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luiazazrambo

French carriage clock

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Hello Clockmakers,

unfortunately I could not spend much time with clocks recently (what a relief for them) but now I have to read about carriage clocks. I paid £48 pounds for this one without knowing anything about carriage clocks, sounds realistic but i dont know. I have already manually cleaned the case a bit, but did not touch the movement yet. What I noticed is that every brass piece has a number stamped in it: 756 What does that mean? Serial number? Or the type? Ohh and more thing. Should it be really shiny and polished? Generally speaking? Or shall we leave the patina on?

Best regards,

lui 

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You have an 8-day French carriage clock with a cylinder platform escapement. They must have been produced in there millions, this type is very common, the numbers are just case part numbers. It has an Arabic style dial with original hands.

Cleaning Brass. All movement parts should be polished by hand. Brasso is what I used; some on here say Brasso is an abrasive and should not be used. Total rubbish, you will need old soft cloth and a soft brush to apply it. I would then clean in petrol and dry in soft sawdust. You will need a block of French chalk and a chalk soft brush (clean) you can buy this from any good supplier. Never use the chalk brush for any other work. You chalk brush every brass piece of the movement, this will prevent it from tarnishing, you will need a bench blower to blow away the excess chalk.

Cleaning Steel Parts. All screws should be cleaned and polished, removing the burr, general tidying up of the screw heads. Best to use a lathe if you have one. You can do it by hand but you will not have such good results. You will need various emery sticks, start with a file, nothing too drastic and using various emery work down until you reach a nice shine. The same goes for all the platform screws.  Clean off the arbor of any burr and use the emery sticks to finish, don’t forget the key end, the same goes for the handset. Polish the ratchet and the spring with emery.  

Cleaning the platform. Re-move the collet/hairspring from the balance; don’t forget to mark it so you know where to put it back in the same place. Put the hairspring in Ronsonol lighter fluid with the escape wheel; remove the regulator and its parts and leave. Clean all the brass parts in the same way as I have described above. Clean the regulator parts with emery and wash out in Ronsonol. You can clean the escape wheel with a glass fibre scratch brush.   

Cleaning the case. Polish in the same way, don’t French chalk it. You must make sure you have completely removed all access polish. You should lacquer the every part of the case with a clear lacquer, you will need a very soft artist brush for this so it doesn’t show brush strokes and brush in one way only, This dries very quick, so be careful. I have included a link for the lacquer.  

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/lacquers-rapid-drying

 

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Thank you oldhippy, very useful. I am also going to read about the "French clocks and carriage clocks" in Practical Clock Repairing by Donald de Carle, to see what does he have to say about them. Unfortunately I have no lathe yet or emery sticks but going to upgrade of my set of tools as my time and money allows me. 

 

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That's fine. Don't forget reading will not give you pit falls you might encounter. As you know I'm here most of the time if you need more help just ask. I didn't go into the bluing of the screws as most aren't on your clock. I can give you the info if you would like to do so. 

Good luck and take your time you don't need to rush at it.

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Would these cheaper mass produced carriage clocks been originally gold plated, or was it just the more expensive ones that were gold plated?

The case I'm talking about , not the movement

Edited by Tmuir

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23 hours ago, luiazazrambo said:

Thank you oldhippy, very useful. I am also going to read about the "French clocks and carriage clocks" in Practical Clock Repairing by Donald de Carle, to see what does he have to say about them. Unfortunately I have no lathe yet or emery sticks but going to upgrade of my set of tools as my time and money allows me. 

 

An excellent book to look out for that goes into great detail on the repair and restoration of carriage clocks is "The Carriage Clock: A Repair and Restoration Manual" by Laurie Penman it is a comprehensive book on the subject and can be picked up quite cheap on Ebay.

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I have read  "French clocks and carriage clocks" in Practical Clock Repairing by Donald de Carle and more or less he says the same thing as you oldhippy. Hopefully I am going to be the happy owner of a unimat 3 this weekend however I have more questions now. 

- Why sawdust? Is it not messing up the parts and get them dirty again?

- French chalk, could you please give me an example? A link maybe? I checked it on ebay and found sticks for marking steel. Is that the one? Would any soft painting brush do the job? I guess I have to accept the fact that this is preventing the brass tarnishing, but cannot see it now how. Probably i am going to do a google research on this topic.

I attached a pic of my set of artist brushes, one of them should be good for the lacquer, would be the biggest one good for the chalk? 

 

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Hi The sawdust is used for drying off the parts after cleaning then puffed off with a blower. The french chalk was supplied in a block, you used a watchmakers brush and loaded the brush then polished the plates with the chalk,  old methods now as most cleaners now brighten the brass and most plates are warm air dried.

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French chalk:

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/french-chalk

Use a very soft brush such as the very soft Glasgow brush :

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/natural-bristle-brushes-handheld

The brush is passed over the chalk to coat it , you then brush the plates using the brush in a very fast motion applying no pressure just skim the surface very fast  any excess chalk must be blown from the pivot holes and surface when finished, the plates must be absolutely bone dry before chalking other wise the chalk may sit in the pivot holes and not be removed when blowing clear.

Lacquering is a skill in it's self applying the lacquer with a very fine natural bristle brush such as a Camel brush natural bristles let the lacquer flow better from the brush than nylon or synthetic bristle brushes, traditional lacquers are shellac based and dry very quickly almost on contact applying to parts that have been slightly warmed before hand gives a more even result, I have Lacquered by hand and have had some good results, but it is a frustrating process at times you have to work quickly and methodically, clear lacquers are easier to get good result with, warm tone Lacquers can be very unforgiving so in the end I gave up and now use a compressor and airbrush to apply.

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/lacquers-rapid-drying

Edited by wls1971
sellpnig

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Thank you all, i am going to purchase the missing tools and materials and going to attempt to do a proper service on this clock. Will send pictures as I slowly progress. The clock is actually working and even keeping the time, but the point is the learning now, and it is a simple and cheap movement, big enough to see parts easily.

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Hi *,

Collected my unimat 3 today. Not tried it yet I need some education first and probably I need to give it some oil here and there etc.

It used to belong to a gentleman who did model making.

Thanks for the advice oldhippy, one thing less what i have to acquire.

Best regards,

lui

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