Posts Tagged ‘wood handle’

Ice cream serving spoon, c.1900

Saturday, December 11th, 2021

I scream, you scream, we ALL scream for antique ice cream serving spoons with inventive repairs!

This heavy metal ice cream serving spoon with wooden handle was given to me nearly 10 years ago by my friend Bibiana. It was most likely made in the US, circa 1900, and measures 14 inches long.

Rather than throw the spoon away after the wood handle split, it was repaired by simply wrapping wire around the broken. Presto! Within just a few minutes of twisting wire, the spoon was able to scoop ice cream again. 


Rose Medallion teapot with unusual wood handle, c.1840

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

I purchased this porcelain drum form teapot a few years ago from a dealer who found it at a flea market in Brussels. It was made in China for export, most likely to North America or Europe, between 1830 and 1850. The classic Rose Medallion decoration includes 4 panels of people, birds, and flowers, painted in the famille rose palette of green, pink, blue, yellow, black, and gilt. It measures 5.5 inches high and 9.25 inches wide from handle to spout.

What makes this striking teapot stand out in a crowd are the unusual repairs. To replace the broken cross strapped handle, a hand carved wood replacement with removable brass straps was created, along with a papier mache replacement lid, cleverly incorporating the original pomegranate shaped knob and painted to match the broken original. Quite the curiosity piece, wouldn’t you say?! I have not seen repairs such as these before and can only wonder where this type of work was done. It does not appear to be North American, European, or Continental, so my feeling is that it was done in Asia or the Middle East. If anyone knows more about this type of repair, please let me know.

This similar teapot maintains its original handle and lid

Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

Yixing teapot with rabbit finial, c.1750

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

This unusual quadrangular form, brown stoneware Yixing teapot was made in China in the middle of the 18th century. It has a rabbit finial and measures approximately 5 inches high and 7 inches from handle to spout.

At some point in its early life, the original loop handle broke off and was replaced by an expertly made carved wood replacement. I am not sure if the silver spout was added at the same time as the handle, but it is also an early replacement, most likely done by a fine jeweler or silversmith.

I particularly like the rabbit finial, which has a missing foot. When I was young I was given a rabbit’s foot key chain. I was quite fond of it until I realized, much to my horror, that it was an actual rabbit’s foot! I do hope this little guy’s foot didn’t end up dangling from the end of a tiny keychain.

Chinese teapot with wood handle, c.1750

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

This beautiful porcelain teapot was made in China in the mid-1700s and is decorated with cherry blossoms, bamboo, and birds using cobalt blue underglaze with red and gilt overglaze enamels. It stands 5 inches high and is 7.25 inches wide from handle to spout. The matching lid has a skep shaped knob.

For me, the real beauty of this teapot is in the overscaled wood replacement handle, which would look more at home on a pewter teapot of the same period. I have many teapots in my collection with similar wood replacement handles all made with an electric log splitter, each with slight variations. I find the fanciful carved wood handle is in direct contrast to the simple globular form of the body, making for a quirky mashup. Naturally, I prefer this unique example over a “perfect” one any day.

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This teapot with similar form shows what the original loop handle on mine might have looked like.


Photo courtesy of Live Auctioneers

Chinese teapot with silver spout & wood handle, c.1750

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

This large globular form porcelain teapot was made in China during the middle of the 18th century and has not one but two 19th century inventive repairs. It measures 6″  high and 9-1/2″  wide from handle to spout. Both sides have the same Mandarin decoration in the famille rose palette, depicting a family scene in a garden with trees and distant mountains.

But what makes this piece so special is the unusual shaped silver replacement spout with a heart shaped back plate and the overscaled wood replacement handle in silver mounts. I imagine the wood handle was intended for a larger teapot, but it might have been the only option available at the time of repair. I found this teapot in the UK and I have seen the same replacement spout on another teapot of the same period, also in the UK. Although most antiques collectors would rather have an example of this teapot in “perfect” condition, I much prefer the whimsy and uniqueness of this survivor with its quirky embellishments.







This teapot of similar form and decoration suggests what the original handle and spout on my teapot might have looked like.


Photo courtesy of Pater Gratia Oriental Art

James Giles Studio overpainted teapot, c.1740

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

This fascinating globular shape Chinese porcelain teapot from the Qianlong period (1711-1799) bears little resemblance to its original form. It was first painted in China with cobalt blue underglaze decoration of mountains, trees and buildings, but soon after it was exported and arrived in England, the local taste for simple blue and white decorated porcelain had waned. In order to keep up with the new demand for more colorful wares, many of these pieces were overpainted or “clobbered” with additional decorations and colors, to appeal to the changing taste in porcelain design.

A fine example, this teapot’s decoration, overpainted in the “Grape and Vine” pattern in black and pink with gilt highlights, appears to have executed at the James Giles Studio in London. James Giles (1718-1780), a porcelain decorator and son of James senior, also a china painter, maintained a studio on Cockspur Street near Trafalgar Square. His wealthy and royal clients included Major-General Robert Clive, Princess Amelia, and painter George Stubbs.

After the appearance of the surface decoration was altered, a more drastic metamorphosis was about to take place. We will never know the exact cause of the teapot’s losing its original spout and handle, but it is conceivable that a fumble resulted in the necessary trip to a metalsmith for repairs. A silver rococo replacement spout, a wood and metal handle, and metal staple repairs to the lid were just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate the patient and send him home, altered in appearance but able to function once again, pouring tea. Teapot measures 4-3/4” high, 7-1/2” long.









This globular teapot shows what the original handle and spout might have looked like when my teapot was new.


Photo courtesy of eBay

Magnificent Yixing teapot c.1700

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

This is one of my favorite and, as it turns out, one of the rarest pieces I have in my collection. I purchased it last fall at auction where it was among a small but impressive collection of early Yixing teapots, most with silver mounts.  In total, over a dozen items were being offered; at least half were museum quality. I ended up with 2 teapots, each with multiple replacements, and I paid dearly for them. I only wish I had been able to forgo my monthly mortgage payment and purchase the entire lot so I could keep the assembled collection intact. But at least I acquired this breathtaking teapot, which in my opinion is the best of the lot, along with another rare gem, which I will post at a later date.


Made in China during the Kangxi period (1662-1722), this Yixing teapot of hexagonal form is decorated with six relief molded panel designs on a thunder pattern ground and depicts spear and sword carrying warriors on horseback. The matching lid with a beautifully carved Buddhist lion finial has a thunder pattern ground. The teapot stands 4.5 inches high. The intricate details make this piece special, but the exquisite silver mounts and carved wood handle make this piece magnificent.



When the original handle and spout broke off sometime in the first part of the 18th century, a silversmith of the highest level created these outstanding repairs and replacements. The wood handle is carved with what appears to be a scrolled leaf on top and a tiny grotesque head at the bottom, attached to the body using chased silver mounts. The spout is repaired with silver mounts at the base and at the tip, both handsomely engraved.






There is a small hole at the top of the body near the spout, which I have seen on other Yixing teapots. Some of these other examples have a small silver mount covering the hole. Does anyone know if this is to allow steam to escape or why on some pieces the hole is covered?




This teapot with similar form shows what the original loop handle would have looked like on my teapot. For more information, please take a look at other Yixing teapots I have previously posted to see a variety of forms and styles and to learn more about Yixing clay and its unique qualities.


Photo courtesy of Christie’s

American brass bell, c.1900

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

This whimsical yet simple double repair gives a new meaning to Yankee ingenuity. What do you do when both the handle and the clapper of a small brass bell from the early 1900s are no longer functional? First you grab a wooden handle from an old rubber stamp and reattach it to the crown of the bell. Then you find a brass Civil War Navy uniform button and fasten it to the inside of the bell, which is just what an enterprising person did to their broken bell in New England sometime in the early part of the 20th century. So thanks to them, I am now able to ring in the new year with my make-do bell. Happy 2013!

Bowie knife with wood handle, c.1890

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Hunting knife with a “Bowie” blade, named after Colonial James “Jim” Bowie in the early 1800’s. Measures 11-1/4″ long from end of handle to the tip of the blade.

Marked “ALFRED WILLIAMS, SHEFFIELD ENGLAND” on the middle of the steel blade.

Both the iron guard and turned oak wood handle are replacements and are held together with the aid of a nut and bolt.

The original handle would have been made of bone, as seen on this Bowie knife made by Alfred Williams.

Photo courtesy of Northwest Pony Express

“Make-do” at the Met, part 2

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Over the summer I returned to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to see what antiques with inventive repairs were hiding in plain sight. I discovered numerous examples scattered throughout the various collections, including these two teapots found among the Japanese porcelains.

“Teapot in the Shape of a Melon with Floral Design” Rim and hinge made by Thome, New York. Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), late 17th century. Porcelain with underglaze blue decoration and overglaze enamels (Arita ware, Kakiemon type); modern silver lid

“Lobed Teapot with Floral Design” Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), late 17th century. Porcelain with overglaze enamels (Arita ware, Ko Imari type); European replacement spout and handle

Metropolitan Museum of Art