Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heavenly Repair

My antique restoration guy dropped another small repair off in the shop. He finds this broken junk in the dusty corners of Europe and brings them back for repair and resale here in the states. Apparently religious items have their own special export classification and are taxed accordingly. Instead of calling this item a religious item he lists things like this as "advertising" I got a kick out of that one.

If I do a bad job on this repair I'm going to mechanics hell. In mechanics hell everything is broken, dull and overheated. You cant find any tools and all your co-workers are real whack jobs. The machines need repairs every time you use them and nobody has cleaned them for an eternity.
Here is the job. If you look closely you can see a couple of the floral features got snapped off from dropping or during shipment. One is missing from the upper section and another is missing on the opposite side near the base.
The dealer had a decent idea as to how to fix it. I was thinking about how I might copy one of the floral features to replace the missing two. His idea was to remove one from the bottom and add it back at the top. His thinking was the upper part is more important visually than the bit near the base. I had to agree partly because it would have been a pain to make a new one on the cheap.
Here is where the replacement is coming from. All I need now is my handy amputation saw......
I need to cut the segment off so there is enough to make up for the lost piece and not come up short.
Just propping the item up to work on it is important. I need to hold on to it so the work can be done, but I don't want to introduce any new damage or problems that will have to be corrected. Preserve existing features and finishes as long as possible. This work was all done with hand tools. My only compromise was a battery powered Dremel that I tried to use to blend the stump of the amputation with. It turned out that a file worked better.
The tape is to protect the rest of the cross from any bozo slips or trips. The broken end of the floral needed to be flattened and cleaned up to make a strong joint with the graft. I decided to use a peg or dowel to strengthen the joint. My original plan was just to solder the two parts together but on closer inspection there was not enough joint area to make a sturdy soldered connection.
Using a pin vise I tapped both halves of the joint 0-80 to accept a set screw. The set screw will act as my dowel to fixture the joint and add strength.
Tapped and ready for soldering. The clocking of the joint wasn't a problem with the tiny screw. I was able to turn the assembly into alignment without over or under tightening the joint.
Trial assembly. I need to clean everything well just prior to soldering. Alignment looks good and there is a little room for the solder to get into the joint.
After the soldering the cleaned up joint really stands out. Unfortunately the nice patina needs to be removed to make a decent solder joint but stands out like a smashed thumb. I draw the line on any restorations at re-patinizing. To me this is where deception starts to enter the discussion.
The job came out well. The eye does not even focus on the lower section. The upper section definitely looks better and symmetrical.  Hopefully the bosses up in the front office think its serviceable.

By the way. If you go to machinist heaven all the tools are sharp and in the right place. The machines are pristine and self cleaning and use the finest espresso or single malt scotch as coolant. The tool crib has every tool ever invented in duplicate. All your co-workers are angels and bring homemade gourmet snacks in everyday and your feet never hurt from standing on concrete all day long because your in the clouds.

Thanks for looking.

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