Home Forums General Discussion Forum Repairing dials

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      Hello Everyone.
      Do any of you have any experience of repairing or remaking clock dials? I’m not talking about re-silvering or re-enameling, just aluminium (aluminum … as they say in the good ol’ US of A) or steel painted dials as used in drop dial or dial clocks.
      I have a couple of dials that are in too much of a mess to pretend that it is just ‘patina’ or ‘looks antique’ and need to repaint and then remake the lettering. I’ve restored everything else, but the dials really don’t do justice to the clocks now. I’ve purchased some rotring rapidograph drawing instruments, but am unsure how to proceed.
      I am hoping that one of us may know some trick for drawing the roman numerals etc.
      Fingers crossed, Brian

      david pierce

        I don’t know if this idea would work or not but some ink jet printers have an adapter for printing computer discs. If a printer can put an image on the center of a computer disc then I see no reason why it would not print an image on an aluminum watch size disc. If you photographed the old dial you could then clean the image up in Photo Shop. After that you could print it on a round piece of aluminum. You could either try this yourself or contact a local print shop that is familiar with the process.


          the printers that print on cd’s have special trays to take the cds so you would be limited to 5″ or 3″ discs, if it would print on the aluminium disc and if it didnt ruin your print head.
          From what little reaserch I did a while back, the easiest solution would be to buy a new chapter ring from Cousins or Meadows and Passmore and fix it to a sheet of brass the correct size. It may be worth talking to some dial restorers too and see what they would suggest. Some of them are very helpful and maybe able to suggest methods?


            Have you seen this?
            It is not what I am looking for, but very interesting anyway.
            The dials I am most interested in restoring are the 12″ metal dials. If I could find a computer graphic for a dial it is possible to print it on special transfer paper. This allows you to create a transfer, just like the ones used in model planes where you put the paper in water and it slides off in the form of a transfer.
            Can anyone point me to a .jpg image of a clock dial?


              ok, an option you can look at is vinyl masking, you create the image as a bmp, then have someone with a vinyl cutter (hobby shops normally know someone who has one, or a sign shop), then apply, paint, sandblast, etc.. what ever finish your looking for. Because I am a former RC racer, I have one, we use it to cut paint masks for other items, such as flames on a car, reproducing decals that can be painted on, just cutting a decal.

              If you find someone nearby to cut your mask, it should be cheap, a roll of masking vinyl is under $30, and the one I have is 12″ by 30 yds, prepping the surface is the key to getting a good finish, so clean it, then apply, then paint, remove and your ready to go. I have a small 18s pocket watch dial that I am debating on trying to restore, or go this method with it, if I do, I will post the results.

              If you have a sign shop near by, have then print a vinyl dial, that you would simply apply, they print car wraps with them, I am sure that if you create a nice image, it will apply quite nicely.

              Just something outside the box…

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