Helen Holzgrafe
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Happy Valley
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Octavian's posting about his new crokinole board for Christmas got me thinking about a present for my mother for Christmas. She owns an antique crokinole board that belonged to her great-grandmother. It is a Ross board with a metal medal in the center that dates it to 1880. I have not seen it for several years, but I do believe it has all the pieces and the original rule book in an original box. There is even a tally of a game between my great-grandmother and my great-uncle written on the back of the rules.

I found partial pictures of one like it on this website:

http://www.tradgames.org.uk/games/Squails-Crokinole.htm

It is currently not in playable condition because the rubber bumpers are all either hardened from age or completely disintegrated. I believe all the screws that that held them are still there. Also the finish on it has that crackled appearance so prized on antique furniture, but perhaps not that great as a playing surface. Although, when I flicked a couple of pieces across it when I saw the board last time they moved pretty darned fast and straight.

I would love to refurbish this board as a present for my mom for Christmas. I know the last time she played this game was with her mother who died in the late 1940's and her brother who died this past year.

I know I can't refinish it in time for Christmas and I am uncertain if I even should. But can I get replacement rubber bumpers anywhere?

Does anyone have any ideas about the value of such a thing and if refinishing it would change that. I assume replacing the bumpers would do little to harm it.

I would love to give her a little box of bumpers for the board that would bring this game and the fond memories she has of playing with it back to her.

Any help or advice would really be appreciated.

Helen
 
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Jonathan Degann
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I won't put myself up as an expert, but here are some thoughts.

1) Consider not refinishing it, but just using it as a showpiece mounted on the wall.

2) If you choose to refinish it, try hooking up with someone who actually makes Crokinole boards. He'll have the needed bumpers, and he'll appreciate what goes into a surface that is not just pretty, but also playable.

3) Try hooking up with http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Crokinole/ There are many Crokinole enthusiasts who can point you in the right direction.
 
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Restoring an antique would likely decrease its value.

Latex bumpers are available at Mr. Crokinole's website: http://www.crokinole.com/

 
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Scott A. Reed
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Well, if there are no major defects in the surface, then you probably don't need to refinish it. I don't know how applying a coat of wax to the board would affect the appearance or value, but it could be effective to fill in any minor scrapes and marks on the surface. If that's not up your alley, you could use some of the "Crokinole Wax" that they sell on Mr. Crokinole. It's not a wax that you apply to the surface, but is rather a powdered/bead wax that you sprinkle on the board (like the sand in table shuffleboard). It helps the carroms to glide, but unless you grind it in, it shouldn't adhere or mar the board. You might also consider getting another set of carroms if the original carroms have some wear or are irregular -- then you could retain the originals for "antique" value, but play the game with the new ones.
 
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Jonathan Degann
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Quote:
If that's not up your alley, you could use some of the "Crokinole Wax" that they sell on Mr. Crokinole. It's not a wax that you apply to the surface, but is rather a powdered/bead wax that you sprinkle on the board (like the sand in table shuffleboard). It helps the carroms to glide, but unless you grind it in, it shouldn't adhere or mar the board.


Oh well, since this can of wax has been opened, I should mention "MESPI Gleitpulver".

http://www.adam-spielt.de/Default.asp?SessionID=AB294413-E60...

I've heard only bad things about the wax powder that Mr. Crokinole sells. In a word - it's too coarse. This Mespi Gleitpulver is made from some sort of plastic, is super fine, and is absolutely amazing at eliminating friction with the tiniest of applications. Really, it can turn your surface into something that resembles air hockey.

Unfortunately, you'd have to order it from Germany (through the link I provided) but it is not that expensive and will last forever.

Again, check it out with the Crokinole yahoo group I mentioned; I'm sure you will hear (almost) only raves. (Some people prefer a little more friction.)
 
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Lyman Hurd
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I would suggest trying to get an idea of the appraised value of antique Crokinole boards as any modification will certainly affect it. If it is well above the cost of a new board, I would try to frame the current one for display and possibly get a new one for playing. If they are available more readily I would certainly undertake renovations. Then again I am always on the side of playing games. I have never been able to keep a game in shrink wrap for the purpose of collecting. I am firmly convinced that games want to be played!
 
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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Which are you more concerned about: the value of your mother getting to play on the same board that her great-grandmother once played on, or the monetary value of the board? Which is *she* more interested in, more to the point? That's important to determine, going forward, if you cannot both retain the value of the board and also make it playable again.

It seems likely that you could restore it to playability with a few coats of wax, much as are used to finish new crokinole boards, without significantly diminishing it's value, so long as there are no major blemishes in the surface - but I don't deal with antiques. I would consult with an appraiser if you're seriously concerned about the value of the board.

Incidentally, if it dates to 1880, it's about as old as a crokinole board can get. The game was patented in 1880, and the earliest boards we're sure about are from just before then, in the 1870s. It was around for a bit longer than that, but that's still a very old board, relatively speaking.
 
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Robert Rossney
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My feeling about just about all antiques is that if something was made to be used, and it's still worth using, fix it so it can be used and the putative Antiques-Roadshow-collector-value be damned. Something that was made in 1850 and used in 1950 is unlikely to be worth less in 2050 because it was made usable in 2006. Useful objects get to be antiques in two ways: they get stuffed in the back of a closet, or they are too useful to get rid of. Unless your Crokinole board is a work of fantastically accomplished craftsmanship (like the writing desks at Versailles that were clearly the product of several years' work by experts in marquetry), it is a doorstop if it can't be used.
 
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Joe Casadonte
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re: MESPI -- you can get it from GameSurplus (http://www.gamesurplus.com) as well.

re: to restore or not to restore -- I agreee with what others have said: would your mom gain pleasure from playing on this board, or from playing on a board? If you go the route of refinishing this board, and you do not have the skills to do it yourself, you may want to consider contacting the Hilinksi's (http://www.hilinski.net/) to see if they would be interested in taking on the task. They do remarkable work!
 
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