The White Patriotic Jumper is a sample treatment,
so our client, Restore Oregon,
can see the process from start to finish!
This post is about two splits: belly and rump!
Before we began the repair, we had no idea of the reason for the belly split;
we assumed they were split due to chemical stripping, however,
as we began the repair the evidence suggested a water event.
When you tie in the dry rot around the tail, then plausible reasons can be surmised:
1) Patriotic lived outside for a time during his long life;
2) At one time, excessive water was used during cleaning and not thoroughly dried.
An over head leak is also possible but the storage facility showed
no evidence of a leak overhead where Patriotic sat for many years.
Mitchell was to do several keylock repairs, which are excellent
woodworking repairs to halt degradation of a split.
Mitchell looked at different layouts to cover the split;
In the end we settled on two on the tail end, to cover the larger end of the split,
then further out to stop the split from continuing;
and one to three on the head end, for the same reason.
Mitchell wished he could have saved time using a plunge router, but
with the curvature of the belly and the unknown nature of what
we might find, he decided to hand-chisel the keylock mortice.
It was, in the end, a very good thing, because of the surprising
degradation of the century-old horse.
Mitchell began cutting the first keylock toward the rear, and we discovered the wood was punky. Not quite rotten, but as if it had endured being waterlogged. It was difficult to maintain a straight wall along the edge; the wood crumbled instead of cutting clean. We treated the inner walls of the keylocks with a museum product to strengthen them; even so, when the first keylock was cut, inserted, and tapped, a portion of the softer wood cracked, causing more repair work with the old wood.
This precipitated larger keylocks
all along the belly splits.
Moving toward the head, the same process was used, however, there was a bit less water damage evident. Two nice keylocks sufficed to stop the split from moving further.
Along with the belly split, we conserved the bolts that tie
the iron pole plate the horse secures onto the belly of the jumper.
We had not initially planned to do this, but with the potential issues around
water damage, this was a preventative measure.
Holes were redrilled and plugged using hard wood dowels,
then the bolts were replaced into tight fitting bolt holes.
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Written by Kate Powell ©MPF Conservation.
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