Thursday, January 31, 2008

Antique and Collectable Reproductions

DM Production and Sales
Bringing The Past To The Present Since 1988

Antique and Collectable Reproductions

Being an avid historian and a member of our local Historical Society, the collecting of antiques, their restoration and reproduction is a great part of my life. I have been involved in this area for most of my life. Being old enough to be historical myself, that is a long time. If one is involved in the restoration of historical item, one also has to be involved in their reproduction. The reason for this is simple. Many times during the process of restoration, one finds that you simply can't bring about a satisfactory job because of the condition of the item, either in whole or in part. The only way to salvage the item is to reproduce parts that are beyond repair.

The reproduction of either pieces of a historical item or its complete reproduction, isn't for the faint hearted. Many years have been spent developing techniques, learning from other experts and just good old trial and error to acquire the skills necessary. Copying a historical item isn't what we endeavor to do. We try very hard to make the reproduction resemble what that item would actually look like today. Not when it was first made. This is were the real skills come in. It all starts with the base material, wood. We deal almost exclusively in the reproduction and restoration of wood items. We have a very large number of historical properties in our area and having access to and being familiar with the many ongoing restoration projects, gives us access to a large quantity of material. Material that must be replaced for structural reasons is very suitable for our use. To us, wood is a living, breathing entity. Each piece has its own character. Its own uniqueness. By starting with wood that is either the age of the reproduced or restored item or older, we are able to more accurately match the characteristics of the item itself. Sometimes we have to artificially reproduce weathering and wear from usage. There's times when making a reproduction takes much more time to make than the original item ever did.

Matching wood stains, finishes and paints is a whole other matter and in future writings, I'll talk about that. Making wood stains the way they were made 100 years ago isn't easy. Being raised on a farm and watching and helping my father make his own stains has been of great help. You haven't lived until you have spent a day picking black walnuts. You come home with your hand as black as a piece of coal. We picked them not for the nut meat itself, although on a farm, nothing goes to waste, but we primarily picked them to make black walnut stain with. It's real hard these days to find a black walnut tree where I live. Maybe that gives you an idea of some of the problems one faces.

There are some out there who think it is perfectly acceptable to pass off reproductions as authentic items. In our opinion, that is nothing but fraud. Reproductions have their place. For many, the ability to own authentic pieces of history is just out of their financial capabilities. Yet, they enjoy having pieces of history around them. At times, the simple fact that there just aren't many pieces of a certain item available is the problem. Could you imagine where the movie industry would be without reproductions? In our store, we clearly indicate that an item we are selling is either authentic or a reproduction.

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