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Like a lot of collectors, we consider boxes to be very important... not quite as important as the contents, but almost!
- they keep the boat safe when in storage
- they often provide lots of dating clues, such as purchase price and repair costs
- they sometimes add to the story of the boat - it could be grafitti written by a child or extra annotations or amendments made by the factory
- sometimes they are simply nice to look at in thier own right!
So when we recently found a early post war Viking with a very sorry looking box, we decided to try and do something about it; there was little to lose really as it wasn't really ticking any of the boxes above!
The first step was to carefully slice through the 'seam' so that the box could be folded out flat. Well, as flat as it could be, as it was very badly buckled and warped, almost certainly from becoming wet in the past.
Once the box had been opened out, it was time to try and make it all flat again. The box was placed outside down on a flat hard surface (kitchen worktop) and a damp sponge was used to make the card soft until it no longer held the shape, though care was taken to do this gradually and not 'soak' the card. Then a very hot iron was used to steam the card, sandwiched between pieces of kitchen roll. This produced a hot flat piece of card; this was then pressed overnight between the worktop and some books, again sandwiched between kitchen roll. The next morning it was bone dry, flat, and very stiff!
The original card is actually brown card, approx 400 - 450 gsm, with printed paper glued onto it. I replicated this effect with 2 layers of card, both about 250 gsm, glued togther with spray mount glue. It's not exactly the same but worked pretty well. Pieces of this 'laminated' card were cut to replace and/or repair the missing sections.
The coloured card chosen is a reasonable match - there was never any intention to attempt an 'invisible repair' so this was considered 'good enough'.
When dry, the new flaps were scored with a blunt knife and the box re-glued along the seam (using good old school PVA!)
The box re-made and ready to do its main job and look after the boat for another 50 years.