Q: My husband and I purchased a beautiful Howard Miller pendulum wall clock in 1994. It worked well until a few months ago, when it began adding two chimes, one at five minutes before the hour and one at 25 minutes after the hour. It continues to chime at all the quarter-hours, as it should. What is causing the abnormal chime? And how can it be fixed?
A: Howard Miller has authorized two shops in the area to service its clocks. They are Gold N Time in Stafford (540-720-3366; firstname.lastname@example.org) and Eastern Standard Time in Purcellville (540-338-3959; www.easternstandardtime.net).
Pendulum clocks need to be cleaned, lubricated and adjusted periodically, and if your clock has gone nearly 20 years without servicing, it’s long overdue, said Vic McCoy, owner of Gold N Time, and Frank Palasciano, owner of Eastern Standard Time. “It’s like with an old car that you have to maintain,” McCoy says. “You have to add oil, and every so often you have to pull the engine apart to clean the parts and change the oil.” If not replaced periodically, the lubricant thickens and becomes a paste.
Both horologists (the term for clock experts) make house calls for $125, or a little more if a home is far away. They both recommend in-home servicing of grandfather clocks because disassembling and moving them is difficult and risky. For wall clocks, customers usually bring the pieces to their shops for free repair estimates. McCoy said servicing a three-arbor wall clock, the type that chimes at quarter-hours, typically costs $106 at his shop. Cleaning and oiling a one-arbor model, which just marks time, usually costs $72, and working on a two-arbor wall clock, with what he calls a “bim-bam” to signal the time, is usually $96. If parts are broken or so worn that they need to be replaced, prices are higher.
I have an antique Minton plate that has broken in half. I know it’s no longer valuable, but it is beautiful and it’s part of a set, so I’d like to at least have it presentable. Where can I get it repaired?
Robert and Karin MacDowell feature a Minton compote they restored on the Web site of their company, MacDowell Restorations in Waterford (540-882-9000; www.macdowellrestorations.com). If your pieces have clean, unstained edges that mate well together, they can glue the pieces together so tightly that the seams will be nearly invisible. Their fees start about $150.
Other companies that do this type of repair include Ceramic Design Associates in Clifton (703-830-8211; www.ceramicdesignassociates.com) and Chatrees Conservation and Antique Restoration in Alexandria (703-548-0168; www.chatrees.com).
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The Checklist Read Jeanne Huber’s roundup of home-improvement tasks you should tackle in February, such as exploring renovation tax credits.