antiquebottles THEMEDICINE CHEST --- BY DR. RICHARD CANNON old bottles


If you gofor old bottles, you've probably had to tolerate a few chips anddings in your collection. But these can be repaired if you canstand the damage no longer and like to tinker around. Often theresults are so good they are difficult to spot by others. But arepaired bottle should always be revealed to a prospective buyer,the value is always less.

Chips, bubble bursts, missing lip portions,chipped corners if not all the way through, and even dings bygrinding away damage glass first with sand paper or grindingtools are things I will tackle. I know of no cure for cracks.

Epoxy glue can be used, but tends to havebubbles and turn brown with age. Therefore, I prefer a clearcasting resin available at art stores such as Castin' CraftLiquid Plastic Casting Resin by ETI, Fields Landing, Ca. 95537.They also make the Liquid Hardener and dyes in several colors tomatch the glass to be repaired. Wooden cotton tipped applicators,a sharp knife, a small clear glass dish for mixing, and Acetone,C.P. for cleaning up are also needed. The margin of repair willblend with the resin better if it is dulled first by sand paperor hydrofluoric acid.

Scotch Tape, 3M, St. Paul, Min., works well tobuild a mold across the damaged area. The resin is carefullyapplied and can be directed into small areas with the sharpenedtip of a wooden applicator stick. After 24 hours the Scotch Tapecan be removed, and in another 48 hours the hardened resin can besanded and shaped. More resin can be added at this time ifnecessary.

When the area has been sanded to the desiredshape, a coating of resin can be applied with an applicator stickto cover the repair if the bottle is whittled and crude, orFormby's Tung Oil Finish, low or high gloss, Thompson and Formby,Inc., Olive Branch, Ms. 38654 can be used for a smoother finish.Several coats applied with a lint free cloth or paper napkin willbe needed.

The results depend on your artistic ability andperseverance. Certain repairs I have had to do, scratch my head,and do again several times before getting the desired results.

Extreme temperature variations should beavoided when displaying or storing repaired bottles, becauseglass and resin do not expand and contract at the sametemperatures. This may crack the resin.

I claim to be no expert, and would hesitate torepair someone else's bottle. There are "experts"around. Once I mailed a very expensive bottle for a minor repairto one such person. When my package arrived there, it looked likeit had been tossed into a cage of wild animals. Fortunately, I'dpacked the bottle was mailed for repair of a body chip. The"expert" in preparing the area for repair accidentallydamaged the bottle beyond repair. Fortunately, the owner was anice guy.

So live with the damage or take your chances.Either way, it's kind of fun.

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