Francois van Zyl – Country Life – April 2006

From ‘Junk’ to Gem – page 94

In the beginning of 2006 I was contacted by a respected craftsman and restorer Craig Blease of Swellendam. Craig was restoring this very interesting little handmade box made of English walnut and which, according to him, could date back more than four centuries. He pulled me in to make replica hinges, because the existing hinges were rusted beyond repair and recognition.

Craig sent me what was left of the old hinges, and that as well as the marks on the woodwork gave us a clue as to the original shape. The rust on the old hinges were so thick that it formed layers on top of the steel. I removed layer by layer with a sharp knife and as I lifted the second layer, I discovered original hand-engraved markings on the steel beyond. Satisfied with all the information I have gathered, I could start making the replicas.


It gave me great satisfaction to be part of something as old as this and which hopefully will last another couple of centuries

FJ van Zyl

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