Most of this trip to visit the H.O. Studley chest has been about documenting every tool in the chest. Not just the tools, but counting every single thing in every single drawer.
As we took the tools out and Don Williams was documenting the panel arrangement, he found that one of the ebony supports was damaged. “Damaged” ain’t the right word. In Arkansas, we would have said “it done blowed up.”
A quick review of our photo record from the last three years confirmed that this damage had occurred before our first encounter with the chest (cue the “whew,” and we all changed our underwear). With the permission of the owner of the chest, Don repaired the damage.
Some details for Studley nerds. The ebony support had been repaired twice before with PVA glue. PVA doesn’t adhere to ebony well because of its density, so it’s no surprise that the glue failed. Twice.
Don carefully removed the PVA by scraping and picking at it.
To re-glue the part, he prepared a solution of nine parts of liquid hide glue and one part glycerine from the drugstore. It did two things: increased the glue’s stickiness and reduced its tendency to fracture.
After applying the glue, he clamped the part together using teflon tape, wrapping and tying it around the part. Then he allowed it to dry overnight.
Yesterday, we also shot this short video on how Narayan Nayar goes about photographing every object in the chest. Good stuff.
— Christopher Schwarz