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Repairs and modifications
Sometimes people ask me to make a modification, or repair, some artefact or piece of furniture that needs attention. This doesn't have to be something I have made - if it's made of wood I will often be able to fix it.
Here are a couple of examples:
Well there I was, standing in a the courtyard of a medieval manor house like you do, and this knight in shining armour comes up to me. "Lowly carpenter" he says "wilt thou assist me?" OK he didn't actually talk like that, he was a really nice chap. Still he was dressed in armour, which seemed appropriate at the time.
Turns out he has a folding oak stand that he puts his saddle on when it's not on the horse. It was made for him by a proper medieval furniture maker, but he wanted to get the leather hinges replaced with something more sturdy. So I took it to have a look at.
It was a nice looking piece of work. Very simple in construction, but elegant in its simplicity. The oak was nice clean straight-grained and solid English oak. Glued and probably dowelled in the four corners and held together, ostensibly at least, by very authentic-looking hand wrought iron "rosehead" nails. The two square frames were hinged for easy transport, with two stout pieces of leather fixed with iron or steel tacks. This is where the issue was, because the leather had become quite supple and had a tendency to flex which had the effect of easing the pins out, making the whole things rather unstable (no pun intended).
Carefully, I took off the leather hinges and the tacks.
I found a pair of suitable old iron hinges, that looked the part when stressed and aged. I did not want to fix these hinges on with steel tacks, and certainly not with moderns screws, so I found some hand-wrought iron rosehead nails that looked quite the part. If I was being extremely picky, they are not exactly the same as the existing rosehead nails, but they are pretty close, and as my old dad would have said "a blind man would be glad to see them" when it was all assembled.
I think it looks quite acceptable, and it is certainly stronger and less wobbly than when I got it.. Here it is after a good clean up and re-waxing all the wood.
And then there was the time when I talked to this lovely lady, who is seen here using a table I made for her:
The table has a loose top, with two grooved cross-pieces which fit snugly onto the two trestles. Snugly, yes. Immovably? No. It seems that unless the table is precisely level- hard to guarantee on a grassy field where she normally used it - the top tends to slowly slip backwards or forwards, sliding along the waxed grooves. Oops. A little disconcerting.
Firstly I fixed a small block of oak under the tabletop, in the cross-rail grooves.
Then a corresponding notch in the top rail of the trestles:
Which prevents the table sliding back and forth. Once again, a thorough clean up and re-wax, and we are good to go.
Let me know if you have something that needs a dose of looking at. My email is below, or send me a message via the contact page.