Sessions electric table clock refinishing – a father-daughter project

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Finish almost completely gone
Finish almost completely gone, right side

My daughter found this vintage Sessions electric table clock, a model 3W and gave it to me as a Christmas gift. It is made, by the Sessions Clock Co. Forestville, Connecticut in 1936 and sold in Canada (a Canadian Standards Approval sticker is on the back).

Left side

On the back, it states that it consumes 2.5 watts, I guess they couldn’t call it model 2.5! It was probably 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 etc. but it lacks an alarm it would not be a suitable bedside table clock. There is only one control in the rear, a push-and-twist-in knob that sets the time. Pretty simple!

On the workbench
Stripping the finish

Everything else, the face, hands, brass bezel were in great shape but the finish on the case had almost completely worn off. It is one block of wood and likely pine and likely tinted lacquer.

My daughter and I chose to work on the finish together. We stripped the case down completely and applied a light walnut stain. Several coats of shellac followed by sanding with 0000 steel wool between coats and finishing with paste wax completed the project.

New and improved 3W

The result is a richer, darker finish, more in keeping with the original. Given that it runs so well a refinish is a complement to a very simple but stylish desk clock.