Monday, 24 September 2007

More about the stencil...

From Patricia Mullins' The Rocking Horse;

'Occasionally one finds the stencilled words, "PATENTED JAN 29 1880" on the base of some swing stands, notably those of F H Ayres and G & J Lines. Usually, those who patented an invention...indicated that a product was protected by marking it with the patent number and date. (The patent was for the swing stand, invented by an American, Philip Marqua).

Patent 395 actually became void after only three years when the renewal fee was not paid. In this case any patent marking should have been discontinued after 1883, although, according to the British patent office, it is quite possible that the marking may have been used for some time after that date.

Horses bearing this patent stamp on the stand base should, therefore, date from the 1880s.'

Yes! Zaphod is 120 years old.

Apart from his head.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Stencilled stand

Now this is exciting...

This afternoon I've been stripping Zaphod's stand. Other things I should be doing, but the hell with it.

And to my great excitement, I found under layers of red, crimson and white paint, the stencilled legend PATENTED JAN 29 1880. You can click on the photo to see it better.

There's the same thing in Patricia Mullins The Rocking Horse (the rocking horse bible) on page 92; a horse she dates as 1880s - 1890s.

So Zaphod may be 120 years old. Or three quarters of him is...
* * *
For another example of a J & G Lines with a stencil, take a look at this website: The Rocking Horse Stables.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Slow progress...

It's not fair! I need more hours in the day...

I've suddenly got some rush silver commisssions, and can't spare the time to work on Zaphod as much as I'd like. It's frustrating.

I haven't got his leg off yet, either.

I have started stripping the stand, and have removed the entirely pointless two wooden struts nailed on the top rail. Underneath was the original varnish finish, which I hope to be able to replicate in due course, if the wood is reasonably blemish-free.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Zaphod with his saddle-back

Zaphod, complete with his original saddle-back.

Here the horse is, far from finished but at least with all the bits attached that he should have.

I've glued on his right back leg, removed the car filler and put fillets of wood and Rustin's wood filler in the gap. I put the horse on his stand while the glue dried, with bolts through the holes, to make sure he still fits properly on it. (You can guess how I learnt to do this!) The other legs all have movement where they join on to the body, and my next job is to remove them and re-glue them one at a time.

This may be difficult. I'm going to try wiggling them, and if that doesn't work on its own, apply steam to soften the old hide glue.

It's no good leaving them loose, as they may not be strong enough, and any gesso and paint applied would crack.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Completed slot for the saddle-back

Here is a nice sunny photograph of the finished slot, chiselled out ready to glue the saddle-back into.

Some jobs are harder than you expect, others easier. This, I am pleased to say, was one of the easier jobs.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Ed Prytherick

This photo shows how I cut the 60 degree slot in Zaphod's back for the saddle back to fit into; a block cut to the right angle and sellotaped in position as a guide. The horse is roped to the workmate, as I don't have a carver's vice.

I'm proud of it, as it was my own idea, and it worked beautifully. I knew I couldn't saw it accurately freehand.

My woodworking skills are minimal, but such as they are I owe them to Ed Prytherick. He was my best friend long ago at Ravensbourne College of Art, where we were both doing the 3-dimensional design course. It was mostly boys in the class, and they'd all done woodwork and metalwork at school. Ed gave me remedial woodworking lessons for a term or two.

I did not excel as a pupil, but can remember everything he taught me. How to mark out, how to sharpen and adjust a plane blade, how to use a chisel, how to hold a saw. Thanks, Ed.