Session Electric clock model 3W – refinishing the case

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The only exception to my collection of mechanical clocks is this vintage Sessions electric auto-start table clock, model 3W, made by the Sessions Clock Co. Forestville, Connecticut in 1934 and sold throughout Canada (Canadian Standards Approval sticker on the back).

I wrote about this clock at the beginning of this year (2020) and have time to focus on the case.

Sessions 3W electric table clock
Sessions 3W electric table or shelf clock
From the front, it doesn’t look too bad but the side view reveals much of the finish has worn off over the years

On the back, it states that it consumes 2.5 watts of electricity. I suppose the manufacturer could not call it model 2.5. it was a very affordable clock in its day and available almost anywhere.

At 4 1/2 inches tall and 8 1/4 inches wide it would fit on any countertop, bookcase, desk or bedside table though it does not have an alarm. It is time-only with an Arabic dial and a sweep second hand. Having a sweep second-hand means that at a glance you can see that the clock is running. There is only one control in the rear, a spring-loaded push-and-twist-in knob to adjust the time.

The clock had some issues. The hands were detached, one prong on the electric plug was missing and the case was in poor condition. Otherwise, it runs.

From the front, it may look presentable but the side view reveals much of the finish has worn off over the years.

Finish almost completely gone
Finish almost completely gone

My intent was not to replicate the factory finish but at least make it aesthetically pleasing.

On the workbench
On the workbench

After stripping the case, applying one coat of Brazilian Rosewood stain followed by several coats of shellac, a light sanding with 0000 steel wool, and finally two coats of Minwax paste wax, this is the final result.

After stripping, sanding, staining and several coats of shellac

The clock was a Christmas gift from my daughter and was found tucked away in the corner of an antique store in Calgary, Alberta (Canada). She is pleased that it runs but the fact that we worked on the case together made it a very satisfying father-daughter project.

It is now my “official” office clock.


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