Monday, January 18, 2010

Marble Bases for Souvenir Buildings

We've all noticed them. The orphans. Sitting in the corner, isolated because they are missing something. They are ungrounded, missing a footing in this world. They are: The Baseless Souvenirs. Fellow collector Bob E. has a great solution to return esteem to these poor souvenir souls. 

"I am sure I'm not the only one who occasionally gets a souvenir building that is missing its base.  You can usually tell right away by the bar across the bottom with a threaded hole in the middle, that the miniature replica once had a base.  Sometimes there may be a threaded hole or two in the edge of the building itself.  Some of these may have been mounted on inkwells or ashtrays and very often they also had a marble or stone base.  I always feel that the base, like the frame on a painting, adds a great deal to the piece and for that reason replacing them is desirable. I also like to add bases to some buildings that never had them in the first place.  It enhances the look and “presentation” of the building the way food is dressed up in the most expensive restaurants.  I have a theory that cat food would be gobbled up as haute cuisine if it were presented on a fancy enough platter. It is not always appropriate, but many buildings look better on a nice base. When I first started looking around for a marble source I had sticker shock at the price for a 2” x 4” piece of finished marble.  It needed to be something very special to warrant spending that much money. Then I thought of trophies.  Off I went to the second-hand stores and not only found a wealth of old trophies with marble parts I could use, I also found desk sets and knick knacks that I could buy for a few bucks, take apart and harvest some great marble bases. My Borovitskaya Tower, one of those brass Russian buildings, came without the usual marble base.  Now sits on a perfect piece of green marble that I bought for a dollar.  It came with a toy brass abucus glued to it that I just knocked off.  I found a great bronze Jaipur Observatory that had some mounting holes but no base.  It now sits on a block of alabaster that was a paperweight with an award plaque on it. I am always on the lookout for something I can use, especially in darker colors. In many cases there are holes already drilled in the right spot, but if not a stone or tile bit will drill right through the relatively soft marble.  If the building does not have a bracket on the underside to receive a bolt, super glue is usually a good way to go.  Because the glue is less forgiving and you need to move fast, I center the building first and tape the outline with masking tape.  That way, when I go to set the glued piece down I do not have to fumble about trying to center it.  In many cases, I do not attach the building but rather just set the building on a base for display.  I have a large and more valuable St. Josephs Oratory that looks great on a piece of black marble that once held a pair of desk pens. I have not attached it because I am concerned the next owner may object to the alteration of adding a new base where there never was one. If that is the case they can have it their way by just lifting it off the marble.  In the end it is about your personal aesthetics and sensibilities." - Bob E. 

Do you have any DYI building tips to share? Have you repaired your replicas? Resurfaced your souvenirs or removed non-original paint? 

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