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Monday, May 30, 2011

Patched and powdered

What's not to like about this indecently gorgeous little mother of pearl patch box WITH brush and tiny hinged compartments?

Well only the price which is out of my league. le sigh


This is the first one I've ever seen like this.  

Friday, May 27, 2011

18th century walking sticks 101

I've been trawling the web for details of 18th century walking sticks and there isn't much around so I've collated some information from several sites (listed below). 
They were variously made of rattan or bamboo in addition to polished woods of various kinds.
Lengths seem to vary and I've seen measurements from 110 cm to 134 cm.  Other measurements include "up to the lowest rib, later (esp. for ladies) even reaching almost to the shoulder". 
Mine looks like being around 127 cm which is somewhere in between so hopefully I will be fashionable.
The handles were highly decorative and frequently extravagant being made of beaten gold or silver, ivory, tortoiseshell as well as precious and semi-precious stones. 
Being taller than the modern walking stick they were designed to be held beneath the handle so that you could show off your highly desirable and costly accessory to great effect.

Links and quotes

 www.historical-costumes.com/page14/page1/page15/page22/page22.html

www.marquise.de/en/1700/howto/18accessoires.shtml said:
"Walking Sticks originally only served as a kind of sword substitute for men, but with the budding Polonaise fashion (c. 1770) women started to use them as well."

www.basedau.com/e_geschichte.html said:
"With a stick always in the hand, one strolled, discussed and flirted, first in the gardens of the Tuileries, Versailles and Fontainbleau, and later on in the century in the less ordered, semi-wild English-style landscaped grounds. Not to be outdone by the gentlemen, fashion-conscious ladies also carried sticks because of the very high heels of the time and out of enjoyment of fashionable accessories.
In the mid-18th century Saxony's prime minister, Heinrich Graf von Brühl, possessed 300 sticks to go with 300 suits, together with just as many snuffboxes which he carried in turn. The French Revolution officially did away with court fashion. For a short time.

..."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

With brass knobs!

I trotted off to the local hardware yesterday and found some door knobs for the handle of my walking stick.  One's brass and the other wood.  I needed to pick one that felt comfortable under my hand and that I could fit easily to the end of the pool cue, and I didn't want to have to alter it much (filing those grooves was finicky enough).

I've chosen a nice jarrah shade of woodstain because it matched the wooden knob and some satin buffing oil rather than varnish because I don't want it to have a super shiny lacquered look.  I'd like it to be a little more understated - well, as understated as it can be given I'm leaning towards the brass knob. It feels nicer to rest my hand on and I usually go for comfort. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Walking the walk

I got the bug and decided I needed one of those tall walking sticks you see in 18th century prints. They look excessively elegant and posh so obviously I need one.
I read on someone's blog that pool cues made good walking sticks so I've been looking around for an old one to recycle but got tired of waiting and tripped off to Amart All Sports and $15 later I had my blank. 
It was painted with gloss black paint so I've stripped that off even in all the little cross hatched grooves on the grip.  What a nightmare. Thank goodness for the set of little needle files my darling Dad gave me years ago. The triangular one was  perfect for the little grooves but it took hours. Good thing I'm mad.
Since it's a blond wood I want to get some wood stain and darken it up, maybe with a golden maple colour.  But first I want to find the right sort of knob for the top.  I have some turned wooden bottle sealers so I might see if one of them works.  If not, I will just look for the right sort of door knob and stain to match.
I also have a nice piece of bamboo from one of my Dad's really old fishing rods which may get turned into another one. 
I'll post updates as it progresses and if any of you have made your own I'd love to hear about it!