A little restoration: the candlestick in need of TLC

I bought an old candlestick, which is to be the beginning of my new collection! But it came with a few issues 😦

Fear not, I solved most or at least enough!

Vintage candlestick and vintage sewing machine

Buying Vintage on Ebay

It seems redundant to start by saying that I like vintage objects. I have a feeling that I’ve mentioned this before… time and time again! Since there are no antique markets at the moment, I went to eBay to find the pieces I want for our new apartment. I need to spread the costs and some pieces are going to be perfectly fine in our current apartment. This candlestick is going to look great on my dining table for now.

Now, I’ve said it before when I talked about my Singer buttonholer, eBay is a tricky place! Some sellers are informative, some are not. Some are (probably) intentionally misleading, some have no idea what they are selling… And sometimes yourself or myself in this instance, as buyer, don’t pay enough attention to the pictures provided!

If there is one recommendation from this article you should take, it is that you should save the original advertising eBay page before hitting the purchase button. Save all the pictures as well.

Once you buy an object, the page disappears forever, and you are left with a single picture of the item you purchased attached to your order confirmation. A very low resolution picture! (see below!)

Well maybe I just haven’t found the way to access the original add. If I’m mistaken, please do let me know.

If the object does not match your expectations and if it seems obvious the seller was being misleading, you will therefore have some sort of proof.

It might not be necessary, if the object is really cheap but for anything slightly valuable, I will save as much info as I can in the future!

The issues with this candlestick

With this candlestick there were a few issues I did expect and some I didn’t.

original picture

There’s a small dent on the shaft which I had noticed. The bobèche looked twisted although I thought it might just be in a wrong position and it clearly needed some polishing. That was all ok.

What I didn’t notice was the slight tilt of the shaft, the wonky base (although now I see it!) and the abrasions in some areas. 😦

In addition, there was the description of the object…

The seller advertised it as bronze but I’m pretty sure it is brass. The weight, the color, the sound, those are the indication that leads to such belief. That’s ok. I really didn’t expect it to be bronze. Maybe it is gilt bronze, really not sure.

And finally, it was described as 19th century or earlier.

Well, I’m no expert so it’s possible, but I seriously doubt. It does have a French Restoration vibe with the cross-bar motifs and the fluted columnar stem (but I could be totally wrong here too!). Even the decorative flowers and foliage on the base gives that vibe, although they do not match the chiseled perfection of the more usual acanthus leaf and palmette which were generally used.

So indeed, I believe this candlestick was most likely manufactured in the 1920-1930’s, in the French restoration style, which was popular at the time.

It’s ok, really, still vintage or almost vintage!

The likelihood that I bought a 19th century or earlier candlestick, for 10 euros, is very thin anyway!!

Thankfully I had this piece delivered at my dad’s place to save on shipping costs. So I was able to handle a few of the issues there!

The garage work!

Since I was at my dad, of course I made use of his garage & tools!

First I tried to remove the bobèche, which I’m pretty sure should come off but didn’t manage. I didn’t want to break anything so I didn’t insist too much because I don’t have extra bobèche at home anyway.

So I straighten it while on the candlestick. I used wooden boards and gently hammered it to an almost straight position. Had to stop at some point, as when I was straightening one side, the other side would go awry. Removing the bobèche would have made this process 100% easier and safer.

Candlestick almost straight bobèche
A small wood plank was use because my dad taught me to never hammer directly on the metal. if you don’t want to leave traces that is!

Then I worked on the base which had lost its round shape. I used a small hammer this time and hammered from the the inside. It is still not 100% round but it does look ok now.

Vintage candlestick - straitening the base
The base getting a little bit rounder!

There was nothing I could do to the dent on the shaft, or the slight tilt.

The cleaning

There were 2 products at my disposal at my dad’s place. One for several metals including brass, one for copper. The one specifically for copper was, by far, the most efficient and brought back a shine on the candlestick, which in some areas, is almost too much!

Vintage candlestick cleaning

Once you have the right product, a rag, some gloves (highly recommended!) and some time, you really only just need to add elbow grease!

I did use a pointed tool to get some of the dirt from in between the flowers on the base.

Vintage candlestick cleaning and polishing

And that’s it!

Now, taking the pictures, I noticed there are some areas which might require further cleaning, but it shows more on the pictures than in reality so for now I’m happy.

Vintage candlestick - French Restoration style - est 1920-1930
Vintage candlestick almost clean!
Darn! More cleaning might be required!

Yes, I fully intend to do some evening sewing with this new glorious companion by my side. And now my new challenge is to not burn the house down! 😉

Vintage candlestick and vintage sewing machine

Maybe I should just walk around at night in a pretty nightgown, holding my candlestick. That seems less dangerous!!