This chest is my father’s and he asked if I would restore it for him and fix most of the damage. I first started by researching the chest. I knew by stripping the chest I would most likely loose the images either with a chemical stripper to replace/repair the finish or by sanding. I wanted to see if the manufacturer still existed and could be contacted for information or help during this process.
Turns out Cass Toy Company is no longer in business and was destroyed in a fire in 2012. The company was located in Athol, Massachusetts and had a long history of producing toys, furniture and children’s items.
This lead me to research dealers and toy collectors who may be able to help with steps to reproduce the images if needed. I found several chests but no one had any experience with repairing or restoring these. Here is a chest like my dad’s that was listed on ebay with little sign of wear.
After no luck I turned to LumberJocks and asked the forum. That’s when the help arrived. Several users piped in and offered suggestions on how to approach this project. I studied each suggestion and went back and forth for weeks on trying to avoid stripping it completely, but there was really no way to avoid it. So Lumber Jock user Tennesee gave me a solution that was brilliant! Turn up my DLSR settings, take some good high quality pictures, take detailed notes of dimensions and placement, then start working on image editing to create either a decal, transfer or stencil.
So that’s what I did. I’m going to say right now, this wasn’t an easy get ‘er done in a day process. I wasn’t a Photoshop Expert by any means, so I spent most of my time learning and youtubing along the way. In the end I spent several weeks taking my photos, editing, importing into SIL Designer and then cutting stencil mask.
Don’t worry, I’ll break it all down with the products I used as well as the software in the next part of the series.
-- Learning everyday