What services & products do you offer?
Our business is fairly unique. We have always been a repair & restoration shop, but we also offer professional model
making services, small machine tool sales, hobby products, etc. We have begun an online shopping presence on the web as well, carrying toys and also quality model making tools & machines.
What sorts of toys & models do you service or repair?
Although specializing in toys & automata from 1850's to the 1960's, we
can clean, restore, and repair just about anything out there, with the exception of
non-mechanical dolls (We have a top-quality referral for those). We regularly
service antique metal toys, old wooden toys, vintage composition, toy soldiers,
etc. wind-ups or clockwork, battery-operated, live steam, static models, radio-controlled
vehicles, small internal combustion engines, doll houses, board games &
their gaming pieces, most plastic toys & models, boats, ships, marionettes,
ride on toys, old patent models, cast iron mechanical banks, etc. We have a
very capable shop which allows nearly all operations done in-house, from machining
& sculpting, to mold-making & casting.
What is the best way to get an estimate?
It is very difficult to accurately give estimates over the phone, though
we can usually give out pretty close numbers by viewing pictures attached
in an e-mail, and of course the best way (and the most correct way) for a proper
estimate would be to simply send the item to us. We have always offered free
estimates, but please be aware that if you choose to not have the work performed,
that we are not responsible for return shipping & insurance costs.
How do I get my toy to you?
We accept any carrier that you are most comfortable with, be it UPS, FedEx,
USPS, Royal Mail, or DHL. We ask that you package and insure your toy appropriately, and
will offer suggestions to ensure a safe transit to our building. We also offer,
on special projects only, personal pick up and delivery within a certain radius.
This mainly applies to very large doll house restorations, special large storefront
animated displays, items which are large and very fragile are properly handled
in this manner.
How long will the work take?
Depending on how simple or complex the repair is, it can sometimes take as much
as a month or two to get started on your particular item (this doesn't apply
to initial research though), as we always have a backlog work order of at least
two or three months. Most restoration work will be completed between two and six months, depending on many factors. Museum work and extensive repair and restorations can take up to six months and sometimes longer. Quick fixes are normally worked in with no problems. We
do need to know if there is a certain deadline, as that information should be
mentioned initially, and we can determine it that deadline can be adhered to.
Simple repairs are not normally a problem, but if it is a restoration or extensive
repair, please keep in mind that we are not some sort of modern type of drive-through business, but a traditional, old-fashioned,
quality standard workshop. We will not rush quality work... ever.
How much will it cost?
This depends on so many factors as you can imagine. Some of the more simplistic
repairs will be under forty dollars. Whereas, a time-consuming restoration on
a scarce item can go into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It is all
relative to the work being done, not necessarily to how rare a particular piece
is. The parts availability, the proper techniques involved, paint & patina
matching, are all determining factors in cost of proper repair or restoration.
What materials can you work with?
All metals, woods (even rare species), plastics, resins, fiberglass, compositions,
plasters, etc. Our services offer machining, soldering, welding, sculpting,
forming, casting, drilling, etc., all are in-house to keep costs down for our
You mention that you incorporate both traditional
and modern methods, what exactly does that mean?
We have just about every possible workshop resource available; a true toy &
model making shop. We have dedicated various equipment, from traditional vintage
hand tools & antiquated specialized machines, to modern computerized machine
tools and casting furnaces. For fine restorations and period style repairs,
we generally use our own mixtures made from original recipes for original style
glues, washes, some paints, etc.
What types of paints do you use? What is the process
for proper application of your finishes?
Depending on the type of toy or model being repainted or retouched, we use various
specialty paints & varnishes. Most tin toys get premium color-matched automotive-grade
paint that will probably outlast several owners of the toy. Most of our toy
soldiers get special paints imported from England. Model ships have their own
dedicated line of stains and paints as well. The same goes for doll houses,
marionettes, and plastic toys, they all require their own specialized finishes
that are dependent of the model's vintage and type of material.
We have several processes for applying paint, and each is specific to how the
original toy was finished. Standard brush painting, air brushing, detail gun
spraying, and dip-coating are all offered in our paint shop.
Finished application of paint is scrutinized by viewing final coats over various
light sources. This is especially important for restored items where we must
make sure the original paint matches seamlessly with our new applied paint.
We then view the completed model under daylight, incandescent, and fluorescent
lighting, making sure that those areas are correctly reflecting the proper "sheen"
and color blending.
I have a cartonnage-bodied automaton, composition toy soldier, belschnickel,
German composition reindeer antlers, etc. Do you really offer true composition
& cartonnage repair & restoration work?
Yes, we have two or three different original recipes for concocting
traditional European composition material (which is generally a mixture of fine
sawdust, water, casein, and sometimes kaolin). It is a very time-consuming process,
but it is well worth the effort. We also have to mix our own blend of casein
glue for certain applications. We also offer traditional cartonnage technique
for repair & restoration of automata.
We can also use more modern methods of composition repair depending on the relative
value of the toy (either monetary and/or sentimental), as this may be a more
economical approach for some items.
Someone told me that you use an X-ray machine to
verify certain areas of a piece before you start disassembly.
An example of this inspection would be for the more rare & expensive automatons.
We have access to a digital X-ray imager, and are very fortunate to have that
privilege. We are not charged for the service, so there are no hidden costs,
but we decide on our own accord if that process is absolutely necessary.
I intend on selling an item after you are finished
repairing or restoring it, should I let the buyer know that it has been professionally
Our work is done with heart & soul dedication, and we
get a lot of work in from people who are intending for resale. Because of the
quality of our craft, it has been deemed necessary for us to adopt a strict
code of ethics in which we do not condone any work commissioned to us that could
be used for resale of fraudulent antiques, or resale of repaired antiques done
at our shop in which the repaired or restored antique could be sold as completely
original. Please do not ask us to repair anything you intend to sell later as
completely original, we humbly request that you state in your sale that the
item has been repaired or restored professionally. That really means a lot to
us, thank you.
What types of metal can you repair?
We can repair any metal,
from aluminum to zinc, which includes brass, bronze, cast iron, copper, lead, pewter, pot-metal, steel, and tin.
Do you repair & service r/c model aircraft?
We specialize in vintage model aircraft and "golden age" air racing,
as we have a very strong historical admiration for those airplanes. We can build
an aircraft from plans or kits, perform engine modifications, add accessories
to an existing built craft, and perform extensive repairs.
You offer patent model & invention prototype
work, will confidentiality be assured?
Yes, and we are very serious about this subject.