CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION OF LURES
Note: Restoration or
conservation of any kind of art is not to be taken lightly. Some prefer
to leave their art as found, which is fine, but restoration in the art world
is a high form of science and usually expensive. It is a full time
pursuit by experts in museums. For
on the art of conservation see: The American Institute for Conservation of
Historic and Artistic Works
I know of an individual
who can 'restore' a lure box to almost new condition by repainting the bleeds
in the paper, cleaning, and re-boxing where necessary, but that is not what
I'm attempting or sharing here. I'm simply sharing a way to 'repair' a
small defect, not replace, re-build, or add to any part of the box.
The science of
restoration is in repairing or restoring an object without altering its value
or physical aspects. In this case, I am simply re-attaching two pieces
of cardboard which are broken. It is no different than gluing a piece of
glass or porcelain back together. We've all seen collectors/dealers at shows
cleaning a lure for long periods of time before placing a new purchase on
display. It takes time to do it right.
repainting any part of an object is a whole different matter. In no way
is this like repainting a lure. We are talking 'repair' not
'replacement'. Repair not repaint. There is a huge
difference. I know any number of individuals who use this method using
glue with great success and have done so for years.
Some individuals might
beg to differ with me on this point, but let's not forget that dirt and grease
are not normal and neither is rust. Yes, they are a consequence of age,
but not original. Removing rust from hooks and cleaning original paint
is restoration. Preventing oxidation with a coat of oil is conservation.
Repainting to increase value is fakery.
REPAIRING SPLIT BOX
It is not
uncommon to find nice lure boxes with the paper joints split on the sides and
ends of the boxes. I'm going to attempt to explain how I repair that
problem on lure boxes that I own. I strongly suggest you try this on
some inexpensive boxes before you attempt anything like I'm showing here on a
really rare K & K minnow box.
All you need is
a long thin rubber band appropriate for the size of the box, some round
toothpicks, a piece of news paper, and fresh Elmer's white glue or pH neutral
(7.0) binding glue.
Elmer's Glue All
is: 1,2-PROPANEDIOL (PROPYLENE GLYCOL) pH 4.7 in solution, only slightly
acidic (pH 6.9 when dry). If you want to use book binding glue (animal
or vegetable source). Apparently some
restoration experts prefer to not use Elmer's since it is very hard on setting
and could crack in a flexible situation or the acidity harm paper. In
the case of a box corner, I want it to be as hard as possible, but not harm
the cardboard. It's your choice which glue you use. The other
reason I don't worry about pH is because I'm not gluing a flat expansive piece
of paper, but rather ragged edges of porous fibrous cardboard. Another
suggestion made to me is to use CA glue, which dries in 15 seconds, is
invisible, and is very thin.
proximate the edges of the box where the joint is broken. Be very
careful to put the edges together accurately. Now, carefully, put a
rubber band around the whole box to hold the four corner pieces in place.
Don't roll the rubber band against the paper as it will tear the paper sides
or the label. Use the weakest rubber band that will work.
The idea is to not 'bow' the box sides.
Put a drop of
the glue on a piece of newspaper (so your wife won't yell at you later).
Pick up a small drop of glue on the tip of the toothpick and spread (paint or
draw) the glue into the joint a little at a time from bottom to top.
Don't smear the glue any further than necessary to avoid build-up. You
just want a small line. But the glue has to span both sides of the
In the photo
below, the line looks kind of heavy, but I went back and pulled the dry tip of
the toothpick from bottom to top to reduce the amount before allowing it to
dry. You can see the joint after it dries below. This technique
just takes experience in seeing what works.
First application of glue.
After doing the
inside of the joints, place some more glue on the outside of the joint without
moving the rubber band. Put the box aside and allow it to dry for about
two hours. Then carefully remove the rubber band without rolling it
against the paper and re-do the outside of the joint as needed where the
rubber band was placed.
During application, remove
excess with tip of pick
Do NOT put the
top and bottom of the boxes together until the whole box has sat up and dried
for a day. The joint should not show the glue as it will absorb into the
paper of the joint as it dries. This photo below shows a joint after
only a half hour. It still appears wet, but it will completely dry in
about an hour.
After drying for one hour
technique works with labels and other paper tears or where the paper has come
apart. If you are doing a larger area of paper, more than an edge, you
most likely should look into using a neutral pH glue.
Removing pencil marks is
relatively easy. Use a gum eraser (not the hard green type, but the ones
that feel kind of gooey and are amber color) and lightly rub the marks.
Although I have never tried it, I hear bread can be used to rub out oil and
dirt. I've used a soft cloth and cleaned with light soapy water on
paper, but again you have to be extremely cautious in doing this kind of
thing. Maybe try it in a corner with a cotton swab first.
There are some chemical
powders which can be used to lift oil out of paper, but I've never done it.
You can look for information on conservation and restoration source on a web
site called The Gemmary at www.gemmary.com/restore.html . They are a supplier of
water damaged (wavy) sides
A new box has hard
straight surfaces, whereas one which has been wet will get wavy and rumpled.
If you really want to tackle this problem, it can be done. Essentially
what you have to do is build a two piece wood or non-porous hard plastic block
press. One half of the block has to fit within the original cardboard
box, spanning the full dimension of each panel of the interior of the box.
The other half of the block is on the outside. The two pieces are then
held in place for drying with a parallel clamp. You have to create a
block for each dimension of the inside of the box and then treat each panel
individually. The size of the outside block is not critical as there is
no problem for the exterior dimensions. You have to be careful not to
squeeze the cardboard too hard, but just enough to re-set the paper while it
As you can see, this is
a big project and not to be taken lightly. It's why conservators charge
so much to restore paper. Try it on a cheap box before trying a valuable
Protecting chipped belly weight
If you collect
early lures, you most likely have had a problem with belly weight paint
popping off. Nothing will make you as sick to your stomach as seeing a
pile of paint under a beautiful lure due to the paint coming off the belly
weight. Prevention is the by-word. Avoid moisture changes.
Store your lures in a constant temperature and keep the humidity constant.
conservation, you can also use the toothpick or a straight pin and Elmer's
glue to carefully 'paint' and seal the circle edge where paint is broken
around a belly weight on a lure. You want to use the least amount of
glue possible to do this delicate job. It should be in the crack only,
not out on the paint. It's a sealant.
In the photos
below, a large ring has formed around a belly weight which is caused by the
corrosion of the lead weight. Left alone, this last bit of paint chip
will be lost. Placing a little 'sealer' around the ring will help
preserve the paint chip and prevent additional damage. When dry,
this 'sealer' cannot be seen as the amount should be minimal. Ideally
this should be accomplished before the destruction progresses to this point.
If necessary, you can dilute the glue prior to application to make sure it
flows into the crack. If you seal off the crack as soon as it
forms a ring around the belly weight, you may be able to preserve the original
paint in tact. Under no circumstance should you ever 'coat' a lure with
a 'preservative' or any kind of lacquer. This will totally ruin the
value of the lure. Again, you are trying to preserve, not repaint or
Tacking down the
original paint should be done very carefully and allowed to dry thoroughly
before any cleaning is attempted.
Cleaning can be
done with any number of techniques, but I prefer to use a soft rag and cotton
swabs to clean superficially using Flitz compound since it is not abrasive, but
a cream. If you have a lot of heavy crazing of the paint, then avoid
Flitz as it will get in the cracks. In that case, use a cleaning rag
like Wonder Cloth.
A word of
caution: don't clean lures like 'Experts' or early paint which doesn't have a
lacquer coating as found on Heddon or Creek Chub lures. Cleaning early
miscellaneous lures or early Shakespeare lures is to be avoided unless you are
dead sure you know what you are doing. If in doubt...don't. It's a
lot cheaper than the alternative.
I don't clean
hooks, but I do clean all other hardware when possible without disassembly.
I never disassemble any lure to clean it. NEVER. If you do, you are
asking for a paint chip which will devalue the lure.
If you want to
clean hooks, you really have to remove them to do it right with a hand held
Drimmel or other rotary engine. There are chemicals which will remove rust
and corrosion, most of which are hydrochloric acid based. If you use these
chemicals, do so with great care and avoid use near the paint. Again, I
don't remove hooks or do more than what Flitz or other cleaning agents will do
with a cotton swab.