Friday, April 20, 2012

In which another "simple" project escalates rapidly ...

If you read "l'histoire du sac" (there is an update to this post, btw), you understand by now that no project I decide to undertake *ever* truly remains "simple".

Witness, Exhibit "B";

Our house is, by local standards, rather old. In fact, she turns 100 this year. She came complete with crystal door knobs and brass "backplates" (a fancy technical term I learned while doing the, um, 'research' for this post). Two of the doors have rather ornate backplates, the rest are all very utilitarian.

Here is a photo of one of the decorative backplates, complete with probably 60 years' worth of paint:

A backplate got damaged about 3 months after we moved in. Naturally, it was one of the ornate ones (Murphy's Law ain't got nothing on my four boys).

Equally as commonplace, we did nothing about it for two years. I recently came across the damaged backplate (which had not been on the door since getting damaged- heck, it hadn't been on the door when it got damaged!), and, fueled by my successful (albeit roundabout) restoration of the WWII-era messenger bag, my determination to attend to it was renewed.

So, I first resolved to see if I could find a replacement plate at a local antiques shop where I had previously seen backplates available for purchase, The Old House Revival Company.

And, naturally, I neglected to bring the blinking plate with me (although I had, at least, had the presence of mind to observe that the detail work on it included a fleur de lis).

The staff there were very eager to help me figure out my options once I had exhausted their considerable collection of brass backplates. My son, aka "Sir Squeaksalot", was also very eager to make me part with my money by deciding he really, really liked an antique stereo on display there. Really liked it. Was brave enough to ask a salesperson to ask how much it was*, liked it

*darn it, that technique almost always works on his siblings!!! Once Mum puts the onus on them to ask for details about something they really want, they usually back down.

Turns out, they were planning on putting the stereo into a garage sale, and were only going to be asking $25 for it. His birthday is coming up in just over two weeks- I do believe I see an antique stereo in my future.

But I digress. As helpful as they were, Old House Revival didn't have the backplate I needed. They did remind me, however, that brass is fairly maleable, and I might be able to straighten out the kink without it breaking ...


A few days later, I went over to see the lovely ladies at Vintage Veruca. They were extremely busy, getting ready for their own garage sale, but they were no less helpful than the folks at OHR.

Funnily enough, once they had confirmed that they did not, in fact, have a backplate to match mine (I had since put the darned thing into my bag), one of the ladies told me she used to work at OHR, and they were likely the best place to check for backplates ...

She also affirmed what the folks at OHR had said about being able to straighten out the kink in my existing backplate. In addition, she told me I could strip the paint off the backplate by placing it in extremely hot (read: boiling!) water for ten to fifteen minutes and then peel or scrape it off.

You can probably see where this is going ...

Yup. I did. First of all, I managed to straighten out the kink in the backplate enough to make it once more functional.

Secondly ... well, how about I show you some photos?

Then, after removing all six thousand** layers of paint from the two backplates, just for kicks, I decided to polish them.

(** this may be a slight exaggeration)

 Note the presence of my "assistant" in this endeavour, quite literally placing her mark.

At this point, I might as well restore the other two plates, too- after all, it's a straightforward and simple project, right? ;-)

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