Home Forums General Discussion Forum How to refine the mechanism of a Gilbert Mantel Clock

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      I had to post some pictures from the latest clock I am working on. It is an old Gilbert Striking Mantel Clock. The case is quite tatty but picked up at a boot sale by my uncle for just £10.
      So, to the first refinement;

      Pivot hole worn too big? No problem, just solder a small piece of steel into the hole to bring it roughly back to size. Such a neat job I hardly noticed it! 😆

      Having never seen one of these movements I am not sure where the original return spring(not sure of correct term?)was but it obviously has been broken off or lost. Solution? wrap wire around everything until the strike mechanism works again.

      If anybody can shed some light on what should be there I would appreciate it. Along with the usual punching up of pivot holes to make them smaller and a good soaking in wd40, this lovely old clock has pretty much seen it all, but, I feel a thank you to the bodger is in order as if it wasnt for them keeping poor frankenstein working he might not be here for me to make all better. :)


        Two more questions about the case of this clock, the feet have remains of red paint on them, I have searched through hundreds of Gilbert images but have only seen the metal case decoration in gold. Also it has fake red marble panels either side of the face, the varnish used has bubbled quite badly and is yellowing, is there a safe way to remove the old varnish without destroying the fake marble?

        Bob Tascione

          Hi Arutha,
          Someone sure had a creative moment with that clock!
          I saw somewhere on the web a site that showed the correct way to set up spring wires. It was really well done. I’ll check around later this afternoon to see if I can locate it.
          As for the finish on the wood my guess is that shellac was used. This is usually what was used on older clocks. If you take a rag soaked with some denatured alcohol and apply it to a small, less obvious area you will know right away if it’s shellac. It should soften and begin to wipe off onto the rag. I don’t think this will hurt the underlying finish but I’m not sure so hence the “small, less obvious area” suggestion. As for the paint color on the feet, you got me there. I don’t know what color it should be or what would be the best or safest way to remove it if you wanted to do that. Maybe someone up here with some case refinishing experience can help us out with that.
          I’ll try to locate that website and will post it up here when or if I find it.


            Thanks Bob, that website would be a great help if you can find it. :)

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