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Video:Caring for Antique Clocks

with Jonathan Mattson

With proper care, your antique clock can last for generations. Find out how to keep your antique clock ticking.See Transcript

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Transcript:Caring for Antique Clocks

Hi, I’m Jonathan Mattson from the Tick Tock Shop in Colorado Springs, Colorado and About.com. I’m here today to give you some tips for taking care of your antique clock.

The first thing to remember when dealing with an antique is to be careful with it. Treat it with respect. Treat your clock carefully, gently, and it will give you many years of service.

Cleaning an Antique Clock

When cleaning your clock - taking care of it day to day - be careful with modern cleaning products. The products we have today often times can do a great deal of damage to the finish of your clock or even the dial. So use caution. Anything you use on your clock test first in an inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t damage the finish.

I like to use a nice microfiber cloth just for daily cleaning just to wipe it down and keep the dust off. One of the products I really love to take care of the wood is called the Natchez solution. It’s an all natural product that doesn’t damage the finish on an antique clock and serves to feed it, restore it, and bring it back to life.

Whatever product you use, it’s better to apply it to a cloth first and not spray it directly on the finish. Sometimes you can use an old paintbrush to get in some of the details and get the dirt and dust out. You can use a little bit of windex or glass cleaner on the glass. But like I said before, be careful using anything on the dial. Because often times modern cleaning products will take the paint right off the dial.

Use Care When Winding an Antique Clock

I have a clock here that is one that was not treated very carefully, one that people weren’t careful putting the key in to wind it. You’ll notice it chipped a bunch of the paint off the face. They’ve chipped a lot of the veneer off the corners. And you know, that’s easy to do if you’re not very careful - catch a rag under the veneer and break it loose. So just a little bit of extra care would have given this clock a nice long life.

Other than cleaning, obviously you’re going to need to take care of your clock most likely by winding it. You can’t overwind your clock. You just want to wind it to the end of the spring. So get your key in, wind it all the way up. The key will only turn one direction. And when you get to the end, you’ll kind of feel the spring getting tight. You don’t have to give it that last little push. When you let go of the key ease back and make sure that little ratchet catches.

Setting an Antique Clock

When you’re setting your antique clock, always set it with the minute hand and move it forward. As you pass the the quarters, the half, just let the clock strike before you move on. If you move past without letting it strike, it will get out of sequence.

Professionally Service Your Antique Clock

The other thing to remember is to have your clock professionally serviced about every three to five years, so it will keep the movement and stay in great working shape for a long time.

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