Robert B. Materne specializes in making reproduction New England grandfather clocks, mantle clocks, and furniture, sometimes known as "reproduction antiques." He focuses on those made in the period from the mid 1700’s to the mid 1800’s. Materne finds this time to be fascinating because it marks the beginning of the China trade, the war for independence, the period of exploration in our own country to the beginning of the industrial age. During this period craftsmen were beginning to come up with their own designs instead of echoing the styles of England. In addition, the War of 1812 made importing materials from Europe difficult. All of these events affected the designs, manufacturing and marketing of grandfather clocks and furniture of those times and Materne's work as well.
"I use traditional joinery techniques, often using tools similar to those found in woodshops two hundred years ago," noted Materne. "Many of my tools are antiques. For my finishes I use shellac, buying the flakes and mixing them myself. I even use the same glues whenever possible."
Materne's goal in making his clock and furniture is to be as accurate as possible in capturing the history, the techniques, and sensitivity to the different woods used in crafting the originals. He does not aim to make "fakes" but makes replicas. He believes that selecting one of his clocks is the same as if you were picking up your new grandfather clock in the 1700’.
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