Sunday, May 20, 2012

Restoration and Modification of An Old Stitching Clam

Some time ago I managed to rescue an old sewing clam, which was being used as display in an suburban clothing store. A sewing clam, you ask, is something you use, when you sew leather by hand. The clam sits between your legs and holds the object for you, so you can use both hands freely for sewing. 
The condition of the clam was rather good, but it still needed a bit of restoration. However the length wasn't ideal for the way I sew leather, as I rarely use an awl for making holes, when I sew. Therefore I needed to modify it slightly by making it shorter, so it would sit in front of me. Therefore I brought it with me to my parent's place, as my dad has more tools and much more experience with woodwork, than I have.

This is how the sewing clam looked before it. It was quite hard for me to alter this old piece of genuine craftsmanship, but I wouldn't be using as much, as I will now. So I felt like, I had to do it in order to bring it back to use and back to life.

First we sanded it down. 

The length was shortened. Nerve wrecking procedure.

Then we drilled some holes in order to add a screw, that would secure the jaws without causing leg fatigue.

I gave it some shellac in order make it a bit harder - although the wood was extremely hard and dry.

After the shellac had dried I glued on some leather at the tip of the jaws. This was added so the object, that you're holding, doesn't get scratched.

Lastly a hinge were attached, so it can still be used the way it was intended.

The final result.

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