It is an interesting story as to how I came about owning and original flame grain oak roller, only one of two I have ever seen. I was at a flea market in Indianapolis, Indiana back in 1978 and as I was walking around I had picked up a few old medicine bottles from a dump dig in Cincinnati, nice thin hand blown bottles, which I ended up selling, I happened on a fellow selling all kinds of things.
On top of one of his cases sat this flame grain roller, I picked it up to admire and inquire as to the price. The fellow immediately said ‘do you know what that is?’, and I said ‘yes, it is a flame grain oak roller’ although at the time I had never seen one before but knew what it was. He said ‘you are the first person to know what it was, and you can have it’. I was astounded, thanked him and have kept and used it since then.
I describe how it is used in ‘Shellac, Linseed Oil, & Paint – Traditional 19th Century Woodwork Finishes’ and it is a great tool. I had in mind making and selling them however Mr. Diamond Jim Davis, Master Leatherworker, who made the new one had difficulties in making one, he said it took him 3 tries and a day to complete. Plans for selling them will have to wait.
I will have the wood cylinder turned and Master Blacksmith Mark Schramm will make the iron handle and I will have a new functioning flame grain oak roller and will retire the original. The original is made from some sort of composite material that is tacked to the wooden roller.