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Coloring Replacement Dials for Westclox Clocks

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Simulating Age

Most original dials were very close to white, and many good clocks found today still have nearly white dials. Therefore, if any tinting of the replacement dial is to be done, it should be very slight in most instances. Possible coloring agents include instant tea, and food coloring in water. The reproduction dials may be soaked for short periods of time (a minute or so) without harm, and will dry perfectly flat if laid face down on glass and weighted. Excess liquid should be blotted off first. Dial tinting should be done before the dials and holes are cut out, to make the coloration more uniform. On request, scrap dials will be sent free of charge with any order. These are useful for experimenting with tinting.

Celluloid Dials

Some old Westclox clocks have dials of celluloid over paper. It is possible to get a close imitation of this finish. First, tint the dial. A recipe I've used is 1 cup water, 15 teaspoons instant tea, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon yellow food color (depending on how yellow you want the dial.) You may want to experiment some more to get the color you are happiest with. Keep in mind that the lacquer and tung oil applied later will darken the color somewhat. Soak the dial in the coloring agent for one minute, then let dry as described in the previous paragraph. Now tape the dial face up to a piece of cardboard, with the tape completely surrounding the dial. Next it must be lacquered. Some lacquers will dissolve the ink, so the first few coats must be very light. After the lacquer has been brought up to a smooth surface, and is dry, flood the dial with tung oil (such as Formby's gloss), let the excess run off by holding the dial vertically, then let dry in a horizontal position. When dry, cut out the dial and holes.

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