— The restorations —
Restoration is a theme that constantly blows up a lot of dust within the collector's world.
It's often a subjective theme where everybody has his own say about it.
The best restoration is no restoration, whether the subject is in mind condition, or if you have no means to tackle the restoration.
It can be sometimes very wise to wait for the necessary experience to be learned, or you go to an experianced restorer.
Personally, I find restoration the most fun in collecting, but sometimes it also can be the most nerve wracking aspect of collecting.
My subjective view on restoration consists of two parts.
The subject needs to be in working order, and perhaps the most difficult in restoring is to make it visualy authentic.
Often I see restorations that are carried out with the best intentions, but where was more bad done, than good.
I recommend anyone who wants to get into restoration, collect as much information as possible on the subject.
You can use books, the internet, forums (you'll find some good links to forums in the topic "links") and in the future more and more tips and photos will appear on this website.
Also not always the right materials stil are available.
Many lacquers and other products are simply no longer commercially available.
It cost me years to find some paints, or to learn forgotten techniques, it's still a process that grows on a daily base.
Don't be shy to ask for help from experienced people, my experience is that many are willing to help you, and will advise as well as they can.
I also recommend beginners, start with simple, mass produced, cheap models.
Of course, the tools and materials you have at your disposal, are of great importance in the success of a restoration.
For missing parts you have two options.
Or you look out for the original missing part, or you're making a replica.
Of course, original is always the best option.
However, depending on the model, the more rare the machine is, the quicker you have to turn to making replicas.
Golden rule is, you always make the replica to fit the original and not the other way arround.
All too often I see forced screw threads, where they wanted to squeeze in parts that are not made for it.
In addition, the components of modern steam manufacturers are not suitble to fit on 100 year old machines, and it will totally devalues the authenticity of the subject.
A good replica, is a replica that can be replaced at any time, once the original is found.
How do you work technically?
If you want to run the steam engine, it's sometimes essential that drastic repairs need to be done to let it run.
But before such a repair takes place, you first need to analise the natur of the defect, every defect is just a bit diffrent.
It can sometimes be that, with a lot of heartache, that an original part needs to be distroied, to carry out a restoration.
But this always should be your last option.
In addition to the technical part, it is the optically restoration, perhaps the hardest part of the restoration.
The value of original paint and patina is of great importance to the value of the subject.
You must always keep in mind that what's gone never returns.
A machine that's 100 years old, has what you can call a soul, it's a witness of time, sometimes bearing the traces of facts from history,
In short, as a restorator, you want to preserve this as much as possible.
A scratch, spot, used marks, small defects are aesthetically normal and belong to the history of the subject.
How to restore a subject is completely different from subject to subject, and asks an artistic insight of the restorator, and is sometimes open issue to many discutions.
Personally, I think an important rule is that antiques must remain antique, it certainly does not look like it came out of the factory yesterday.
A golden tip, look for pictures of a mind model, and mirror your restoration to that as much as possible.
For all who want to restore, I wish you a lot of success, but always over think what you want to do.