Question: I have a great wall clock with a plastic movement that appears to have given up, no matter how many batteries I try. It’s just a cheap clock, 10 inches in diameter, that I purchased from Ikea, but it blends perfectly with my bathroom. Is there somewhere I can have a new movement installed?
— Falls Church
Answer: Jerry Donnelly, who has been repairing clocks for 30 years and owns Falls Church Clockworks (703-536-6731; www.fallschurchclockworks.com), can probably put in a new mechanism, but he notes that it would be a lot cheaper to buy a new clock. He estimated that replacing the mechanism might cost $95, with the unknowns being how easy it is to access the working parts and whether the hands on your clock are threaded to match. “The trick is fitting the hands on the shaft,” he said.
Could you just buy a new clock, maybe even from Ikea, and swap in its mechanism yourself? “A good hobbyist could, maybe,” Donnelly said.
Question: I have beautiful stained maple cabinets with a darker stain glaze done by the manufacturer (Decora). The glaze settled in the indentations around the perimeter of the raised panels on the doors and drawers. There is noticeable wearing-away of the color in these indentations, most likely from water. There is no damage to the rest of the cabinets. Is there a way I can have this damage repaired without having to re-stain the entire cabinets? A wax color stick makes it look worse.
— Ellicott City
Take a drawer (easier to remove than a door) to the dealer that supplied your cabinets. If you don’t know who that was, go to any Decora dealer. Two near you are Pandora Kitchens in Columbia (443-717-1256;
www.pandorakitchens.com) and Cabinet Concepts & Design in Gaithersburg (301-368-7711; www.cabinetconceptsmd.com).
A dealer can assess the problem and the colors involved and order the appropriate repair product: a touch-up pen loaded with glaze or a container of stain or toner. Depending on the age of the cabinets, the products could be free if you are the original owner and the damage is deemed to be a manufacturing defect. But if your cleaning regimen is determined to be the problem, you’ll need to pay. The typical cost ranges between $35 and $50, said Shaw Lahimi, head designer for Pandora Kitchens.
Cleaning instructions on the Decora Web site (www.decoracabinets.com) specify using a clean cotton cloth (not a packaged dusting cloth) for dusting, a cotton cloth and warm water for most cleaning and a cotton cloth with a fresh solution of mild hand dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water for more stubborn splatters or grime. The Web site warns against using harsh or abrasive cleaners and products that contain solvents, ammonia, bleach, self-polishing wax or silicone-based cleaners.
All that is understandable. But it also warns against using a sponge or a dishcloth, for fear these cleaning tools might harbor food residue, scratchy things, or “remnants of harsh cleaning solutions.” In other words, if you’ve ever wiped off the cabinets as part of cleaning up after doing the dishes, the damage could be considered your fault. One detail in your letter, though, offers a possible route to pursue if you decide to push the issue of blame. You wrote that most of the cabinet surfaces look fine, and only the glazed areas are damaged. Decora claims that it applies a clear topcoat over the stain and glaze. So did the company apply the topcoat too thinly on the glazed areas or skip them entirely?
Decora is one of nine cabinet brands that are part of the MasterBrand Cabinets line. The company doesn’t list a phone number for customers to call about repair questions, but it does have one, at 812-634-0586. Customers can’t order repair products directly, though, so the best advice is to go to a local dealer.
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