This came into my shop from a follower of my blog that lives in Salt Lake City. He purchased it from a reputable dealer in the East and it was broken in shipment; the dealer offered to take it back but this fellow liked the design and was going to do the repair himself. He said he ‘chickened out’ on the repair and brought it to me to do the restoration.
This panel gauge is made of Cuban Mahogany for the arm and fence with a boxwood locking wedge, an ebony pin holder dovetailed into the arm and a cut wrought iron nail as the scribe. The asymmetrical handle is identical to one illustrated in Salaman’s Dictionary of Woodworking Tools on pages 204-205.
I had to enlarge the hole in the broken ebony pin holder so the nail wood fit better and the two pieces of ebony mate properly. I etched the surfaces of the ebony with garlic prior to using hot hide glue for the repair. One half teaspoon of ground hide glue and 1 teaspoon of distilled water, and I had glue left over; it was a small repair.
Clamping was a problem, so I borrowed a pipe clamp from a neighbor to apply a little end pressure then a few more clamps to keep everything in place. The nature of the fracture provided some locking when the break went back together, the other clamps to hold things tight until the glue dried. It was a fairly clean break but a couple of small chips of wood were missing.
I mixed up some Beaumontage [beeswax, tallow and rosin] and added a bit of red iron oxide; heating gently on the stove to mix. I then used an alcohol lamp and a thin blade pallet knife to burn in the Beaumontage. I smoothed it out with a clean hot knife, and then gave it a coat of shellac.
When the shellac dried, I lightly sanded the surface and did some touch up work with a fine brush and some shellac with black iron oxide to over grain the lighter Beaumontage filler. Followed by another thin coat of shellac. I then used some Moses T’s Gunstocker’s Finish and a bit of burnt umber dry powdered pigment to blend in the repair, followed by a light coat of Gunstocker’s Finish.
Here is the completed repair.