Freedom of Choice
Freedom of Choice / Screwed by Choice
By Dale Sardeson, MA Conservation Studies specialising in Clocks
When I tell people what I do, some of the most common responses
include something along the lines of "I can't imagine working on
such tiny parts" or "You must have to be so accurate". People seem
to imagine a hunched, wizard-like character with multiple levels of
magnification attached to his face, delicately fettling up a tiny
wheel or spring. Don't get me wrong, that sort of thing is very
often part of the process; but for me, the most difficult part of
being a clock conservator, the things that I go over and over in
the shower, the bit that I rehearse in my head and question before
and after I've done it is what happens before I even take any tools
out of my workbench drawer - the decision-making process.
Deciding which course of treatment to take on an object can be a near-impossible task, and even after I've finished working on a clock and it's ticking away happily on a test stand, I'll still be wondering if there was something I should have done slightly differently. I'm sure anyone who works in any conservation specialism can identify, but for anyone who thinks I sound a bit neurotic, you're probably right, but let me give you an example from a recent project to illustrate what I mean.