An Ebonised Clock Bracket

Most people familiar with bracket clocks will probably only have ever seen them sitting on tables or mantelpieces, but not surprisingly really, bracket clocks were originally designed to be placed on wall brackets.

Like the protective leather cases of carriage clocks, clock brackets were often lost or disposed of when the clocks were fashionably moved onto tables and mantelpieces. Genuine brackets are now quite rare.

A customer had a fine eighteenth-century ebonised (stained mahogany in this case) bracket clock which had unfortunately become separated from its bracket. My brief was to make a commensurate bracket and match the colour to the clock case.

I have made many wall brackets over the years and have a number of drawings and patterns taken from originals that have passed through my hands along with drawings that were taken from brackets in private collections too.

With original ebonised brackets, the deep opaque finish obviously obscured the grain and therefore the smaller mouldings were often off-cuts of different species of wood left over from other cabinetwork. As can be seen, this bracket was built-up from different varieties of timber and leftover clock mouldings.

The assembled bracket ready for ebonising.

As anyone with experience in colouring can attest, black is one of the most difficult colours to match (I know, black – and white – aren’t strictly colours). There are warm blacks, cool blacks and everything in between, and matching an antique black with its patina is even more challenging.

It may not be readily understood, but this colour matching exercise was more than a little complex, however, the majority of the finish was bodied up easily enough with only the final hue requiring exactness.

The finished bracket with clock in situ.

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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