Sawin banjo clock – wood dial bezel fix

This banjo clock project has been an ongoing challenge for nearly a year, a very enjoyable one that has taught me so much.

The movement has been serviced, 4 new bushings installed, the case has been cleaned, veneer issues addressed on the two bottom corners, a new post was made for the final, dial glass has been replaced, the hands rubbed down with steel wool to remove rust, the bottom section of the rails on both sides re-glued, some flat-head screws replaced (with smaller flat-head screws taken from old cases) and the old brass cable was removed and replaced. The dial was left untouched.

There is a simplicity about the case design that I really like.

Veneer missing on two bottom corners

The old and tired suspension spring should be replaced. I cannot source the spring alone but I am reluctant to pay for an entire pendulum assembly. It has been straightened and it works well for now.

The last step is addressing the crack in the wood dial bezel.

Cracked bezel

The age crack is just above the number eleven on the dial. It was likely cracked long before I bought it.

Hot hide glue was used to close the gap but the repair did not work. The hot hide glue has a low bonding strength and it separated after just a few weeks (a dry house in the winter does not help).

I had difficulty closing the gap with string and ecstatic bands so, I purchased a band clamp designed for furniture repair, so let’s see how that goes.

Clock sans dial bezel

A band clamp might just be the ticket but there is always the risk of the bezel splitting again, perhaps not in the same place. Option two, which I prefer not to exercise at this time, is to fill in the crack and simply live with a slightly larger bezel that may not fit the dial door catch exactly.

There were many choices on Amazon and I selected one of slightly better quality.

When the clamp arrived, rather than apply the glue immediately I clamped it unglued for about a week theorizing that memory in the wood would be retained when glued. Yep, just a theory! In addition, if it were to crack in a different place that would have been the time it would happen.

Since hot hide glue was simply not strong enough I used glue with a much higher bonding strength, Gorilla glue, because it will hold. Perhaps hide glue with a higher bonding strength might have worked but I just don’t have that on hand. I am usually a stickler for authentic methods but sometimes a more modern glue is the only option.

Wolfcraft band clamp

Wax paper is used to prevent any residual glue from sticking to the band and the surface the bezel rests on. The curing time is 24 to 36 hours, the reason for the sticky note. It cured for almost 48 hours. Enough time I would think.

Two large flat-head slotted screws for the hinge hold the wood bezel in place and on went the bezel.

Completed project

And the result after 10 months of working in stages, is a complete and functional banjo clock that, in my view, looks absolutely stunning.


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