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ISSUE ONE NOV 2011

Restoring Your Antique Box

A restoration project received from Australia. An unusual box housing silver salt dishes.

Jackdaw Boxes

Somerset

UK

www.jackdawboxes.co.uk


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Issue One November 2011

CONTENTS

• Developing a Client Brief

Page

6

• Hinges

Page

8

• Writing Slopes

Page

14

• Heirlooms and Memory Boxes

Page 16

• Boxes for the 21st Century

Page 17

• The Workshop

Page 18

http://www.jackdawboxes.co.uk

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Jackdaw Boxes

Welcome to Jackdaw Boxes

W

e restore and sell unique and antique wooden boxes that make great gifts for special occasions: Christmas, anniversaries, marriages, graduations, etc.

In this edition you will find out about our re-furbishing service. You may have a box which you would like re-furbished. We will work with you to realise your aspirations for it. What follows are examples which will indicate our approach and results for some of our clients.

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Issue One November 2011

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Jackdaw Boxes

Developing a Client Brief

M

ost of our customers get in touch with us by phone or e-mail because they live in another part of the UK or abroad. We usually request they e-mail photos of the box along with a brief description as to what they feel needs doing. This gives us an initial insight as to the box’s condition, along with thoughts for its restoration. Through discussions we develop a client brief. From this we are able to arrive at an estimate of costs, which will include labour, materials and return carriage. Sometimes, because it is convenient, clients contact us to arrange a visit to our workshop, when we can go through the same process. Opposite you will find an example of a brief developed for one client, with typical costings. When we have agreed the work on any box, we ask the owner to send us their box by post or courier. We may make new suggestions once we have the box but we don’t go ahead until any amendments are confirmed. If anything unforeseen arises as work progresses, we get in touch to discuss ways ahead.

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Issue One November 2011

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Hinges

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ll moving parts wear and so it is with boxes. We work on many boxes where the hinging is missing, broken or loose. Sometimes the existing hinging can be refurbished or replaced, but we do have our own approach for dealing with hinging as it applies to writing slopes.

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The shell-shaped box in the photo - made to hold silver salt dishes and spoons manufactured by Thomas Hayes of Birmingham in 1894- was refurbished for a client in Australia. Oxidation and its subsequent effects on the original iron pins, used for fixing the hinge, had resulted in the splitting of the wood at this important point. The iron pins were extracted, the timber cleaned and glued, and new miniature brass screws inserted.

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Jackdaw Boxes

Writing Slopes M

any clients contact us regarding old writing slopes. Frequently the hinging mechanism has failed. The original surface of the slope – baize, leather or paper, sometimes embossed - has worn through and deteriorated where it acts as the hinging for the slopes. The slopes themselves have often become detached from the box, and sometimes have been lost altogether.

New slopes can be made when the originals have been lost. We can make new slopes if they are missing, and can line the box with hand-made papers to enhance any shabby interior. Sometimes lining is a good solution if decades of wear and tear have resulted in an interior that has cracks or is very rough. We can send samples of the leather, paper, stringing or veneers by post before we start, so any customer can be confident of the finished look.

One of our solutions is to introduce small brass hinges in place of the leather or the fabric hinge. We feel this approach gives a longer life to the slope and signifies that a material change has been made because it is necessary to the future life of the box. This approach will usually also incorporate the addition of a line of patterned inlay – stringing - across the centre to frame the leather. We feel that this only serves to enliven the box. We also tend to replace the slope surface with leather, unless the original leather or paper is in good condition, in which case it is retained. New leather also tends to add to the enlivenment of an old box, and enhances its tactile quality. Our leathers are sourced locally from our home area of Yeovil, with a leatherindustry tradition for the past two centuries.

If the original slope covering is retained, but easier lifting of the slopes is required, we can introduce hinges, and a small brass knob or leather tab for lifting. Old retained surfaces can be cleaned and refreshed.

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Issue One November 2011

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Jackdaw Boxes

Heirlooms and Memory Boxes

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ou may want to pass your box on to a family member or give it as a gift on a special occasion. Many of our customers have had exactly this in mind when they contact us. They have had an old box which was a parent’s or grandparent’s and now wish to revive and restore it, ready to pass on to a new owner. The following helps to illustrate this sort of approach.

This box was restored for a young girl whose mother had recently died. The father contacted us and described how he would like an old family box restored to create a memory box for his daughter. In this case the box required both structural and veneer work, a new mother of pearl keyhole surround, new hinges, new leather and complete interior re-furbishment. The paper in the base of the box is marbled with gold – a bit of sparkle to lift the interior. Inside the lid we put a carrot leaf paper as a contrast to the deep pink leather, and to tie in with the veneer.

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Issue One November 2011

from Manchester had his box Boxes for the 21st Aclient restored. He uses it for his calligraphy pens. Sometime later, and quite unexpectedly, he Century sent us the photograph below. He wanted to let

us know that not only was the box serving its purpose well, but that the first letter sent from it was to ask the father of his fiance, for her hand in marriage. This is that very letter. For privacy reasons we have inserted a fictitious name and address.

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e sometimes get enquiries for boxes to hold specific items. This customer wanted a box to hold some family silver spoons. We customised a mid 19th century figured Walnut decanter box to their specification. Three small veneered drawers were introduced and then lined with aubergine/gold marbled and golden carrot leaf papers. Beneath the drawers there is a hidden compartment. The exterior was cleaned and waxed, the brass work polished. The photographs were sent to us by the customer. Thus an old box has a new life and function used again on a regular basis.

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The Workshop

We work from a purpose-built workshop. Once completed, boxes for sale are photographed and added to our on-line shop. Our old cottage does indeed have a ‘box room’ where they are stored.

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www.jackdawboxes.co.uk YouTube – Restoring an antique box http://youtu.be/27-bpWOHHCQ www.jackdawboxes.wordpress.com Digital magazines by Storey Studio: Visit: http://www.click2read.co.uk 19


Restoring Your Antique Box