This is Part II of a two part series in which I describe the final finishing of an Arthur Pequegnat Bedford clock case.
In Part I I described the challenges of repairing the clock case and the minor repairs to the movement.
In the first part of the series I also described how I acquired this Arthur Pequegnat mantel/shelf clock during my travels to Quebec this spring.
The red oak veneered clock is complete with pendulum bob, a good label on the inside back of the access panel, coil gong and of course, the signature time and strike Arthur Pequegnat movement with nickel-plated steel plates.
It is the “Bedford” model. Online research informs me that two Bedford models were produced. This one, which is the later version, measures 9 ¾ inches high by 8 ¾ inches wide by 5 ½ inches deep. It has a silvered 6 inch dial with Arabic numerals with no Pequegnat inscription on the bottom of the dial face, spade hands surrounded by a thick brass bezel and concave base moulding. It has a passing ½ hour strike on a coiled gong.
The earlier model has a 5 inch enameled dial with stylized Arabic numerals and Pequegnat inscription on the dial face, spade hands, oak veneered case, a thinner brass bezel and convex base moulding. The case measurements are identical. The time and strike movement differs from the later model by having a ½ hour passing strike on a bell.
If the dial is a replacement, it is a Pequegnat and someone took the trouble to install larger (and correct) spade hands
I initially thought that the larger dial might make this a one-of clock but after working on the case I am inclined to believe that the dial might be a replacement. I observed two sets of screw holes, one for the larger dial and one presumably for a smaller one. A factory switch or perhaps a clock-maker replaced the dial at a later time for whatever reason. After looking at a photo of the Bedford taken at the Canadian Clock Museum in Deep River, Ontario (Canada) you can easily see the smaller dial and thinner bezel.
I do not think the larger dial overpowers the look of the clock, in fact, it gives it a more contemporary presence. If the dial is a replacement, it is a Pequegnat and someone took the trouble to install correctly sized spade hands. Unfortunately, the previous owner is unaware of the difference.
The task of clamping and gluing the case took several days as each section of the case required attention. And now to the final finish.
Before the case restoration. Yes, the clock was in sad shape.
After giving the case a good cleaning I applied one thin coat of Minwax red oak stain to hide the bare areas and rough edges. I let the stain sit for 5 minutes and wiped off the excess with a cotton cloth. I allowed the case to thoroughly dry for 24 hours before the first sanding. For the final finish I chose Minwax PolyWipe for two reasons, one, it is simple to apply since it is easily wiped on and secondly, I wanted to avoid the amber tone of a lacquer which might result in concealing the grain. I applied six coats of PolyWipe and used 400 grit emery paper between each coat.
After cleaning, sanding and two coats of PolyWipe this is the result.
I am pleased that the grain came up very nicely, reminding me of what it must have looked like many years ago.
After six thin coats of PolyWipe the result is a revitalized finish that is durable, attractive and will last for years.
The brass door has me puzzled. What I thought was a broken hinge was actually folded into the bezel and soldered.
Why? I am reluctant to remove the solder because I risk breaking the glass by bending the retaining tabs. They are in very tight. As it stands the glass door will friction fit onto the dial bezel. Not the best but it will do for now. I will give it a second look, perhaps I can de-solder that hinge without removing the glass.
A gratifying project that is well worth the time and effort. It is always satisfying saving an old clock and bringing it back to life.