Clock Restoration

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This is an abbreviated presentation of a topic covered in Extreme Restoration. The explanation in the book will be longer and in greater detail, but this overview provides the essentials.

Missing Pieces: When inspecting a new project clock it is not uncommon to find that a piece of the wooden case
has gone missing. Usually, this is some type of curved molding that is not an off-the-shelf item.

Custom moldings can be produced by many custom cabinet shops, but the price for a small, single piece as on a clock case will tend to be unusually expensive simply because of the set up costs.

Many missing pieces can be produced in the shop using commonly available tools. The presentation that follows shows how one missing molding piece was created using only a table saw and wood scrapers.

When a piece of molding is found to be missing, always check the
Surface to which it abutted. There is often a faded outline of the
original contour. This will be very helpful in creating a new piece.

A white lead pencil as is used in sewing is useful to drawing in the missing contour so that it is more easily seen.


A piece of translucent plastic can be used to copy the contour and make a template.

The contour is then transferred to the end of a suitable piece of wood.


It is recommended that the contour be copied onto both sides of the wood.

The table saw blade is adjusted to make cuts across the board up to the height of the molding line.

It takes a little time and patience, but a "stepped" cut out of the molding shape can be easily achieved.

Final shaping up to the line is done with sander and scrapers.

A contour gage comes in very handy for checking your work.

Sanding drums can be used for initial shaping.

Check the progress frequently.



Traditional hand shapers may appear out of date, but work very well for final contour work.

Final shaping is done using various grades of sand paper.

Once satisfied with the final contour, the piece is ready for test
fitting and veneer.

When installed, the contour can be checked against the original
"shadows" on the case pieces.

Veneer can be cut, softened and pre-bent using your favorite

Clamping with contour blocks or vacuum pressing can be used
to install the veneer.

The missing molding with veneer............

A little shellac and the piece looks like the original.
The number of different contours that can be made using this technique is essentially limitless. It is recommended
that a good quality "carbide" blade be used when cutting.

As with any power tool, appropriate safety precautions should be taken. If you are unfamiliar with power tool seek