Nothing but time on his hands

Nothing but time on his hands

Postby koimaster » August 1st 2017, 12:08pm

PITTSBURG — It was only a matter of time before Dale Larson would start repairing clocks on his own, given his hobby for working with intricate things with his hands, and his 13 years working as a locksmith in Oakland.

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With seven clocks in his living room alone, Dale’s specialty is working on grandfather clocks.
“I work on all clocks, but most of my work is on grandfather clocks,” the Pittsburg resident said. “I like the intricate workings of clocks; the precision that’s designed to keep up with time.”
It started out as a hobby for Larson, until it turned into a business venture in 2014, when he got his business license and made it official.
But it’s not about the money.

“I’ve always had an interest in small machines,” he said. “I’d see a clock in a thrift shop, fix it, then sell it on Craigslist. Most of the time I ended up keeping it, because once you put your love and care into it, you get attached!”

Born in Jamestown, N.D., Larson believes grandfather clocks – also called longcase clocks — got their name from a folk song in the late 1800s.
“If you Google ‘My Grandfather’s Clock’ song, you’ll find it,” said Larson. “Some people associate it with stopping the clock when a person dies too.”
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Known as horologist – a person who studies time or builds and repairs clocks – Larson said most of the small repair jobs cost about $120 and the price goes up from there, depending on the extent of work needed.

“Working from my house also keeps my costs down,” he said.
Since his company, Father Time Clockworks, is mobile, he can drive to a client’s house to pick up the clocks’ innards to take home and repair.
“I have jobs as far as Sacramento and Pacifica,” he said.

Larson can fix them all – antique or modern mechanical clocks, from floor clocks, anniversary clocks and mantels to wall clocks, such as the cuckoo clocks, and more.
“I even serviced a tower clock at a Catholic church in Oakland,” Larson said. “It’s on display in their lobby. The photo is on my Instagram fathertimeclockworks page.”
Even though it’s a niche business, he said there are those out there who want to restore their family’s heirloom timepiece.
“I had the pleasure to help move and set up a grandfather clock that reached its fourth-generation owner,” said Larson. “The owner said his great-grandfather bought it brand new. It was built in 1806 and it’s about 8 feet tall.”

Still in great condition and well-maintained, Larson said the clock still played its four traditional sounds to include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the traditional Westminster chime.
“A lot of times I feel like I’m working on something from history and I’m bringing it back to life,” he said.
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