2018 got off to the usual start with some repairs. It is usually claret jugs or decanters before Christmas with people wanting to get their Christmas lunch table ready and everything else comes after. This year was no exception, although the claret jugs were a bit thin on the ground.
The two pieces so far are a worthless Britannia metal bottle frame and a 1930’s five light Corinthian candelabra.
First the Britannia Metal frame:
This is going to cost more to repair than it is worth in economic terms. The owner knows this but still wants it repaired. It is in quite a bad way and is going to take all our skills to repair. The bowls are suffering from metal fatigue which is obvious with the numerous cracks. These cracks will need to be soldered using a very low temperature solder. We will have to make this solder by alloying a high percentage of tin to some lead and rolling it into usable rods. The addition of tin will lower its melting point. Once the piece is all back together again and the cracks repaired the bowls can be gently rounded up.
Co-incidentally this item is from a local stately home where I had the pleasure to do some amateur archeological work as a teenager many years ago. The organizer Ken Marshall was undertaking a survey on Essex moated houses some of which had not survived. I and a team of youngsters from the Essex field club were the helpers.
Second the Silver Candelabra:
This is owned by a local freemason’s lodge which has several of them apparently. Being a rather poorly made palladium style piece made in the 1930’s in Sheffield it is not made for the regular use it has received and consequently is in rather poor condition. It has been made down to a budget from stampings and poorly assembled. It mainly needs a new finial making for the centre section. This would have been reasonably straight forward until it fell out of the car which delivered it. It now also has a broken arm as well.
Fortunately the workshop is not too busy at present so a slow and careful start can be made. This is by far the best philosophy with jobs of this nature which can often go from bad to worse if any attempt is made to rush the process.