Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Slow, Steady Stream

Fly rail repair

Now that Christmas and the New Year have come and gone I am settling into the winter work schedule. Summer is always so scattered with appointments, lectures, and events but winter is hunkering down time. It’s usually a slow, steady stream of miscellaneous repairs in solitude. It’s also when I do my research and writing. I look forward to this time of year. Being self-employed, it’s the closest thing I get to a steady schedule.

Refinished desk

Plant stand ring fracture

 New bun foot turned on my pole lathe

Turned a new bun foot for a china cabinet. The cabinet's bottom was sagging over the years so the long expanse needed some more support. Been working on my turning skills. I still rely on sandpaper for cleanup and wish I was more efficient. We'll get this pole lathe thing figured out one of these days.

Lots of gluing as well

  New foot installed
 Repairing worn drawers

 A sweet little desk on frame that needed structural work.

I love this work. Building is fun but there is a deep satisfaction that comes with restoring a 200 year old artifact. (A kind I don't get from building.) I love the variety of skills involved in conservation work. One minute you are sleuthing around for evidence of construction methodology, the next you are testing the solubility of an undesirable film on a historic surface, and then you find yourself planing flush a grafted component. This is a good job for someone as divergently interested as myself. I have a hard time doing one thing for a long time.


  1. Is that a spot of glue attempting to bridge a gap from a previous failed repair on the plant stand?
    How often do you tell a client that there is no longer enough there there for a repair?

    1. Yes, it is. The piece was missing by the time I saw it. In this case, the top of the ring was still there so I still had about 50% of the surface area for gluing. I used epoxy and filled the lost area with epoxy putty to bridge the structural gap. Not ideal but once inpainted, this repair made the stand functional again.
      There is almost never a piece I turn away because it's not repairable. Worst case, I scarf on new wood or make entire replacement component. More often it's the monetary investment required that is prohibitive.