A Hobby Can Make Time Interesting

By Don Zollner

Taking up a new hobby in retirement years can give a person satisfaction and often provides service to others. My clock restoration hobby began with a happenstance project in the JKV Hobby/Fix-it Shop. A clock that had been brought in for repair had languished for days because no one could figure out how to remove the clock lens to begin repair. I agreed to take the clock home to work on it. After some consultation with another resident clock owner, I was able to do the disassembly and repair the clock. The clock was returned, to the delight of the owner, looking like new with a replaced motor and new batteries. Since that first restoration four years ago, I have repaired or restored more than 25 clocks in my small home workshop.

My continuing personal “project clock” is the restoration and conversion of an old derelict Hamilton Grandfather Clock, found and rescued from a resale shop in Ft. Meyers, Florida. This clock made an arduous trip home and has since undergone a complete conversion from an original weight-driven mechanical clock, with a pendulum and Westminster Chimes, to an all battery-operated clock with simulated mechanical features. This clock is now in its final stage of incorporating the Westminster Chimes and restarting the completed clock. The clock will also have a unique internal lighting feature, highlighting the static weights and the movement of the pendulum.

I now have many new friends whose clocks have become my old friends since I have repaired or restored the clocks to new life. Another reality of clock restoration is that you also become a collector of clocks. Currently we have more than 30 working clocks in our John Knox Village home.

Our daughter, Kristen, who lives nearby helped contribute to her parents’ clock collection. She called one day to tell me that she had “some” clocks that didn’t sell at an estate sale, and would I like to have them for spare parts or whatever? Of course I said yes, and she brought over seven, badly deteriorated, old clocks (obviously not one of them worked). All of these have since been put back in working order, and some have become favored pieces in our personal clock collection.

Needless to say, I do not need referrals; I only need more space!