How to Restore Clock Faces

Written by josienita borlongan
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How to Restore Clock Faces
Clock (sjs5769/morguefile)

If you have an heirloom clock that you value dearly, it is important that you keep it with you for as long as possible. If your clock acquired some damages on the face, do not lose hope. You can fix cracks, discolouration, peeling, fading or holes on your clock. You can save a lot of money by doing the job yourself. In addition, you will feel some gratification that you fixed your clock's damages and restored it back to life.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Wood putty
  • Carpenter's glue
  • Wood stain
  • Paint
  • Superglue
  • Mortar or thinset
  • Hammer
  • Finishing nails
  • Wood
  • Jigsaw
  • Tweezers
  • Clock's hardware (numerals and hand dials)
  • Phillips screwdriver

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Stop the clock by removing the battery. For a grandfather clock, you can remove the bottom weights that move like a pendulum.

  2. 2

    Remove the clock's hardware by unscrewing from behind. Remove the hour, minute and second hands. Set aside.

  3. 3

    Sand the area where there are cracks, holes, peeling or discolouration. Wipe with tack cloth to remove lint and dust.

  4. 4

    Apply wood putty in the areas where holes and cracks appear. Let dry and sand it lightly. Wipe with tack cloth to remove lint and dust.

  5. 5

    Apply stain or wood finish to match. You can also use paint that matches the original or you can paint or stain with a new finish for a different look.

  6. 6

    Let the paint or stain dry.

  7. 7

    Put back the clock's hardware in order. Put the second or minute hand fist, then the hour hand, and then tighten the screw from the back.

  1. 1

    Stop the clock and remove the hardware just like in Section 1.

  2. 2

    Apply superglue to put the broken pieces together. Use small tweezers to handle the small pieces. Apply the glue on the surface of the clock's face, and then gently put the pieces back on the clock's face. If there is a big hole, apply a thin paste of mortar, spread thinly, and then put the broken pieces on the mortar. Press and move the pieces gently together as if doing a puzzle. If the ceramics have a design or pattern, make sure that all the pieces go back to where they should to match the design.

  3. 3

    Remove excess glue and let dry.

  4. 4

    Reattach the hardware just like in section 1.

  5. 5

    Set the time and use the clock again.

  1. 1

    Stop the clock and remove the hardware as in Section 1.

  2. 2

    Remove the badly damaged clock's wooden face. This can happen when the face is badly cracked or broken in several pieces that are impossible to put together.

  3. 3

    Get a matching piece of wood.

  4. 4

    Trace a round template that would fit into the clock's back plate.

  5. 5

    Cut using a jigsaw.

  6. 6

    Drill a hole in the middle where your clock's hardware would go through.

  7. 7

    Use sandpaper to smooth out the surface and edges. Remove dust and lint using tack cloth.

  8. 8

    Stain or paint with a finish or colour that matches the rest of the clock. Let dry.

  9. 9

    Paint numerals or use clock numbers you can buy from a hobby shop.

  10. 10

    Use carpenter's glue and finishing nails to attach the new clock's face onto the original clock's backing.

  11. 11

    Put the hardware back together just like in Section 1.

  1. 1

    Connect the broken pieces using superglue. Use tweezers to handle the small pieces. Dab a thin drop of glue at the edge of the broken piece and then connect it gently onto the matching piece.

  2. 2

    Replace the missing numbers and hand dials with pieces from a hobby shop.

  3. 3

    Glue the numbers on the spot where they are missing. Let dry.

  4. 4

    Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the broken hand dials. Replace and then screw them together tightly.

  5. 5

    Turn the clock on and test the hand movements for accuracy. Adjust as needed.

Tips and warnings

  • Apply a découpage on the clock's face to give it a shabby chic look. You will hide the damage and give your clock a new face. Use magazine print on a clock's face or use handmade paper, which you can glue over the original face.
  • Use crackle paint to finish the look of a chipped or cracked wooden clock. This will give it a designer look and hide the damage.
  • If your clock is a rare antique heirloom, find a reputable antique clock repair shop. You will just lower the value of your heirloom clock if you do not know how to tackle the repair job.

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