Chess Set Restoration - Repairing Cracks in Ebony

chessspy1

Tx Greg,

I'll look it up

A

jimarnoldchess

...coming in late on this thread...rather than using superglue, I use different time set epoxies.  There's a fast set mixture which dries in a minute or two, a medium set mixture which sets up in about 5 minutes and a third which sets up in about 15 minutes.  I have mostly used the 5 min type in my restoration work.  The 'dust' needs to be thoroughly mixed, I've used African Blackwood, Ebony, and even Wenge at times.  Once the dust is mixed (and 'wet') you can get an idea of the color match to the cracked piece and adjust if necessary

chessspy1

 Hi Jim,

That is interesting tx.

BTW, I see you are in NC, me too. Anywhere near Asheville?

Adding to my previous posts about using superglue, particularly the very thin type which can run everywhere. I apply it from a blob on a card with a toothpick.

jimarnoldchess

Hey Allan,

How goes it?  card and toothpick is how I do it too, with the epoxy I make a 'wet 'paste...I think the epoxy method may require more sanding...I am going to try the superglue next time and see how it goes  Are you still running classes?  I live about an hour West of Winston-Salem...guessing about two, two and a half hours from you, but I'm closing on my house in a couple weeks.  Getting a boat and moving back to Florida...cutting back work to 4 months a year and sailing and scuba diving and taking it easy the rest of the year...ha!, at least that's the plan.

IpswichMatt
chessspy1 wrote:

and fill the gap with a wedge of the same type of wood, be it ebony, box or some other wood (rosewood for example) and then stain to match.

 

Hi Alan, have you got any tips on how to colour boxwood to match old boxwood? I'm talking about when you've glued on a small piece of boxwood to replace - for example - part of the Queen's crown, and you've shaped it to match. The new bit of boxwood is then likely to be paler than the rest of the piece, and presumably the Nitric Acid technique is not a good idea since you only want to affect the new bit, not the whole piece. Do you use wood stain or something?

IpswichMatt
jimarnoldchess wrote:

...coming in late on this thread...rather than using superglue, I use different time set epoxies.  There's a fast set mixture which dries in a minute or two, a medium set mixture which sets up in about 5 minutes and a third which sets up in about 15 minutes.  I have mostly used the 5 min type in my restoration work.  The 'dust' needs to be thoroughly mixed, I've used African Blackwood, Ebony, and even Wenge at times.  Once the dust is mixed (and 'wet') you can get an idea of the color match to the cracked piece and adjust if necessary

This sounds useful for small chips which are maybe too small to glue a new piece of ebony, and wide cracks which will require a lot of ebony dust. Have you tried this with boxwood sawdust too?

Can you provide a link to the epoxies you use please?

IpswichMatt
greghunt wrote:
chessspy1 wrote:

... Ageing the boxwood with acid would be another.

 

you might try UV light and oxygen 

Wow, it seems furniture restorers and violin makers know all about this:

http://www.tanninglamps4less.com/uvcurecabinets.html

Who'd have thought you could give wood a suntan?!

jimarnoldchess

IpswichMatt,  I use readily available epoxies I can purchase at the big box home improvement stores.  Devcon is my favorite because I can get their epoxies (I always use two-part epoxies) in 8-9 ounce sizes, otherwise I use 'Gorilla' brand and Devcon makes a 1-2 ounce size, but the large size is the best value.  What I do is save bags of sawdust from the sets I make...I have lots of walnut, maple, poplar, and oak, but i also have a supply of pear wood, holly, apple, ash, wenge and several others.  I used a 'white' board, kind of like a 'key' to match different colors of wood.  Matching wood for me is very much trial and error and I do it on the white board rather then on the pieces first, so over time I have a nice palette of colors I know how to mix for, depending on what repair comes up.  Its only a small blob, but the important part is to make sure you mix the sawdust thoroughly with the epoxy first...when its completely 'wet' you can see the color it will be when dried.  Again, its a bit of trial and error to get the exact match, but since I have the key I often use a combination of woods, and even a different wood, at times, to achieve the perfect match...I have to try the superglue method so I can see for myself how the process works with that.  Using the epoxy (I use the 5 minute set up variety) it makes a paste and there is little run-off (less mess), but the 'paste' dries a little bit harder then the epoxy, so there is a little more vigorous sanding I think versus the glue pics i saw in your thread.  While on the subject of sanding I use a Dremel with the sanding drums...there are 3 different sizes...1/2", 3/8ths", and 1/4", most of the time one of these will fit the contour I need and that helps a lot!   Sorry for running on a bit...hope it helps a little.   Jim

IpswichMatt

Thanks for that Jim. So you mean this sort of thing for Devcon expoxy:

https://www.amazon.com/Devcon-Epoxy-4-25-Ounce-Bottles/dp/B005K091ZU/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_tr_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=JH2FDPVYPR4NVB09YJ3D

By the way - I had a look at your website, it's very impressive. Do you do your own carving? I've been taking wood carving lessons over the past few months - initially with a view to carving Knights, now it's become a new hobby separate to chess.

 

jimarnoldchess

Hello Again, yes, I do all my own carving.  My initial claim to fame was that my knights are 'turned' carvings, all one piece.  same with the knops on the queens and the bishops...all one piece.  Sometimes people are missing a knight from a set, or one is broken beyond repair...I'll ask them to send me one from their set, and when I have one to copy from I can carve an exact match.  Thanks for the compliment on my work!   I started as woodcarver that made custom themed sets as my bizz  and because I have always loved the game, I learned how to play from my Dad and lucked out in having a couple great teachers along the way...now that I am close to retiring, I am hoping to get back to playing more!  (and I do a lot of woodcarving teaching too!) My hands are the worse for wear...people always ask me how I make a living at making chess sets, but there's only handful, if that many, people that actually do it.  I've had  commissions to work on continuously for the last 20 years...and bizz is as good as its ever been, but the injuries to my hands have slowed me down the last few years.  Good luck with you carvings!  send me pics of your work, if you get a chance...I'd like to see jimarnoldchess@yahoo.com  going to check on the devcon link, I'll get right back.  Jim

jimarnoldchess

Hey Matt!

That's the stuff...and the right price too.  The 1 ounce variety sells for $6 sometimes...you just have to do some practicing at first, it sets up in about 3-4 minutes rather then the advertised '5 minutes'.  I use those 'shot glass' sized plastic cups to do the measuring and the mixing...its important to get a 50/50 mixture of each one, and like Allan eluded to above, mix  on small piece of cardboard 3" square for piece repair and use a toothpick to apply, or just apply from the plastic cup right after you mix them together well.  Cheers.

IpswichMatt

Thanks Jim. I'll message you pics of my carving once I've made something I'm happy with!