About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

F is for Finishing-touches - S.A.E. tray, part 2

Right, so, we left it drying...after about 20 mins./half-an-hour it's time for the more radical element of this restoration, as we are now going to add 'stuff' which will forever change it. Up until now it's just been cleaning/shaping. if you want to preserve the item 'as is', this next step is not for you.

Taking gummed paper parcel/book binders tape, cut lengths to cover all tares, piercing holes creases and other structural blemishes (sometimes I will reinforce the whole length of fold-lines), in this instance I've just run a strip down the feeder-holes for the figures, and there were a couple of small tares - not photographed. Soak the paper on the gummed side (really wet it with a slow tap, licking it won't work, it'll dry-out and come off in a month or two), and place carefully where you want it, then dab it down with kitchen paper, getting the excess water off at the same time. Dab only, if you stroke across it while it is still very wet, it will slide and fold and you'll have to start again while the restored card gets wetter and wetter!

Because - up to this point - both this and the earlier post represent about 45 minutes in real time this afternoon, the iron is still warm, so dry everything off with it. Again; both-siding it.

Note: to prevent the paper leading to curling, days or weeks in the future (or when you iron and it dries-out quickly) you NEED to do two layers, crossing the tape, which you will see has a natural tendency to curl one way, wet or dry. If doing tiny mends, you will need to mark them with tiny pencil marks which can be rubbed/erased after it's all dry.

Once everything is dry - properly cheek-test dry - cut out any pieces that overlap the product, that cover a 'meant' hole - as here - or that are blocking a cut line (when you reinforce the torn end flaps, of a box for instance, its best to cover the flap, side and main panel with large pieces of paper tape overlapping onto the work surface, and then trim everything back afterward (in the past I've stuck the whole lot to a piece of paper underneath to hold it all together, and then when you trim the tape the paper falls away).

The reason for the end-grain being useful now comes into play, trimming without damaging the original, especially on something as complicated as these feeder-holes, is best done on a very smooth polished surface (stone cutting board if you have one) or an end-grain board, or the sort of thick card you get under a note-pad. If you use a long-grain work table, it can grip the tip of the blade (always use a very fine blade for this job - I use a Swan Morton No. 3 handle with size 11 blade) and carry it into the product in a millisecond, if you're not very careful - and I'm not!

Last would be to replace any clear panels (Airfix or Matchbox boxes for instance) by cutting a piece of the correct material bigger than needed, gluing with a contact adhesive, waiting until both surfaces were dry, then lining up the clear sheet, carefully dropping one corner in and then working across on the diagonal to the far corner, keeping everything smooth. Best thing is to use a plastic scraper or ruler to 'draw' the sheet across/down onto the product.

Finally you can re-fold/re-build the box/card/container, at this stage old card will crack down the fold-lines, or existing flaps of the surface material (most cardboard's are ply-laminates) which were on the outside and haven't benefited from the work on the interior/reverse will pop up. These are best fixed by a little bleeding in of a thin superglue and then smoothing down with a whetted finger, careful not to stick yourself to your beautiful new/old box! There's a knack to this, if you daren't try, use an accelerator pen instead, holding the piece to be clued with the fine point of your knife or a pin or toothpick.

The rubber band is due to the fact that while I was fixing the tiny flap in the photo, the opposite corner ripped (not cheek-test dry enough!) and I had to glue it, or start again! Nightmare! But these things happen when you're restoring 40 year + paper products!

Larger cracks will probably/should have had gummed paper applied to the inside, so will be less problematical and can have white/wood-glue bled into them, which will soak in and dry with less marking...too much super glue, or resorting to the accelerator pen will result in a permanent matt white bloom, given the thing was all but wrecked earlier, it's a small price in my book, but you may think differently. The white glue option at this point will require an overnight drying.

The finished tray. The figures needed to be placed-in as I was reconstructing, in fact set 20-s should be Morocco Infantry 1954 Standing, but someone else got that lot at the auction, so if you have the troops, but a Highlander box (17-s, Scottish Infantry 1914 standing) I'll swap Yah! You would have bought them from the 'Short Equator'.

If these two posts have been useful - albeit long winded - let me know and I'll try and do others in the same vein. The whole process including photographing took an hour or so. it's taken half the night to process the photo's and write it up!!

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