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Ruby Lane's Past Times Newsletter for July 2006
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Caring For Your Wooden Antiques by Andrew Puckering of Puckering's
- July Editor's Pick: Now That School's Out For Many...
- Share Past Times with A Friend
CARING FOR YOUR WOODEN ANTIQUES BY ANDREW PUCKERING OF PUCKERING'S
Beautiful old wooden objects glow with a warmth that is unique and cannot be bought. Looking after your antiques, ensuring that they are displayed, stored and handled correctly is essential to preserving them for generations to come. Here are some tips:
* Boxes and other wooden antiques should be dusted very lightly with a soft dry brush or small dust rag. If using any kind of soft cloth or dust rag (cheesecloth is excellent), care should be taken not to snag pieces of veneer or any kind of inlay.
* Never use anything with a rough texture, avoiding feather dusters, as they can scratch the surface.
* The best way to protect the finish of your wood is to use top-quality beeswax; I find the best ones to be English. I do also favor an American Natural Bees Wax spray for day-to-day cleaning. Never use silicone based sprays to clean as these will leave a film that is extremely hard to remove.
* After using a wax paste product, the wood should be buffed to a shine with another lint-free cloth. Use wax sparingly, a good shine comes from rubbing rather than lots of layers of wax.
* If any piece of veneer or inlay comes loose, do keep it safe until you are ready to go to a restorer. These tiny pieces are irreplaceable and will make life so much easier if a repair is required.
* For a simple re-attachment, follow these tips: Old glue can be carefully removed with a scalpel or razor blade. Don't dig at the glue but brush away any residue present on both parts. Use traditional animal glue on the loose part in your hand, apply in the middle to avoid excess oozing from the sides of the repair, any seeping glue should be immediately removed. Leave for 24 hours and use a beeswax polish to finish.
* Many wooden objects are enhanced with metal knobs, ornamentations, or even inlays. Never use a metal cleaner to clean these parts, as the wood finish around these areas will be damaged. A gentle and regular rub with a clean soft cloth will keep them shining.
* If your home can become especially dry in winter, it is well worth investing in a humidifier. Free-standing units can be purchased inexpensively these days from your local hardware store. Alternatively, you can have an integrated system fitted to your central air-conditioning system. Try to avoid extremes in temperature and make sure your wooden heirlooms do not dry out or equally, do not become too damp.
Finally, the most important thing ... sit back and enjoy the beauty of antique wood - there's nothing like it.
We invite you to visit Andrew's shop: Puckering's.
JULY EDITOR'S PICK: NOW THAT SCHOOL'S OUT FOR MANY...
The American Puritans of the 1600's felt children should never be left to their own devices and that an education was only ever useful for assistance in molding a righteous child. Basic instruction in letters was therefore entirely left up to parents and the ecclesiastic pursuits of the church. But, over time, communities came to the consensus that other people's children were getting entirely our of hand. Other than accusations that they had a lack of respect for authority and held an impious attitude in public, the children of early America were also simultaneously described as being intolerably slothful and altogether too exuberant in nature.
Unfortunately, many were functionally illiterate, as well. A statute of 1642 spoke of the ".....great neglect in many parents and Masters in training up their children in learning and labor." In 1647 Massachusetts began the long process of establishing a public education system. Towns of more than 50 families were required to support a grammar school sufficient in quality to prepare boys for college. In taking these steps the Puritans gradually usurped the failed discipline of indulgent family units and made education the function of the local school, backed by law. Other states eventually followed suit and a public education system aimed at all of America's children came into being.
Less than 200 years later, by 1820, foreign travelers to American towns noted the differences in the roles and attitudes of children here, in comparison to the way the same age groups tended to comport themselves back home. Significant differences were sometimes acknowledged, but whether or not the differences were to be appreciated or abhorred seemed open to the very personal interpretation of the visiting observer.
Even after the public school system had become an established part of American life, parents sought other means for personally ushering their children's progress along. ABC and Nursery Rhyme dishes and other whimsically decorated tableware for youth imported from the busy pottery district of Staffordshire, England, and elsewhere, were popular learning aids. As Rewards of Merit or simply as silent tutors, it was through such useful instruments a loving teacher or parent might provide for childhood enlightenment, and enhance the possibility for future success in life.
Picture attributed to Childhood Antiques.
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