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Author Topic: Personal Standards  (Read 1136 times)

Jasper

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Personal Standards
« on: March 12, 2020, 04:54:06 pm »
What are your personal standards for doing a restoration on an old toy steam, toy electric motor, or gas engine, etc.?
Do you personally think conserving or repairing is different than restoring?

The reason I ask is that I have a few old toy steam engines (and toy electric motors) and I my personal standards are changing. Maybe I am getting lazy, or maybe I have made a few too many previous mistakes. Maybe I see some quality in an old steam engine that I don't want to alter, but can’t figure out how to keep.

Nick

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Re: Personal Standards
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2020, 05:41:26 pm »
I used to only buy engines in need of restoration, but to me they just aren't the same once they've been restored. I have no longer stripped any paint... instead they go to the shelf and if a replacement in better, original condition is found, I go that route and either sell or plan to sell the old one.
Nick

txlabman

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Re: Personal Standards
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2020, 06:03:06 pm »
It depends.....

In general, I try to keep them as original as possible.  But, sometimes, that just isn't feasible or possible.  And, other times, I just don't like the look of it in the condition that I receive it. 

I know that Danny (@Nuvolari) and Brent (@parallelmotion) have strong opinions on this subject; and for really valuable and rare engines, I agree that they should be kept as original as possible.  Frankly, I don't have their skills and would leave important engines to them for restoration.

I have been working on a Bowman M122 for the last week.  There are thousands of these out there.  They are not particularly rare.  But, they are well made and fairly easy to disassemble. I hated the bronze lacquer finish that was on the boiler and decided to make it all shiny and new.  The base was in decent shape; so, I cleaned it and treated it with some car wax to protect the paint. I also made an exhaust pipe for it out of brass tubing.

I paid very little for this engine and did it the way I wanted to do it.  I am very happy with the outcome.  I am sure others will think that I ruined it.....

I will be posting a video and pictures soon. 

Everyone has their personal preferences and I don't judge others for their choices.  Each to his own!


CBWho

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Re: Personal Standards
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2020, 07:46:05 pm »
For me:
Function is more important than form.
I don't have expensive engines, so that factors in as well. Of course, I prefer originality but for example, on my big Doll orphan, 90% of the original is gone. It would be foolish to restore to original since it would be prohibitively expensive.

For Mamod mobiles, keeping it not original is usually the most important thing. They made so many.


Nick

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Re: Personal Standards
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2020, 07:50:27 pm »
I have no problems with restorations or modifications, as Charlie said, many were made in the thousands. In fact, I love seeing pictures of restorations and the process... I'm just too busy right now with 3 kids and too lazy to take on any projects alongside the many household projects I already have and have found it easier and often cheaper to buy a good, original engine.
Nick

Scorpion2nz

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Re: Personal Standards
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2020, 09:51:52 pm »
If it is all there and running I tend to leave it alone .
If missing 1 or 2 parts i will just make them .
If a total mess then a full rebuild from the ground up .

Cheers
Dennis

RobMW

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Re: Personal Standards
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2020, 06:05:40 am »
I know which one I prefer on my shelf.
I like to buy broken and restore to near new. Unless its a steal.


Nick

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Re: Personal Standards
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2020, 09:59:39 am »
Not too many would have touched that one Rob, your work is amazing!  8)
Nick

Nuvolari

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Re: Personal Standards
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2020, 07:41:45 pm »
What are your personal standards for doing a restoration on an old toy steam, toy electric motor, or gas engine, etc.?
Do you personally think conserving or repairing is different than restoring?

The reason I ask is that I have a few old toy steam engines (and toy electric motors) and I my personal standards are changing. Maybe I am getting lazy, or maybe I have made a few too many previous mistakes. Maybe I see some quality in an old steam engine that I don't want to alter, but can’t figure out how to keep.

Restoration is a big word, and there is no standard scenario, and so many views on it.
Each case stands on its own, even engines of the same make and type.
But perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that I see, is no research on the item.
Sometimes research takes me 2/3 of restoration work.

Restoration  is also about research, skills, materials and tools.
Don't try to imitate someone who has done this for years, you will guarantee fail out of lack of experience.
Restoration is a nice discipline of the steam hobby, and it is something you build up.
Do it good, and it will be fun.
When I was a graphic design student, a teacher sad, how can you use a pencil if you don't know, what it's made of, how to hold it and how to use it.
This went so far that we were making our own pencil, it sounds stupid but you won't believe what a complicated tool a pencil is.
It comes down to first learn how to crawl before you start to walk.

There are several rules that I made up for myself that help me bring a restorations to hopefully a good end.
Biggest mistake I unfortunately see to often, first time restoration, whiteout skill, tools and a complicated rare engine.
Nobody says you aren't allowed to buy nice rare engines as a beginner.
But my advice is, that it very wise not to start on it, until you fully researched it, you know all the skills needed, and have all the tools do do the job.

So these are the questions I always ask myself:
-what type of engine is, rare not rare (the more rare it is, the more sure you must be that you are up to the job)
-what is the visible damage.
-what parts are missing, can original parts be found, its it possible to produce a 100% replica.
-what techniques are used, can and do I have the skills, materials, products to an up to 100% repare.
-and a very difficult question, what are the not visible damages. (I had engines that looked so easy, turning out to a very specialized job)
-how does a well preserved similar engine looks after aging (that is the look you want to achieve)
-If your restoration is visible, it for 99% not good executed, it's as simple as that…

Personally I found it a weak excuse wen a restoration turns out to a wanna be but can't do it.
Often I hear I don't have the skills, materials, tools or the worst saying " I'm happy with it…"

I always try to live my self into the engine, have the respect and feel for it's age.
I call it the gut feeling, others say, its the artist eye.
There is not always a need to wipe away old used marks.
Out of experience loosing old bad repairs with lots solder clutter and/or things used that are not original.
Together with a clean up of every part of the engine (for 90% old oils), is for 90% your physical restoration.
You always have to keep in mind that what you change for bad or for good, there is no way to bring it back as it was.
Perhaps most difficult discipline are patinas.
these can be factory made or come with aging, tackling them often make or brake the restoration.

Coming to tools, to me it's obvious you have the correct tools for the job, If you don't have them leave it or ask someone who can help you.
I always divide my tool park into to two sections, absolutely needed tools, and fun gadgets to have.
I understand, that if you start in the hobby, that you don't have a lathe, or a mill.
But I advise you, if you are serious about restoration, to do the necessary investments.
And if you buy machinery don't buy the cheap stuff.
We have a saying here, buying cheap, is buying expensive in the long end.
And you don't have to buy everything at ones, even after all these years of restoration, there are still new tools that come to the tool park.

Coming to the last and perhaps most difficult part, materials and techniques.
I think I spend sometimes more time finding sooted materials and the technique how they must be used.
This can be sometimes a point of unwanted failure.
The problem is that materials are not longer available, even forbidden by todays standards, think of lead holding paints for instance.
Same goes for techniques, even if you have the product, it sometimes requires the skill and know how that demand a serious learning program.

All I can say to someone who learns the skills, be you owns greatest critic!!!
Friends and family will always say that you've done a great job, where in reality you didn't.
But on the other hand don't be afraid, only be sure that what you do, you can do good.
Even I after a lot of experience, am still challenged, and I admit also to have mistakes and would do thing different.
Following the rules I made for myself,  I'm still able to turn 99% of the mistakes I made into correction.

Make it for yourself a ground rule, if you are not up to it, leave it as it is, there will be a time you can restore it as a jewel in the crown.
And if you want to  start restoring, start with a simple engine, natural brass boiler (not blued), simpel motor and try to make it 100 % looking as a perfect identical well preserved engine of the same type.
Once you're able to do that you can move to the next challenge…
And don't forget this forum, it is one of the most powerful tools you have.
Got a problem ask for it, you know someone who has the knowledge ask for advice.

Perhaps a last word about criticism.
The more you're into restoration, the more it will frustrate you when you see someone ruin an engine, is it being small or big one.
And in the past I've learned, that 99% of the people see cretinism as an attack on their own person, while it isn't.
To me it's the love for the engine, I see it as world heritage, and to be treated that way.
Personally, I don't want to be the person that ruined it, my goal is to be the one who preserved it…
Recently on an other forum, no need to dig it out, I pointed with out, premeditated in quite a blunt way, that restoration ended up in a perfect ruining of the identity of the engine. (sad this as a small social experiment)
Within half an hour reactions of the community went ballistic, it was rude and how dare I…
What did I do wrong, I didn't attack the individual himself, all I sad was the truth, that it was a bad restoration.
So why should I say weldon, and leave that individual in the believe that he done a good job.
He only will go on and ruin more engines, probably he will, but perhaps I got him thinking and he will feel challenged to do better.
One thing I know for sure, people who say to me weldon out of politeness, are worthless critics, I rather have someone saying that I done a bad job.
Of corse it's also up to the critic, to have a good point, and if you open your mouth, now what you're talking about, and try to give advice.
Stuff to think about…

It seems this has grown in to quite a manifest, but I hope this will give you thinking stuff.

Good luck in your projects…

Cheers,
Danny




Danny
"Das lied schläft in der Maschine"
(the song sleeps in the machine) lyrics Einsturzende Neubauten song "Nnnaaamm"  http://stoomwereld.webnode.be

 

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