A side note here...the standard London dial has a "matted"
center which gives it a 'fabric' type look. There has been
considerable head scratching as to what methods were used to
produce this effect on these 18th century dials. Every one
seems to look a little bit different from the other.
Athough many dial centers were rolled with a knurling-type
device, others were punched with a knurling punch. With the
chapter ring removed you can see the "mis - punches" that
It must have taken a whole day of loud hammering just to mat
this dial!!........Man...get me an Advil....
After the initial cleaning it was decided to leave the existing
engraving wax in place since, though cracked, was structurally
sound. The final lacquer coating will also keep everything in
While working with such old pieces the philosophy should be to
remove as little material as possible while maintaining and/or
restoring the dignity that each piece deserves. There are many
cases in which graining the chapter ring (and other items to be
silvered) is necessary and appropriate. Each dial has its own
personality and presence - and is ultimately a compliment to
the clock case in which it resides - and the restorer must
decide the appropriate action when undertaking a re-silvering
Graining, however, does remove metal as the pieces are
essentially "sanded" down to create a uniform appearance. It
was felt that, in this case, graining would not be an appropriate
step, or in keeping with its modest clock case as a whole>>>>
Each piece was silvered with a silver nitrate solution and
cream of tartar rub and finally given 2 coats of clear lacquer.
The engravings still look crisp>>>>>>>>