New methods used on old clock

Restoration of a historic Dunedin clock has involved the use of modern materials, as those behind the project work to make sure it survives into the future.

A clear epoxy resin has bridged the gaps left by more than 100 years of corrosion on the Port Chalmers Iona Church clock face Work on the Historic Places Trust category 1-rated Presbyterian church started last year after years of planning and fundraising, and the clock face restoration is one of the last parts of the project's first stage.

Building began on the church in 1871-72, and the clock was installed about 1885.

The four cast-iron faces were removed for refurbishment - each face is in two pieces - and those eight half-faces, each weighing about 60kg, are at Zeal Steel in Dunedin.

Zeal Steel owner Lawrie Forbes said 32 minute graduations, four ''V'' and three ''X' numerals needed the resin fix.

Wooden moulds were developed by Dunedin company Abrasive Concepts to hold the resin in place while it dried.

The resin would be painted black, like the rest of the clock face.

''You'll never know,'' Mr Forbes said.

The use of the resin meant no drilling or welding on the historic clock.

As well, it was ''reversible'', and could be removed in future if better techniques became viable.

Mr Forbes said there were no instructions or manuals for such a job, and methods had to be developed to suit requirements.

The face could not be sand blasted, because of concerns salt built up over the years would be blasted further into the cast-iron.

The faces had been treated with a product to stop further corrosion, as part of work that had taken about three months.

They would be finished in a week or so, before work started on replacing stained glass.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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