I wrote about this Ansonia Extra Drop wall clock barn find in a previous article. It has been a test bed for techniques I have never tried before.
A barn find clock in pieces (next photo) is a challenge for anyone. It was missing some parts and I began to take an inventory of what I required to get this clock running after so many years. However, I discovered that I had enough pieces to make something of it and whatever was missing could be easily sourced. Those key parts? Not so simple, as I will explain later
There are a number of variations of the Ansonia Drop Extras and the one most sought after is the time, strike and calendar version. This is a time-only version and would fetch a price in the lower end of the range.
This clock was manufactured by the Ansonia Brass & Copper Co. around 1880. It is 26 inches high, 16 inches wide and 5 inches deep. It has a 16 inch round wood door bezel on a large 2-inch hinge. The drop section has serpentine sides and teardrop finials. The bottom access drop door which I am missing, opens downwards. Other Drop Extra variations have access doors open to the side. Mine will also open downwards.
I assembled all the pieces I had from the barn find. Missing were small trim pieces, the pendulum bob and leader, the clock hands and verge. But two key pieces are required, the brass dial bezel and the drop door. During the course of making inquiries concerning the missing pieces, the movement was serviced and installed in the case. It is running reliably and maintains a full 8-day cycle.
Hmm, about the drop door. This is obviously not a piece I could buy from a clock supplier. The first step was to take the measurements and construct the frame. I cut pine wood from an old Ogee donor clock. I started with a door frame. The frame is about 7 inches wide by 4 1/2 inches high leaving a snug fit between the top and side opening.
Using my table saw I cut the appropriate lengths, assembled the frame and then glued the ends together (next photo). I put a weight on the frame for 24 hours to prevent warping. Pine moulding sits atop the frame to accommodate the rosewood veneer.
I cut a single 1 inch piece of doweling with a 3/8 inch crown. The result? Too wide and the crown was too high. The wide trim and high crown meant that the hinges would not function properly and it looked peculiar.
My quest was to duplicate the one in the next photo.
I discarded the moulding, kept the sub-frame and started again with smaller pieces. My second attempt was more successful.
I cut a section from 1 1/4 inch doweling resulting in a 3/16 inch crown. My stock Rosewood veneer is only 6 inches wide which I then cut into strips. I veneered the entire 26 inch piece using medium strength pearl hide glue. I used foam blocks to press the veneer into the moulding clamping at each end of the section.
The veneer was applied in stages since I had only two clamps that were appropriate for this project. After applying the first strip I learned that wetting the veneer on the top side allowed it to take the shape of the moulding more effectively. I then cut the strip into 4 mitered sections, glued the sections onto the frame and applied 2 coats of Brazilian Rosewood stain. At first I was reluctant to stain the veneer but using a test piece and applying two coats of shellac I discovered that the shade was too light compared to the rest of the veneer on the clock. The stain was necessary.
Two 1/2 inch hinges were used plus a knob salvaged from an Ogee donor clock.
Perhaps not perfect and there is much I could improve on in the next project but I would call it a good first attempt. No glass as yet. I have an antique mirror that I am considering instead. With the door complete and installed I can go no further with this project. If I could only find that brass bezel!
Until I find what I need this Ansonia Extra Drop will be an attractive but incomplete clock with a interesting story.