Frequently Asked Questions
much do repairs cost ?
How do you get the item to me ?
Do I paint the repaired part ?
Do I have references ?
Is the repair work guaranteed ?
Do I buy broken ivories ?
Can I tell you what your ivory is worth ?
Is your ivory worth repairing ?
Do you fix chess sets?
Your ivory statue has a hairline crack in its face. Can it be made invisible ?
Do I sell ivories ?
Do I work on anything other than ivory ?
How can you learn more about ivory ?
How long does it take to fix your object ?
Where do I ship my item for repair ?
much do repairs cost
Costs are influenced by the time needed to do the repair and the amount of materials required. To carve a very detailed Japanese pole arm for a large early Okimono is a lot more complicated and expensive than a simple spear for a Chinese modern carving of the same size. It is almost impossible to estimate repair costs until I actually have the item at my shop for evaluation. In the comparison given here, the Chinese spear could cost $50.00 and the Japanese pole arm might be $150.00. My hourly rate varies from $75 to $125 per hour depending on the complexity of the work. Most minor repairs are done in an hour or less.
Once an item arrives, I will evaluate the problems and contact the customer. At that point, I can usually offer an accurate estimate for repair. Many times, the customer does not realize the piece has other damage or missing parts. Having worked on innumerable ivories, I scrutinize each piece carefully. Ivories are cleaned of dirt and dust unless the customer specifies otherwise. Old glue or other materials that do not belong on the ivory are also removed. If a customer opts to not have the item repaired, it will be carefully repacked and returned. The customer is responsible for shipping costs.
do you get the item to me ?
Carefully packed in tissue and bubble wrap and double boxed is the safest method. The piece needs to be well padded from shock and impact. Bigger boxes are better than smaller tight fitting boxes. UPS, FedEx or Postal Service Priority mail are the most common methods used by clients. Insure as appropriate and advise me of insurance requested for return. Once I have shipped a repaired item, any damage or claim will be between the customer and the shipper. Another option for the customer shipping very valuable or delicate items is to use a shipping service. I only do business in the United States.
you paint the repaired part
Yes and no. Let me explain. There is a technique for repairing ivory as follows: Missing parts are molded or cast in a man-made material. They are attached to the ivory, shaped and smoothed. They are then painted, usually by airbrush and given a clear coat. I DO NOT USE THIS TECHNIQUE, on a regular basis, although it is generally fast and inexpensive. The reason I do not use this technique is that it looks BAD. The repair looks like a painted surface, not ivory. Much detail is lost. These repairs are easily spotted to the trained eye. I will occasionally cast small intricate parts and similar decorative components that cannot be efficiently carved in old ivory.
I DO REPAIR AS FOLLOWS: I will select a piece of the appropriate type of ivory (there are several types, all different) to match the original item for density, grain direction and color. I will carve the ivory in the matching style of the original and attach it to the object with a tight or nearly invisible seam. It will be polished, aged and colored to match the original item. Any seam or joint showing will be "feathered over" with a very small amount of paint in a dry brush technique. Tiny cracks and seams are filled with special materials and hidden the same way. Large splits and cracks are filled with actual ivory. The repair looks like ivory because it is ivory. I use pre-ban ivory and recycled old carvingsfor material or components
I have references ?
Yes, available on request. I have been doing repair work for many of the major dealers and collectors in the United States for almost 20 years. My work has been acknowledged by well known historian and antiques dealer Norm Flayderman. I received a credit line in his recent definitive book “The Bowie Knife”. Norm also wrote “Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders, a classic reference on that subject and related nautical antiques.
I have a credit line for my restoration work on many sets owned by Dr. George Dean, the author of recently published “Chess Masterpieces”. Dr. Dean owns what is considered the finest collection of rare chess sets in the world.
the repair work guaranteed
I guarantee to do the best possible repair I can do at reasonable cost and in a timely fashion. I will also pack the item in a very secure method. On occasion, a completed item arrives at the client’s location and has been damaged in shipment. Shipping damage is resolved between the shipper and the customer. My business is based on customer satisfaction, "word of mouth" referrals and providing a consistently good product.
I buy broken ivories
Yes. I am constantly buying damaged ivories for repair material or to repair and resell. Sometimes a client has an ivory that is not worth fixing do to lower quality, extensive damage or missing parts. I will pay a fair price for quality, damaged ivories and scrap rates for low quality or raw legal ivory. I also buy tusks and other materials.
I tell you what your ivory is worth
I am not an appraiser, but can offer my opinion if a piece is of high quality or not, and a very rough idea of value, if it is in my hand for study. Most photos are pretty useless in evaluating quality or value. I won’t venture to evaluate netsuke at all. There are many resources about netsuke on the Internet.
your ivory worth repairing ?
Sometimes the answer is no. When the repair cost and your original purchase price do not meet current market prices, why would you repair the item ? If the item is a family heirloom that means something very special to you, then a repair may be correct, because the dollar value is not important. If you are seeking the absolute cheapest repair just to sell the item and make a few bucks, you are at the wrong place. Try the putty and paint repair guys.
Do you fix chess sets?
Yes. Chess sets are a significant part of my business.
Typical repairs include:
1. Missing pieces to complete a set. Bone, ivory or wood.
2. Lathe turning.
3. Repair of tops, collars, crosses and finials.
4. Carving of figural pieces.
5. Damaged boards.
6. Travel sets boxes and components.
7. Touch up and re-dye.
NOTE: I avoid fabricating pieces for sets that are missing a substantial number of pieces. Contact me about your specific needs.
ivory statue has a hairline crack in its face. Can it be made invisible ?
No. No repair is really invisible. Facial cracks are especially hard to conceal. They can be cleaned, bleached, filled and colored, but they will still be there. The putty and paint technique covers cracks well, but they look like painted doll faces. They can re-crack and change color in time. Cracks in ivory are a natural and sometimes desirable. They can indicate great age, if they have not been artificially induced.
I sell ivories ?
Yes. On occasion I buy very nice collections and individual pieces of ivory or other works of art. Restoration work is done if needed and the items will be offered through my current list of collectors and dealers. I also broker ivory collections for dealers and private owners. Contact me for details on this marketing approach.
I work on anything other than ivory ?
Yes. I work in other natural materials including bone, whalebone, horn, antler and wood. Carvings and inlay replacement are typical. I restrict my work to smaller "bench top" items. No large furniture pieces. I do not do handgun grips or modern knife handle work.
can you learn more about ivory ?
Read, go to antique shows, museums and auctions. Talk to collectors and dealers. Learn about the types of ivory and the carving styles. Don’t start buying until you have done the above extensively. The International Ivory Society is a great resource for information. They hold meetings and seminars and issue frequent newsletters. Founder and Director Bob Weisblut can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is an expert on many types of ivory and will get you on the mailing list of the ISS. Best of all, membership is free.
I have worked on many thousands of carvings and have an extensive library on the subject. I can identify most styles and origins of commonly held ivories. I would be happy to offer an opinion on a carving you may own at no charge. Just send me a clear digital picture. If I can't indentify what you have, I should be able to direct you to a resource.
long does it take to fix your object ?
Typical repairs are completed in 2 weeks or less. 90% of my customers are dealers and cannot afford to have repairs drag on for months. If repairs need more time I will contact you.
Where do I ship my item for repair
All items shipped for repair should be sent to :
The Japanese Repository
7705 Northwest 18th Court
Margate, Florida 33063
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