain

Faux wood grain was far more common on antique clocks than often realized. As the demand for low cost clocks rose rapidly from the mid-1800's, manufactures were constantly looking for ways to reduce production time and costs.

It became common practice on many shelf clocks to use a plain wood veneer that had been painted to look like rose wood or other exotic veneers. This is seen most often on the sides of the case with real rosewood on the front faces. The combination of real and faux woods created a very realistic effect.

Restoring or recreating realistic looking faux wood grain is not difficult if careful preparation is undertaken. It's a skill that every restorer should master.

Gilded Finishes

Bright gold leaf work was often used to enhance the richness of clock cases.

Gold was used on wooden moldings around glass tablets and dial glass.

Gilding was also used on the upper and lower end caps of columns with tortoise shell in the center section.

The most striking use of gilding was to fully gild a clock column then create matte accent rings around the circumference of the column. There were many different patterns used on these columns and matching the original pattern usually requires some research.

Gilding is a skill that can be mastered by any restorer. Practice is needed to perfect technique, but the basics are not difficult. Duplicating the matte rings requires creation of some special tools, but they are simple and inexpensive.

New !

Faking is a term used to describe the art of carefully camouflaging minor flaws in wood finishes such as the joint line where two pieces of veneer meet or an area that has been previously filled or repaired.

Similar to faux wood graining, faking is usually performed on a much smaller scale.

Properly done, a faked joint will become totally invisible on the finished panel.

New !
Missing Pieces

When taking on a tough restoration project, it is not unusual to find that
one or more pieces of the clock case are missing.

Often, the missing piece is a complex shaped molding.

Having a custom cut molding can become quite expensive, but there is
an alternative.

Using a table saw and basic tools, very accurate replacement moldings
can be produced.

This short how-to shows the basics.