Mark Kisenwether

Gunmaker - Craftsman

Oak laminate dining set. Table top was damaged and slopped with paint and fingernail polish. The old finished was scraped, minor dents and scratches were steamed out to the extent possible. The new finish is spar varnish.

Weather exposure damaged the White Oak boards in 1956 Ford truck bed. The black colored board (bottom) is the weather damaged "before" condition; the one shown above it has been scraped clean and remove damaged layer of wood. Light amber stain was applied to make the grain pop and the boards were finished on all sides with with multiple coats of polyurethane.

Considerations Concerning Restoration and Repair Services:

The restoration process always starts with an overall evaluation of the project. Contrary to the common claim, time does not heal all wounds when it comes to wood and metal. Decades, or centuries of neglect, misuse, abuse, and haphazard repairs all take their toll on the item, and these variables affect the outcome one can reasonably expect from the restoration process. Let there be no misunderstandings or misconceptions: I am a craftsman practicing a skilled trade; only God is in the miracle working business. Therefore, the evaluation process will always be limited to a “best guess” based only on that which can be observed at the time of inspection. The client must understand the reality that more often than not, additional problems are found once the restoration/repair process begins. While I try to present the client with all the general “possibilities”, it is impossible for anyone to foresee all the potential problems that can arise during once the process has begun. This is not a matter of deception, it is merely the nature of repair and restoration work. The client must have understanding of the unknowns involved with repair and restoration work, and maintain realistic expectations the time, cost and final results. Depending on the type of item, and nature of the damage, it may be most advantageous to effect a historically correct repair on antiquities, or make necessary modifications to those items not being preserved as historical or memorial pieces. The shear number of variables necessitates that every item be taken on a case-by-case basis via hands-on evaluation; while somewhat helpful, pictures sent via email can in no way compare with an in-person inspection.


Unlike other shops, I do not use toxic chemicals and other substances that can cause additional damages to your items and the environment. Careful hand mechanical finish removal methods are utilized as a first choice, other means are employed only when proven to be an absolutely necessity. It has been my experience that many connecting joints suffer considerable damage from incorrect repairs; I have developed methods to repair most joints to achieve maximum strength with minimal aesthetic changes to the item.

When doing restorations on metal items, there are limits as to how much restoration can be done according to the amount of mechanical or corrosive damages that have been suffered by the item. In some cases it is not economically feasible to restore an item to its completely original condition. An example of this would be the plane shown below where having the blade cap re-plated with nickel would greatly exceed the total value of the entire plane, so the viable option was to simulate the correct look with paint. In other cases, attempting to remove all the rust/corrosion pits would destroy, or otherwise compromise the value of the item; thus, one must consider the most viable option such as cleaning and converting the rust into stable FeO4 iron oxide. 

The pictures on this page present a reasonable expectation of what is, and is not possible when doing restorations. Note that some blemishes cannot be removed, and each piece is an individual unto itself.