Scottish tall case clock with new top finials

The final step in the repair/restoration of my tall case clock are the top finials. This clock had top corner finials at one point in its life. There is evidence that something was there on either side of the crown. I have no idea what they might have looked like but judging from photos of many tall case clocks of the 1850s period they were likely a brass ball type.

My first sight of the clock in a corner of an auction house

It is a classic Scottish tall case design from the 1850s. The removable bonnet is 23 inches at its widest point, the waist is 15 3/4 inches wide and the base is 20 inches wide. The bonnet has tapered columns on either side. The dial access door which covers the entire bonnet swings to the right. The solid wood access door on the waist measures 9 X 24. The clock stands approximately 84 inches.

So far I have revitalized the clock case, made a number of structural and aesthetic repairs and left the final step concerning the finials to the last.

The nubs are there for the finials, but what did they look like?

In order to gauge people’s responses to the question: should this clock have finials?, I posted photos on a clock-oriented Facebook site.

My little poll revealed that the vote was split with slightly more choosing a crown with finials. Even before the Facebook vote, my wife and I were leaning strongly towards brass finials.

Should the brass finials have some sort of a base? Most of the ones I have seen on similar clocks had some sort of decorative wood base.

In my first attempt, the bases were much too large and took away from the overall effect of the brass finials. Darkening the softwood with stain didn’t work well either but making them smaller and cladding them with veneer might give me the effect I want.

Applying veneer and clamping to set

Rosewood veneer from a 150+year-old scrap Ogee clock was perfect for this project. I applied Rosewood veneer on three sides, covered the veneer with a dark walnut stain and followed with one coat of shellac. The Rosewood veneer stained with walnut matches the clock case perfectly.

The clock is in its new location on a landing between the first and second floor of my home

And from another angle.

Looking down from the second floor

One more angle.

Looking up from the first floor

This Scottish tall case clock has come a long way since I first laid eyes on it. And, I think it looks better with the brass finials.


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