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Saturday, June 20, 2020

Episode 2: The Treasures of Ally Mo



With Ally Mo parked on the East side of the shed I decided to clean up inside a bit. I collected up all the junk that was on the kitchen counter and in the sink in a cement mixing tub and separated the garbage from the potential treasure. After a very thorough scrubbing in the sink of Ally Min I assessed what I sort of artistic improvements I could make to these ordinary items to make them into the kind of vintage treasure worthy of my Etsy shop.

The Cast Iron Candle Sconce:

I wire brushed this rusty cast iron wall decoration and gave it a few coats of Penetrol to seal it. Then I sanded it with emery paper to bring up some highlights and gave it one more coat. It's very attractive now. Now that I think about it, what it really needs is an electric light to go with it. I may have something.

I tried making an aluminum ring to go around the bottom of the electric light by shaping it with PVC pipe on the vise. I was thinking I'd put a buck rivet in it, but I forgot I would need room for the bucking bar on the inside. I used a ball peen hammer to set the rivet and it made a big ol mess. And then the whole thing was just too big. I forgot about pop rivets or I might have done it again.

Next I tried a broken belt Brenna gave me. That didn't work either.

Then I tried another piece of black leather belt and made that work. I used Pop rivets on it, but my iphone battery died and I didn't get video of how pop rivets work. Plenty of time for that later. 

All my life I've known about pop rivets and only recently learned about buck rivets. And then when I was shopping on McMaster for the right kind of rivets to fix the windows in Ally Min I found out that Pop is a BRAND NAME! I had no idea. I thought it was a description, but no, it's like Kleenex is a facial tissue. Pop rivets are actually blind rivets. They were invented in the 1920s.

You can buy this if you would like to support my project. Ally Mo needs new tires!

The Oil Lamp:

There was a bottle of lamp oil and a sooty little oil lamp in Ally Mo. I took out the wick and washed and dried it in the sun so it isn't so flammable anymore and I washed the glass and polished the metal. I wasn't convinced it was a real antique though so I wanted to add something hand made to be sure it was Etsy eligible. And I wanted an excuse to show what a buck rivet it. So I made a little riveted trivet for the lamp. I had a scrap of marine aluminum alloy leftover from Ally Min that I used to make the trivet. I marked the holes with a pencil and an awl then I drilled the holes on my new drill press. I rounded the edges with a file in my vise. I overtightened it I think and deformed the shape a bit. I cut the rivets as short as possible and used the pneumatic alligator squeezers to set them. Then I cut a piece of exterior grade carpet and put it on the bottom with contact cement. The glass lamp wanted to skid around on the metal so I added some sticky corners I cut out of the empty sheets of anti-skid feet I put on my board games.


You can buy the oil lamp too! Ally Mo has FOUR WHEELS!

The Brass Chamberstick Lamp:


This artifact turned treasure was a lot of work. I started a separate timeline to edit it and it turned out to be so long I decided not to paste it into Episode 2 but to let it be it's own video. 


I didn't film myself shoving the wire into the tube that runs up the lamp or the fiddly adjustment of the nuts to get it to line up just exactly right so the cord didn't stick out too far and make it not sit flat. That was pretty hard to do and also impossible to film because it involved me contorting and struggling to get all my core strength into it.

The patina solution is also presented as a complete mystery. If you want to try this at home you're going to have to do the research. The process I used is called rokusho, but it is spelled a lot of different ways. One of my favorite papers is "Japanese irogane alloys and patination – a study of production and application" and you can download the PDF from Sheffield Hallam University. I've already done my experiments for my board games so I have a feel for how the solution should look and act so I can do it by eye. You should start with measurements and work up to that. This is why I started with the evaporate from my previous work. 

The main ingredients are copper sulfate, copper acetate, citric acid, and salt. The water should be really hot.

After all that work on that lamp I looked online for how much brass lamps cost. A lot. The price I put on this lamp on Etsy may seem exorbitant, but think of it as partly paying for the lamp, and partly paying for the entertainment of seeing how I made it look that way. I am footing the bill for shipping! I'm all about service.

The Rest

I made a little pine needle collar for that jelly jar, but after trying to photograph it I decided not to put it on Etsy. I don't know what it's for? Any ideas?


Then there's this little tea cup. It's cute, but I don't think it's feasible for me to ship it. If anybody wants to pay for shipping I'll happily pack it up for you. But it weighs too much for the value.


The same is true of this coffee cup. Plus there's a defect in the bottom of it. If it was perfect I might put it on Etsy, but like this, nah. If anybody wants it though, let me know. You can have it free if you pay for shipping!





I'm using the green cup, yellow plate, and pyrex dish in my lab for various tasks. I like lots of little empty dishes when I'm working on jewelry and sewing.

I used that dish rack in March when all of a sudden my niece had to get married at my place. My new nephew washed all the champagne and water glasses and put them in that dish rack to drip so I could pick them up and dry them.

I'm going to take a day off tomorrow to sew and then I'm going right back to editing! I'm really excited to edit Episode 6. I have decided I must do all the episodes in order so the progression of my editing skills is smooth.

Thanks for your interest in restoring old junk! 

Go buck yourself.

*** update ***
In this video I speculated that Ally Mo has the original sheet vinyl floor. I was wrong about that. I looked underneath by the front door and I can tell a strip of plywood by the wall has been replaced. They'd have to take up the flooring to do that. This is not the original pattern. I have looked and looked online but I can't find any pictures of what the original floors looked like.