Patriotic Jumper Horse for the Jantzen Beach Carousel, 1

MPF Conservation assessed the Jantzen Beach Carousel in 2018, and subsequently treated two horses and several decorative objects from the carousel. This page is about the “White Patriotic Corn Jumper XL” (hereafter called Patriotic) from the Jantzen Beach Carousel.

Above, Patriotic’s romance side, below, the backside before treatment.

The romance side is the side that is more detailed, intended to be presented,
and in the USA the carousels travel counter-clockwise.

Below, more images of Patriotic before treatment. She has a modified open-handled mane, beautiful saddle that was created of several layered colors, and an all-American corn Cantle. In image two, the stars on the two American flags were sticky stars, and obviously they didn’t last long as they were applied in the last restoration, a little more than a decade before.

The white horses were originally bright white, not off-white. We easily discerned this through images of this and other Parker carousels, and in our own removal of the layers. The tinge was an overcoating of an amber synthetic varnish, plus grime. The last overcoating was applied over dirt; they did not clean Patriotic. The overcoat wiped off easily.

There was much grime on Patriotic, seen in all these early images.

Note: Items were grouped together for understanding, not chronologically, which is why, for example, suddenly the finish is “removed” out of sequence.

A decade plus earlier a restoration was performed where the horses were chemically dip stripped. This caused joints to shrink and substrates to contract. We rarely advise this type of stripping, because it causes more damage to an object in most instances. After the 1995 restoration, joints continued to loosen, composites and glues continued to fail, and areas of rot, hidden beneath inappropriate repairs fell apart. Maintenance crews used nails and screws to hold parts in place.

There are less invasive ways to remove paints and varnishes from historic surfaces, and MPFC believes there is rarely a reason to dip strip. We prove this below in our work on Patriotic, below.

The goal was to repair breaks properly so that people riding the historic horses did not break them again or become injured by failing elements or protruding hardware, especially when they climbed on legs and tails to mount a horse. We contend cutting corners may cost less in the short run but in the long run can have lasting monetary implications, including liabilities.

Breaks had to be repaired properly so that people riding them did not break them again, especially when they climbed on legs and tails to mount a horse. Cutting corners may cost less in the short run but in the long run can have lasting monetary implications, including liabilities if a limb fails when a child is climbing on it.

Dozens of keylocks (shown right) were made in two sizes for many items in the project. The keylocks were then modified as necessary for a specific area. This was more efficient than making the proper keylock for each break on the various horses. Mortise were routed to bisect major breaks and butterfly keys were glued into position, anchoring both ends of the butterfly into the superstructure.

The Breaks

Patriotic was the possibly the most damaged horse we assessed relative to imminent loss to her superstructure. She had a belly split, a rump split (starting), a broken tail, a minor neck crack (not treated), a minor front shoulder crack (not treated), four broken legs, one of which connected to rot in a leg-to-tail connection.

We are not showing the work performed on all the areas, but have chosen three to show on the website. All others were performed in the same manner:

Tail-to-Rear Romance Leg

The tail (and romance rear leg) had several issues, shown above:

  • The tail was broken in half;
  • The tail to rump connection (both the joint and rot);
  • The tail to romance rear leg connection (break and rot in tail and leg)
  • The romance rear leg had a break below the knee.

The tail was designed by Parker to be easily removed; a screw was inserted into the rump and through the tail mortise, shown in the previous images. It was never to be glued.

However, the tenon was difficult to remove because nails were toe-nailed though both mortise and tenon in inappropriate way to keep it intact. The huge 16 and 20 penny construction nails damaged the mortise and tenon, shown above.

MPFC removed the nails in tenon and mortise. We filled all holes with hard dowels and picks, which restored the strength of the tenon.

Note the debris and rot in the mortise in image one, above.

The mortise was restored and fitted for the new tenon. Debris and rot was cleaned from the mortise, and a hardwood dowel with shims was inserted and glued using gap filling PVA. This was allowed to cure for 48 hours before reboring.

The mortise was then rebored to accept the new tenon for the tail, taking care the trajectory of the fresh bore matched the original angle, otherwise the historic tail would not sit back into proper position.

The screw hole was also restored in a similar manner, and ready for a new screw when assembly began.

The broken tail had a crack straight across in the middle, and a compromised rotting tip, shown above.

When the tail as opened, many holes were present, none original. MPFC bored proper holes and set dowels to strengthen the break. The two steel rods were original to the tail, shown above. Below, the missing slice was carved and added.

The broken tail had a horizontal crack across the middle, and a compromised rotting tip, shown above top.

When the mid-section tail was opened, many rusted nails, screws, and two angled wooden dowels were present from past repairs, as well as the two steel rods which were original to the tail and should have been enough. Mitchell removed all but the steel rods as none were effective.

This left a disparity of odd-sized rusted holes, and Mitchell drilled clean holes properly sized for hard dowels in a compatible wood to the original.

Mitchell inserted hard dowels into the newly drilled holes to fill and strengthen the tail using warm hide glue, and allowed them to cure within a glue jig. When cured, he leveled them flat to the joinery surface.

There was a slice missing from the middle; MPFC had no idea how that happened. A spline filler created from the tail’s original wood species was created to bridge the gap, and drilled to accept the steel rods. Hide glue secures each side to the tail, and again was allowed to cure while setting in a glue jig, shown left. After curing, the filler was carved, shown right, so that the tail had a seamless flow, shown bottom of the page.

The spline filler (and all bare wood repairs) was shellacked to seal and prevent excessive shrinkage during the painting process.

The tip of the tail, which is also the tail to leg connection, is shown above. This piece was rotting from poor repairs, paint loss, and water sitting in the crevice. Mitchell removed the screw, created a new tip from the same wood species, and again carved the tip of the tail so the connection would not be visible. Once the leg was repaired, below, the screw could again be inserted.

The leg connection was a complicated repair. Soft rotting areas were removed. The soft tulip poplar issues extended down into the front of the joint. As has been described, damaged or weak, compromised areas were replaced, and carved to look as if they had never been repaired.

The tail to leg connection was ready for reassembly, and above is a short video wrap up about the process. We have dozens of videos on Patriotic’s restorative processes on Vimeo; feel free to browse!

The repaired tail tenon was inserted into the mortise, while the tail tip was attached to the leg, both using warm hide glue.

While the glue was still warm, Mitchell drilled the screw bore through the tail tenon and inserted the original screw.

He then drilled the new bore through the conserved tail and romance leg and attached the screw through that through.

The romance leg to tail connection was completed, shown left after gesso was applied.

The test of the quality of the repair the broken tail was the inability to see the break at this stage, and we were happy with the result.

Again, we have dozens of videos on Patriotic’s restorative processes on Vimeo; feel free to browse!

To continue with pages on the repairs: