What's new
What's new

Metal finish question

Luddite

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Location
Michigan
Please look at YouTube video titled Goyen Ornamental Wood Lathe from M. S. Rau Antiques or use this link:


Starting at 1:09 in the video there is a display of lathe parts. At the lower right is a wheel with a large hole in the center. The wheel has what looks like a random scribble finish on it. Another part with this finish appears at the 2:10 point in the video. Does anyone know how this finish was made? Thanks in advance.

Luddite
 

Screwmachine

Titanium
Joined
Mar 8, 2001
Location
Switzerland
It looks from a distance like fine scraping, which I doubt it is. More likely is, like some high end clock movements of similar age, it was rubbed in a random pattern with charcoal sticks. It gives a really nice appearance.
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
I have seen some 19th century scientific instruments with that sort of finish on the flat brass parts. I think I saw it called "snailing" which seems right if you picture a snail wandering randomly over the surface, leaving a track. It looked like it was hand done, but I do not recall seeing a description of the tools needed. I think the surfaces were then finished with a slightly tinted clear lacquer or shellac finish. Those finished parts were generally not subject to wear, so they still looked quite good after 100 to 200 years.

This is not the same finish as the mechanically produced decorative finishes seen on watches.

Larry
 

Luddite

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Location
Michigan
Screwmachine and L Vanice, thanks for your thoughts. I'll try the idea about charcoal sticks and see what I get. I have seen this finish on other antique machines on line years ago. There was no mention of it then beyond pictures. Does anyone know of any pictures of this type of finish taken from a closer distance?

Luddite
 

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
This finish is done with a Tam-O'Shanter stone from Ayr Scotland. This stone has qualities of none other and there is a bunch about online. I have done it but the stones are getting much harder to get. Here is an article about Holtzapffel #1636 where it states "Even the mounts for the touch bars are sculptural and impeccably finished in a swirling pattern with Water of Ayr stone." For photos of an amazing machine check out https://plumier.org/machines/holtzapffel-no-1636/

At the bottom of this article is a bit about the mine the stones came from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalmore_House_and_Estate#cite_ref-18
 
Last edited:

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
I seldom discard a tool, so I looked in my slip stone drawers and found the two "Scotch stones" I had bought circa 1965 from my watch tool supplier. Forgot what they were supposed to be good for. They are kind of soft, look like speckled slate and have circular saw kerfs on all sides.. I have a 1/2" and two 1/4" with labels. I can't see any evidence of use except a bevel worn on the end of the one with the dark label, which may have been bought with a batch of old tools. The end looks like it could have been rubbed against something and could in fact have been doing some snailing, I suppose.

Made in Scotland by the Water of Ayr and Tam O' Shanter Hone Works, Ltd.

Larry

DSC03121 small.JPG
DSC03123 small.JPG
 

Luddite

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Location
Michigan
Rivett608, Thanks much for posting the pictures. That is an amazing lathe. The close up picture of the "snailing" looks like it might have been done with two different techniques done one over the other. What do you think?

L Vanice. Thanks for the heads up on the stones. I'm almost sure I have one of these somewhere. It must have come in an ebay lot of watchmaker miscellaneous stuff. I'll have to search for it.

Thanks again guys.

Luddite
 








 
Top