"Everything old is new again"
NOTE: - One of the things we do here at the Victorian Woodshop is re-create old worn out porch brackets for historical restoration. Usually I receive a tracing from a homeowner but occasionally someone goes the extra mile and sends me in one of the old brackets. As there is one in the shop now I thought it would be a good time to go through the process for those interested in keeping the look of their old brackets. This also comes in handy for picky towns with Historical Restoration boards that have to approve any work done.
First I want to thank Rob in New Jersey for sending in one of his old worn out brackets for re creation. His house was built in the 1880s but I suspect these brackets are more turn of the century to later. Judging by the approximately 10 coats of paint, a good 75 - 100 years old. The wood itself held up pretty good although over the years cracks have developed in the wood. This was caused by two things. One, the paints were so bad, and two....some one down the line didn't keep up with the painting. This is one reason we live in a lucky age. The new latex external house paints are designed to last 50 years or more. This bracket is about as bad as it gets. Clicking on the pictures you will see how the interior fancy cutouts are caked with old paint.
MAKING NEW PATTERNS
To make a new pattern the easiest way is to strip the paint off of one side, this gives a nice clean edge to the porch bracket. You can also trace it.. In this case, as the paint was so thick and wood in such bad shape, I used a can of spray paint to spray an outline on a large sheet of clean paper. This gave me a reasonable place to start. When dry, pick up the old bracket and spend a little time cleaning up the pattern. The pattern is then ready to photocopy and apply to wood for cutting as illustrated in the picture to the right.
From this is point on, it is no different than any standard bracket that I make. Time to make a pattern from this example, figure about an hour.
Before and after example
Another Restoration Example
Above: the brackets that needed replacing, about 50 years old and quite damaged. Below: the finished re creation that we produced for the customer. Approximately 34 inches long. In this case the customer took one down and did a tracing of the original and sent it in. I don't need a great tracing as I tend to clean them up here on this end.....the below bracket was created from his tracing.
Victorian Picket Fence Restoration
- PICKET FENCE REPLACEMENT and RESTORATION -
Another item I seem to do quite a little bit of is historic picket fence and porch baluster replacement. Dogs, balls, and bicycles seem to be the most destructive force in nature. Same process as outlined above. The Post office has free long tube priority mail boxes that seem to just fit fence sections. Just mail me one of your old ones and I can re-create it.
Don't replace your whole fence, we can make replacement Victorian Picket Fence parts
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