This antique Grandfather clock was brought into Hander Woodworking in certain need of restoration. The owner said the clock was commissioned by his ancestor and its purchase was documented in that ancestor's will, with a bill of sale, and then passed down from father to son through the generations. He said it was built by Edm Richards on the Isle of Guernsey, in the English Channel, in 1792. Mr. Hander went to the library and found a book on cabinet makers of the past and he did, indeed, find an Edm Richards on the Isle of Guernsey in 1792.
The gentleman said he didn't know that back then the English language had two characters for the "s" sound, one being the common "s" and the other looking similar to a lower case "f". So as he was reading this original will, he read words like fifter and he said, "I couldn't figure out what a fifter was. What was it like one fifth of something, I wondered?" Of course, he said once he learned what the letter was, he recognized the word as sister.
When the clock was received, veneer was peeling on the hood and bubbled in many places on the curve of the hood. The door was very badly twisted to where it would not close and the gentleman said he knew it had been refinished at least once and the numbers on the dial had also been repainted at some time in the past. The dial was very yellowed from coatings of shellac and rust pockets were erupting from under the paint.
After testing and determining the dial was coated with shellac, it was carefully cleaned to reveal a gorgeously painted dial with gold leafing. The rust spots were cleaned and destroyed with rust killer and then an enamel paint was mixed to match the dial background and the spots were touched up.
The black paint of Edm Richards' name was not visible, save for a few residual spots, but fortunately it had not been lost to the ages. His name had actually been etched into the ground paint and that could been seen under black light. Therefore, an exact duplicate of the original name was traced using a felt pen and acetate, along with the rest of the missing, but not lost, design.
Hander Woodworking collaborated with a silk screener on a few piano fall board decals in the past so he was contacted about this job. An exact copy of the dial's original "black" art was copied by Hander Woodworking (the other painted art remained original and the large, repainted numbers were left untouched) and then the silk screener did the rest until the dial was screened with both companies working together on that process.
The door was a bit more complicated. It was made from English brown oak with the grain running vertically, the length of the door. Mahogany veneer was glued to the front. If one looked at the bottom edge of the door and held it so the inside was facing up, the door was cupped upward and it had a pronounced twist so while the top could be closed, the bottom corner stuck out a good 1 1/2 inches. Anybody who has worked with wood knows that twists are the bear of bears and in many cases, are non-repairable.
Trying the least obtrusive method, Hander Woodworking first steamed the inside and tried to over bending the door so when the pressure was removed, it would spring back straight. As expected, that was fruitless and it incorporated a slight risk of breakage in the process. The door was 5/8 inch thick and ultimately, kurfs had to be cut in the back of the door, both vertically and horizontally to relieve internal stresses and allow for bending. Splines were cut and glued into the slots, each intersecting the other with half way cuts like interlacing fingers. A 1/4 inch piece of solid oak, with the grain running horizontally, was glued to the back. This eliminated the cupping but the twist remained. Therefore, two, one inch square, "X" crossing oak battens were added and that solved the problem. The door is much heavier, now, but the repairs did not interfere with the pendulum or the external appearance. As the picture shows, the door closed perfectly after the repairs. The clock's dial can be seen in the Furniture Restoration section.