• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • PLEASE: Read the FORUM RULES BEFORE registering!

Silk Purse From A Sows Ear


Active User
Active Member
Here is a very ordinary hump back clock that I picked up. There was no makers identification on the movement and the dial was recovered.


Here is the movement as found. You can see why no one would want to claim it!!


This is the back plate after a session at the drill press with a little valve grinding compound and a leather lap.


Makes a difference doesn't it?




Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
Hey, Joe. The only problem now is that you'll have to put it on the mantle backwards with the door open. :biggrin:

Looks great.

Bryan Smith

Registered Member
You took what looked like a German mov't and made it look like an English Smith's brand clock. Nice job. I've done similar with a wooden dowel in a drill press and a sand and oil slurry on my motorized bicycle clutch cover. Your spacing is superb to mine and the valve compound is preferred.



Last edited:


Active User
Active Member

And, for those who give a snot, that technique is called 'engine turning' or, on nicer watches, 'Damaskeening' (from Damascus, famous for cutting edge (pun intended) metalwork).

Joe...did you use a cross-slide to move the plate as you worked it to get uniformity? It turned out darn nice...

Mark in Modesto
And in gunsmithing it is called jeweling as in "Jeweled Bolt"

Mark, I did this before I got my mill. I used the set-up described by Steve Conover in his "How to repair Herschede Tubular Bell Clocks". The instructions run 6 pages and requires making fixtures to control the spacing. The same job can be done on a mill, in much less time and with greater accuracy.


Tony Wells

Former Vice President
Staff member
One of the better fabricators I have had the pleasure to work with had the jeweling down pretty well. He did it on nearly all the aluminum jobs we did. He did it a little larger, because of the scale of the pieces, and basically freehand, using only a single straightedge and a 4" grinder with a flapwheel. He tried to teach a couple of the younger hands, but I don't think any of them ever got it. The only time I've ever done it was smaller, and I used a dowel and valve grinding compound in a mill.

I have a couple of tools I wouldn't mind going over.