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Antique furniture has often undergone the evolution of fashion more than the ravages of time. A successful restoration is precisely going back in time to discover, layer after layer, their history. But without going too far, not to commit the irreparable.

Text and Photos H. Séguret

The history of this Dauphinoise clock is exemplary. Made in the course of the nineteenth century, she has always stayed in the same house. At the beginning of the twentieth century, everything that made up the interior furniture, for the sake of uniformity perhaps, was spent in walnut, clock included. In the 1940s, refugees occupied the house for some time. The bad stove they used failed to burn the clock, which kept track of it. The years have passed, and the occupants have changed. The clock died down in the early 1980s and then went up to the attic. It has crossed the threshold of the new millennium, before returning to the forefront.
● Restarting the mechanism did not present any difficulty. A good dusting with a soft brush, a little lubrication, and he left... as in 14! The clock sounds the time, the reminder after five minutes and half an hour. Certainly, it takes the lead in wet weather and forgets the twelfth move... But it rhythm again life of his slow step, immortalized by the song of Brel.

Research and discovery

The fund has always been dark for three generations. The thick layer of black polish and burned polish did not show anything. At most there remained some slight reliefs around the dial. In such a circumstance, the first reflex is caution. Machine sanding or super paint and varnish remover must be banned!
● The first step is to disassemble everything that can be. In the present case, this concerned the crown, the head, the moldings and the rocker panel. These pieces were simply nailed. It was enough to pull the nails carefully without damaging anything. Cleaning tests are performed on a part not visible, here the bottom of one side, the back having never been decorated. The least aggressive products, such as refill or scrubbing, are tested to avoid errors and to check their compatibility with the nature of the support and the substances to be removed. They are applied to extra-fine steel wool and are immediately wiped with cotton wicks.
● This is how the original decoration of this clock was revealed. Made of softwood, it has been entirely painted in faux wood imitation and decorated with a delicate floral pattern on the front.

From the method

After the tests, a restoration method was established, with consumer products (from the Syntilor range).
● A special furniture spray remover is sprayed to remove the bulk of the black layer, by scraping.
● A scrubbing pot is then used to detach the last deposits, without damaging the underlying paint.
● A popote to reload reveals the last details and restores the patina, slightly satiny.
Finally, the floral, more delicate, was cleaned exclusively with the meals. The work is obviously longer. About ten hours were needed.

Disassemble and clean the clock

Disassemble and clean the clock

Dismantle the clock and list all the parts, according to their location and the order of assembly. Apply a cleansing lotion with a cotton wick to all woodwork.

scour

scour

Spray the stripper, after having stirred it well, keeping the aerosol slightly inclined at about 20 cm from the support. Lay a regular layer thick enough. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes.

Scrape

Scrape

Scrape the largest of the softened layer with a thin-edged or sharp-edged metal spatula. Work in the direction of the fibers. Wipe with a large wick of cotton wick, soaked in cleaner.

Clean

Clean

Apply a single coat of stripper to avoid damaging the decor. Neutralize its aggressive action by cleaning with a cotton wick pad impregnated with clear water, frequently rinsed.

décrasser

décrasser

To clean the tracks and deposits in the reliefs, use a scrubbing pot. Soak a generous pad of extra-fine steel wool generously. Rub the surface without pressing forming 8.

Finish cleaning

Finish cleaning

Feel free to replace the steel wool pad as soon as it loads and becomes tacky. Finish the cleaning with the application to the cotton wick of a popote to recharge, always forming a 8.

Clean delicate parts

Clean delicate parts

On the delicate parts, here the bottom of the box, do not use stripper. Clean only with the scrubbing pot. On recessed reliefs, gently scrape with a scalpel.

Preserve the details

Preserve the details

This detail illustrates the richness of the hidden scenery. Its preservation is ensured by a passage of meals to be recharged, followed by a colorless encaustic treatment with beeswax. Shine with a soft cloth.


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