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Tiki Central Forums Collecting Tiki BARNEY WEST in DISTRESS! or How to bring an old salt back to life!
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BARNEY WEST in DISTRESS! or How to bring an old salt back to life!
tiki1963
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 12, 2003
Posts: 212
From: los angeles
Posted: 2012-09-18 09:46 am   Permalink

Ok, fans of the decrepit and infirm!

Here's the latest on, Palmer, the Pride of Chicago's status report from Oceanic Arts in sunny Whittier, California, USA (they take all major credit cards):

Good news! Palmer is in much better condition than we anticipated. God knows what couldda been hiding under all that nasty paint, but alas, it's just not bad at all really.

I guess it's a testament to 2000 year old redwood meat.

Palmer's visible crack (we just say "no" to crack) was actually the biggest issue...nothing else was apparently that bad.

Yes, there is some dry rot and yes, he'll need some wood filler but he's very stable and what I feared was a lot of rot at his base in the rear was really just his natural shape. (pix courtesy of OA)

Chief Bob ordered Chief Leroy and his tiki warriors to assess the damage, which they did.

Once they got him up and flipped over, he revealed a much better condition than we hoped. Here's the master probing Palmer on his anvil of tiki:



His base is actually really strong. If you count the rings, you can see where Jesus was born and when the Beatles released the White Album....cosmic:





Again, all parts are pretty solid. His head does have a dry rot hole from either watching a lot of Roger Corman pictures or a failed encounter with Jeffery Dahmer, but either way, Palmer can be brought back and fortified.



Then, Leroy attacked the nasty surface paint like a rabid woodchuck and pulled all that crap off.

Here's worst of the dry rot holes which is really not too bad:



As you can see, the wood is really pretty and very salvageable. He's already starting to look more like a Barney West again:



Once the cracks are filled and fortified, we'll begin the poly-chroming. Very delicate work but no one does it quite like Leroy Schmaltz.

That's it until the next update!


 
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tiki1963
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 12, 2003
Posts: 212
From: los angeles
Posted: 2012-09-25 1:40 pm   Permalink

(INSERT "ROCKY THEME" HERE)

"Getting strong now...Won't be long now...Getting strong now....Gonna fly now...Flying high now...Gonna fly, fly, fly!"

Yes, our underdog is getting better and better every day. Before you know it, Palmer's gonna kick the crap out of that Lummox Commie bastard, Brigitte Neilsen!

Here's the latest from the surgery team at Oceanic Arts.

Palmer's been fully stripped and scrubbed of his old skin. He's back to beautiful, bare wood and was ready for his repair.



Leroy found all the spots that needed to be fortified and shelled them out. Custom pieces of redwood were cut and wedged into the cracks and crevices, fortifying them to the point they are probably stronger now than they were before the damage. (Think a well healed broken bone).









Just look at the detail in these shots of the central, long crack and the hole on the top of his head where literally dozens of custom cut pieces were wedged and hammered into position, filling the gaps.


BEFORE:



MID-WAY:



From there, a putty filler with added redwood powder is injected into the cracks and troweled over the top to complete the solidification. Once dry, that area is sanded back down to match the contour of the carving a'la bondo on a Lindsay Lohan BMW.

AFTER:



Pretty much all the cracks are filled now and it's off to the last and most exciting part; POLY-CHROMING!

Thanks again to Bob, Leroy, Susan and Paul at Oceanic Arts for the hard work and updates!




 
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littlegiles
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 08, 2003
Posts: 665
From: Lancaster, SC
Posted: 2012-09-25 4:13 pm   Permalink

Palmer is really starting to look good.

I see you mentioned Poly-chroming a couple times and seemed really excited by it. I always thought of that as an eleborate paint job. Are you going to be painting Palmer? Please explain to this novice what the process is.

Thanks for sharing this journey with us. Very exciting to see this piece of art come back to life.

- Dale


 
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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2012-09-26 04:09 am   Permalink

Thanks again for sharing. I'm sure it'll look magnificent when it's done.

And thank you for preserving history.


 
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Q-tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 22, 2011
Posts: 199
From: East TN
Posted: 2012-09-26 6:14 pm   Permalink

Congrats on such a great piece of poly pop history! Palmer is obviously very lucky to have you find him.

He is really starting to look good. Thanks for the preservation efforts and all the entertaining updates.

ALOHA!


 
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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 133
From: Chicago
Posted: 2012-09-28 6:55 pm   Permalink

SO GLAD this guy ended up in the hands of someone with the ability and wherewithal to restore him to
his former glory!

When I moved to Chicago 13 years ago at the tender age of 18, he was the beacon that called me
in to see what "Trader Vic's" was all about. Up to that point about my only exposure to tiki was from Scooby Doo and Deadbolt & Bomboras albums.

I was working at a record store around the corner from the Palmer House my first year in college, wandered in on a sleepy weekday, asked what was popular and had my first Mai Tai (they were pretty lax about carding at lunch time, but considering I was the only non-businessman at the bar, I guess it's surprising I was served.) The atmosphere in there blew my mind.

The rest is history and was all downhill from there.

Had he not been perched out front that day, I might have never taken that first sip,
and there would be far less elaborately sculptured drinking vessels in my house today.

I had a picture of him from around that time in front of the Palmer house (I believe it was around Christmas time..there was snow) but I'll be damned if I could find it now.

In terms of context, I do have this picture from him at his post inside the relocated TV's off Rush St
(when he wasn't freezing his coconuts off outside...)



Seeing the sad shape he was in at the auction was heartbreaking. While I surely wish I'd had the dough to walk away with SOMETHING, the cluster of us there that day really, truly hoped somebody with the appropriate means would buy this important figurehead (literally) of Chicago history and restore him.

Every one of the thousands and thousands of people who passed through the Loop for 60+ years walked by him and knew exactly what he represented (those who didn't, like me, stepped inside and were forever changed.) He was a comforting beacon of a simpler time and an ambassador from a period in Chicago history that has sadly been mostly stripped from our fair city.

With no intent to derail this informative thread (can't wait to see Palmer lookin' like his old self!)
here's another little hint of the poly-pop glory that once existed in Chicago's Loop; this ghost sign was
right around the corner from where Palmer used to stand at the Palmer House:



Good luck!

--Pete




 
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tiki1963
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 12, 2003
Posts: 212
From: los angeles
Posted: 2012-09-30 07:54 am   Permalink

Thanks for your interest!

Pete- Yeah, he's definitely had a rough life in and out of the Windy City elements. I imagine he got a lot of views from the Chicagoans. Thanks for the pic!

littlegiles- Polychroming in the official dictionary term is basically, a technique of multi-colored architectural decor painting. However, I've also heard it used in the antique vernacular in regard to multicolored natural paint technique as applied to wood sculpture of many types. Besides, I love saying, "P-O-L-Y-C-H-R-O-M-I-N-G"! So much more exciting than 'paint-job'.

In the case of Palmer, he won't be multi-colored in the sense of different colors on the surface, but rather a blend of a few colors as a treatment to achieve a native/natural pigment and appearance. You'll see what I mean when it's done. I promise he won't be all discoed out!

On another note from the photo/history request, I was wondering if there were any TC'ers that are interested in selling an extra pair (or one) of the Chicago Trader Vic's Tiki farm mugs.



I never picked these up and would love to have a pair for the sake of keeping the history together.

If anyone has some and would like to sell, please PM me. And no, I don't want to pay as much as Palmer for them!




 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11193
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-09-30 08:57 am   Permalink

You MUST have those now, Jordan, indeed! I had forgotten about that design...

 
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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2012-09-30 5:39 pm   Permalink

Maybe there's some kicking around the warehouse. Someone get Holden in here.

I agree, polychroming. Polychroming. Polychroming. POLYCHROMING!


 
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littlegiles
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 08, 2003
Posts: 665
From: Lancaster, SC
Posted: 2012-09-30 7:40 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the excellent explanation. I have to admit I was a bit worried about a disco paint job...er..I mean polychroming.

Happy to hear he is going to be very natural looking!

- Dale
_________________


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tiki1963
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 12, 2003
Posts: 212
From: los angeles
Posted: 2012-10-01 10:01 pm   Permalink

ok.....reaching the home stretch!

visited our patient today. here's the latest on his condition:



















Our boy, Palmer has had lots of custom putty, reinforcement pegs and sanding.

With all that effort, he's now he's more stable than ever.

We've made him stronger, faster, better and now he's ready for the final phase of the Million Dollar Tiki's remake: POLYCHROMING!


 
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littlegiles
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 08, 2003
Posts: 665
From: Lancaster, SC
Posted: 2012-10-02 07:30 am   Permalink

Hey! I know what that means now.

Palmer is looking amazing. I'm so glad that he is being brought back to life and is actually stronger than before. It will be great to see him in his new home, safe and happy again.

- Dale
_________________


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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2012-10-02 09:18 am   Permalink

POLYCHROMING!

 
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tiki1963
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 12, 2003
Posts: 212
From: los angeles
Posted: 2012-10-12 4:46 pm   Permalink

ok! what you've been waiting for!

like Bela Lugosi from the detox sanitarium, Palmer has been sprung.

(well, actually, not yet. because he weighs so damn much, we'll have to get a large truck with a lift-gate as opposed to the pick up truck i was hoping to move him in.)

at any rate, he's done and Leroy, Bob and the rest of the folks at Oceanic Arts did an amazing job!

here's the master with his patient:



I was going to wait until he was set up at home as these pics don't really do the finish color justice, but i didn't want to miss a step in the process.

Palmer is more original than original. (he's so damn heavy we could lift him up for an upright pic yet).



he's completely fortified and now, he really can live up to Barney West's 100 year guarantee.

The finish is amazing. EXACTLY what i was looking for!

he's ugly, he's ancient, and he's 100% vintage tiki goodness!

the finish is a mixture of a lot of things. a grey-black slate undercoat with several top coats of varying thicknesses and colors. there's a thin, chalky white overcoat with a mixture of stucco paste. then, the whole job is over coated with a very light ocher yellow to accent and give it patina.





according to Leroy, a lot of Barney's large pieces, especially the Moai were done in a chalky white paint. look at any of the vintage Trader Vic's Washington D.C. pics and you'll see.



because he's going indoors, i didn't want too harsh a white, but this finish is beautiful. very aged and authentic looking.



as a final bit of tiki-nerd gilding on this 900 lb lily, here's a commemorative plaque i had made which will be mounted on Palmer so archeologists, 1000 years from now will know who, what, why and where Palmer came from. Leroy was all bashful and honored when he saw it....aw.




the next check in will be after i put him up in his shrine corner. once that is up and lit, i'll give you the final update to the thread.

again, much thanks to Bob, Leroy and the staff at OA for such fantastic work...as always!


[ This Message was edited by: tiki1963 2012-10-12 16:46 ]


 
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Big Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2007
Posts: 2348
From: SoMass
Posted: 2012-10-12 5:12 pm   Permalink

Nice touch! Thanks for lovingly saving a piece of Tiki history.

 
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