|Project by Eric M. Saperstein||posted 03-18-2012 03:31 AM||2815 views||0 times favorited||7 comments|
This Blacksmith’s forge bellows is one of the original functional pieces from the Blacksmith’s shops of Lakewood, NJ. The piece has been on display at the Lakewood Heritage Museum in its original found condition, until finally funds were raised to properly restore and preserve it.
The piece was broken down to its component sections, which were reglued and reassembled as required.
The working hinges and leather were repaired and replaced as needed. The internal ribs are replaced, the originals were too far deteriorated to restore the piece to a functional condition.
The New leather is from Heath’s Restoration Shop; Russ Heath provided the sewing and pattern cutting to provide a close fit for our installation. We took the leather cut to a close template we made with paper and finish the fitting process.
The project seems more appropriate to photo illustrate than attempt to describe. A bellows is a simple machine, but the restoration is time consuming, especially when there’s oh maybe 1,000 upholstery tacks holding the leather in place! Not the mouse nest inside – always a good place to keep your rodents is in your antiques!
We made new leather ribs, and had a stencil cut to properly letter the restored piece. “For a Blow Out Blow In!” – apparently a common term on bellows of its heyday.
We finished restoring this piece in 2010 – it started in the summer of 2009. We took our time and provided the museum with details on the project, proposals, waited out the approvals, etc. I’m not really sure why I hadn’t posted this one yet – oh well it’s up now!
-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman www.artisansofthevalley.com