New England Chapter No. 8 NAWCC
Highlights of 1999 Willard House Workshop
by Brian Wilcox

The seventh Annual Horological Workshop was held at Willard House on Saturday June 5. Willard House is a unique place to host an such an event- in the same place where the Willard Family began their clock making and began to set the standard for New England clock making. The workshop is held in association with the Willard House and Clock Museum. and Chapter Eight is extremely grateful to Dr. and Mrs.Imogene Robinson for the use of Willard House, for this annual event. Dr.Robinson was on hand to welcome members to Willard House.

The weather was just as kind, in fact, it was "perfect". Forty seven members attended, attracted by the location, great weather and the program . Bob Frishman the Education Chair only gets credit for the exceptional program!! The format was changed this year, instead of the usual three groups, the classes were held together in The Willards Barn, with the conservators class inside the museum.

Workshop members were welcomed to Willard House by John Stephens, on behalf of Dr. Robinson, Bob Frishman Chapter Vice President and program Chair, introduced the program and workshop "presenters".

Wooden case restoration was the first workshop of the day, presented by Wayne Paskerian, who demonstrated procedures, products and techniques used to restore the surfaces of wood antiques. Paskerian does not have any handed down secret recipes or magic compounds that have been in the family for generations but uses professional proven, traditional repair products for wood and other hard surfaces. It was a hands on demonstration using the "Mohawk - products and the "Mohawk systems" -- products designed with the user in mind. The ethics of restoration was discussed, Paskerian advises patience versus payment , "weigh your options" but always "retain the integrity of the piece" being restored. He provided tips on how to assess the type and the severity of the damage and how to repair the damage. It was a hands on workshop with Paskerian demonstrating Sanding with various grades of sandpaper, wet and dry, to remove "alligatoring", crazing and cracking. "Always sand with the grain and wear gloves. How to repair loose joints and doors, replacing missing parts, matching veneers, the use of epoxy stick, and finish with aerosol sprays, "always warm the can under the heat lamp".

Several members had brought various clock cases to the workshop for an opinion from Paskerian on "How to fix it". Here at the right, Wayne and Tom Grimshaw from Connecticut discus Tom's clock case refinish.

Paskerian with thirty years of restoration, attends manufacturers' workshop and schools on a regular basis to ensure that he can continue to provide quality restoration work. The workshop suited the beginner and the experienced, and was very well received by the members.

Wane Paskerin, restores antiques and wood surfaces, in Winchester Massachusetts, is a member of NAWCC, and the Treasurer of Chapter Eight.

John Losch now returned from his work as Horological instructor at NAWCC National Headquarters, gave an informal session on clock repair problems. John described himself modestly as a "retired clock maker" but as the session progressed it was apparent that experience does not retire! He is now working on a book.

The session was to be an "ask and tell". It was not long before the questions came, tips on the lantern repair, rivet with light blows and taps, the use of loctite, how to lubricate a wooden clock, -the ask and tell, soon became a forum, it was a typical Losch session, however informal, John always provides a new tip or trick to add to our experience, an interesting appetizer before the picnic lunch in the Willard House Garden.

We moved into the museum for the last workshop of the day as David Gow took us behind the dials at The Willard House. He began by sharing his thoughts on conservation ." Proper cleaning, oiling of pivots and bushing work will greatly preserve the integrity of a movement. This will prevent permanent wear on the surfaces of the pinion leaves."

Good restoration is based on much research, experience and documentation of the work done, with the ability to reverse any new work. David came to New England from British Columbia, and had used Willard House as a source for research .He was invited to be Conservator of the clock collection at Willard House in 1997. He urges others, to work efficiently, do not hurry, avoid stress and purchase only the best tools and beware of gadgets!!! Above all respect your customer, and be honest with your customer, charge fairly for your labor. "A full restoration demands much time, not many clocks need a simple cleaning."

David is a British trained horologist, is a member of Chapter Eight and lives in Massachusetts.

* * *

Saturday, June 5, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Willard House & Clock Museum
11 Willard St, North Grafton, MA 01536

We invite you to attend this year's one-day workshop at the Willard House & Clock Museum. The bargain-priced registration fee covers three professional presentations, morning refreshments, a delicious box lunch, and access to the museum's exciting collection of Willard treasures. Space is limited, so please sign up promptly. Questions? Directions? Call Bob Frishman at 978-475-5001.

8:30 a.m. - Registration and morning refreshments.

9:00 - 11:00 a.m. - Workshop "Wooden Case Restoration".
Wayne Paskerian applies his 30 years of restoration experience to demonstrate procedures, products and techniques used to restore (not refinish!) surfaces of wood antiques. He will cover the steps needed - from initial cleaning to stain blending, spot finishing, corner rebuilding, polishing and waxing - to preserve and protect original finishes. Participants will be encouraged to practice these operations during the session, and also are invited to bring their own (small) restoration projects to the workshop for evaluation and advice.

11: 15 - 12:00 noon - "Q&A with John Losch".
Well-known to most of us, John has now returned from his work as horological instructor at the NAWCC national headquarters. He offers, in this informal session, to tackle our clock repair questions. Participants are welcome to bring their 'back of the bench' repair jobs - the tough ones waiting for this special inspiration and guidance.

12:00 - 1:00 p.m. - Lunch.

1:15 - 2:30 p.m. - Workshop "Behind the Dials at the Willard House".
David Gow has 25 years of clock restoration experience, including work on clocks in the Willard House. He will take us into the museum to describe repairs he has done on this world-class collection, focusing on four clocks that presented unique restoration challenges. Don't miss a rare opportunity to view Willard clock movements with this British-trained horologist.

2:30 - 3:00 p.m. - Concluding tour of the museum with John Stephens, Curator.

Travel Information (see map)
From Mass.Pike, take exit 11, follow Rte.122 to Rte.140 to Grafton Center.
From 1-495, take Rte 9 to Rte.30 - turn onto Willard Road at Tufts Campus.

Those desiring overnight lodging should contact the hotel directly at
Marriott Westboro 800-228-9290
Sheraton Milford 800-548-5008
Worcester/Auburn Ramada 800-548-5012

Willard House and Clock Museum
(An affiliate of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors)

This is the 7th Annual Horological Workshop. The workshop is held in association with the Willard House and Clock Museum.. Chapter Eight is extremely grateful to Dr. and Mrs.Imogene Robinson for the use of Willard House, for this annual event.

In the late 1960s, Dr Robinson, led fund raising efforts to restore the old abandoned Willard homestead . Willard House opened in June 1970 with Mrs.Robinson serving as Director. She supervised the restoration of the building and acquired period pieces to furnish the Homestead. Today the Museum houses a very fine collection .

Willard House is a unique place to host an such an event - in the same place where the Willard Family began their clockmaking and began to set the standard for New England clock making.

Upcoming Museum Events

  • 4th Annual Robinson Lecture - June 13,1999.
  • 33rd Annual Antique Show on Grafton Common - June 19th,1999

The Museum publishes a quarterly newsletter "The Pendulum", to get your copy, call the Museum at 508-839-3500, or better still, ask about it at the workshop!

Willard house web site.

Willard House telephone number 508-839-3500

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