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Re-purposing a Box—Part 4, Hardware

Some of the oldest boxes extant are held together with only wood, or perhaps with a few nails. By the 19th century, however, few of them were produced without decorative brass hardware. By the early 1900s—when our box was made—the Arts & Crafts movement put an emphasis on plain, simple parts made of copper, brass, […]

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Re-purposing a Box—Part 3, Exterior Finish

After our initial assessment and de-construction, the next step in our process is to look after the exterior finish. In the case of this box, the finish is in quite good condition, so our efforts will be minimal. 1. The Original Finish In our last post, we talked a little about how to use intact […]

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Re-purposing a Box—Part 2, Deconstruction

The first step in working on a piece—like this rather forlorn, century-old box—is a good assessment. Sometimes this requires nothing more than our five senses and experience. 1. Assessment In this case, we know right away that the interior is irredeemable. The edges are quite thread-bare, and the cloth smells strongly of mice. In our […]

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Re-purposing a Box—Part 1

One of the things we enjoy about restoration and conservation is that sometimes you come into an artifact that is sad and forlorn; whether it be due to damage, humility, or other reasons, there is no reason to conserve it, and it just isn’t sensible to do a full restoration. However, that doesn’t mean that […]

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Breakdown of a 1946 Yard-o-Led Pencil

We recently had a batch of vintage Yard-o-led propelling pencils sent to us for repair and restoration. One in particular was such an excellent example of what makes these pencils so outstanding that we thought we would share it with all of you. Since Samson Mordan patented the first helically-driven propelling pencil in 1832, not […]

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On Hide Glue

With the sheer number of adhesives peering at us from every hardware store’s shelves, it is hard to believe that most glues seen on antiques fall into only one category: animal. Hide glues were used extensively, and almost exclusively, until the mid-twentieth century, when aliphatic resin glues were developed. Even today, with a plethora of […]

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