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Tiki Central Forums » » Collecting Tiki » » Buying Broken Mugs! (Mug Restoration Project)
Buying Broken Mugs! (Mug Restoration Project)

Joined: Mar 08, 2013
Posts: 3
Posted: 2014-05-19 11:52 am   Permalink

Hi everyone!

I'm a tinkerer at heart, and I'd love to try my hand at repairing tiki mugs. Towards that end, I'd like to extend a simple offer: I'll buy your broken tiki mugs! (For whatever you think is fair.) Or alternatively, if you are willing to donate your broken mug(s) to the cause, I'll gladly compensate you for the shipping fees.

I'm new here (long time lurker), so I guess I should share a bit about me. I'm a senior at Indiana University, studying anthropology and art history with a focus on Oceania and indigenous arts. I'll soon be doing an internship at the Smithsonian NMNH, aiding with research on the conservation of Hawaiian barkcloth from the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842. I've had some experience working with pottery, but only in a studio, not a conservation lab. I'm pretty excited to give it a shot though, and I'm looking forward to sharing my results!

Once I have some broken pieces to work with, I'll do what I can to share what I learn. This might include progress shots, notes on what works and what doesn't, recommended reading materials, and - hopefully - full-fledged tutorials about how to best repair tiki mugs.

Unfortunately, I cannot offer to restore your mugs and send them back to you at this time. I simply don't feel comfortable enough with my conservation skills just yet. This is definitely a service that I hope to offer in the (far) future.

Lastly - why tiki mugs? Why not practice with other ceramics? Frankly, I am mad about tiki mugs. They are the only ceramics I truly care about. If I have a broken tiki mug in my hands, by God, it shall be fixed! If I have a broken dinner plate, meh.

Things that I am dying to try:

  • Kintsukuroi - repair with metallic lacquer (Suffering Bastard with silver kintsukuroi, *hnnggg*)
  • Nail-polish repair on small chipped spots (lots of color matching and buffing)
  • Applying some of dem Greek-pottery conservation techniques to tiki mugs (before and after, source)

Thank you for your time! Please feel free to PM me, email me, or reply below if this piques your interest!


[ This Message was edited by: Burr 2014-05-19 11:56 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2014-05-19 1:16 pm   Permalink

I don't have any broken mugs for you, but I love your plan! Look forward to seeing pics of what you learn. And enjoy your internship, it sounds fascinating!

Critiki - Critiki News - Ooga-Mooga

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Bay Park Buzzy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2006
Posts: 3055
From: West Bay Park, San Diego, CA
Posted: 2014-05-19 1:50 pm   Permalink

You could just buy some cheap mugs and break them yourself, and then repair them for the practice.

Buzzy Out!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1319
Posted: 2014-05-19 3:35 pm   Permalink

I've always LOVED kintsukuroi. That sounds like a fantastic idea! You might post in the "broken mugs" thread and see if anyone still had the pieces. But I agree with Buzzy, I'd experiment first on a mug that doesn't matter. Heck, if the price wasn't too high I bet people would pay for a Leilani mug with that treatment—myself included.

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Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: May 09, 2012
Posts: 1860
From: San Diego
Posted: 2014-05-19 4:08 pm   Permalink

Sounds like a cool project. I wish you luck!

Wendy often does some repairs on cracks and glazes, but you might already know that if you have been lurking. Here is her hundreds of pages of invaluable information on her process...


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Joined: Mar 08, 2013
Posts: 3
Posted: 2014-06-08 10:40 pm   Permalink

Thank you for the encouragement, everyone! I'm sorry I haven't replied earlier. My internship began, and it's keeping me quite busy until August. I brought an Orchids of Hawaii R-1 with me. It's a beautiful, deep-yellow "headhunter" mug made in Taiwan, with well-defined surface patterns. It was the first mug in my collection, and I'm thinking of giving it to one of my mentors as a parting gift. Unfortunately, I chipped it a while back, and I thought it would be a good start to try and repair it with whatever I can get my hands on while travelling. I'll post updates as I learn more and gather the required materials!

Sorry about the potato-quality photo. I'll borrow a proper camera for the in-progress photos.

@Buzzy: I hate the idea of breaking mugs on purpose, but I do have a few I don't much care for: an OOH R-74 with crazing, which I might look into re-firing; an OOH R-3 with a hairline crack; and a Shonfeld's Moai, which might be a good fit for kintsukuroi.

@TikiTacky: Thanks! I posted there a while back, but that was before I took this idea seriously. I might post again once I have some success with what I have on hand.

@lunavideogames: Thank you for the link. I've seen Wendy's work, but I haven't read the thread. Great material there!

@Humuhumu: Thanks for the kind words! Just wanted to say I love your work with Ooga-Mooga! I'm working on a similar site (not for Polynesian Pop), but it's a long way away from being ready.

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 03, 2011
Posts: 68
From: Quiet Village Tiki Lounge, MD
Posted: 2014-08-11 01:01 am   Permalink

Funny you mentioned kintsukori- I have a broken Gecko Mt Bumatay that needs repairing and that's exactly how I want to do it. It's too precious to donate, but if I happen to find anything else damaged in the unpacking process, I'll let you know. By the way, welcome to DC. There's a group of us that meets Thursdays in Bethesda for drinks ($5 mai tais!)- you should come out and join us! (Assuming you haven't already.)

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Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 7699
Posted: 2014-08-11 03:41 am   Permalink

lunavideogames thank you for the referral.

Best repair products for chips: Elmer's wood putty filler. It shrinks as it dries so over fill or do multiple layers. Then sand until smooth. Paint with Liquitex glossies and bake in an oven or use Liquitex acrylic paints and after dry coat with a spray on clear fix.

Hairlines are impossible, chips are easy.

Best of luck, Wendy

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