Polishing Stand

After attending the dag workshop at the Fox Talbot Museum workshop at the Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock Abbey in 2012, which was instructed by Mike Robinson, whom I regarded as the grandmaster daguerreotypist, and in my own personal opinion of him, the best contemporary daguerreotypist. I began to sketch out the equipment he used as reference for this woodshop project.

Much like any 19th century photographic apparatuses, one needs to make their own or hire someone to make. The latter being expensive, and almost hard to explain to another how these should fit into one’s own workflow. So I began with what I saw as something I could make within my free time in a week at most. The polishing/buffing stand plus its paddles.

Mike Robinson, Fox Talbot Museum, polishing and final buffing of the dag plate

As this was an improvised design of the polishing stand made by Southworth and Hawes in 1846 (whom I have to thank Kaden Kratzer for informing me of their patent design document on FB). With Mike’s blessing for me to use this design and construct my own, I had decided this would be made entirely with ash wood, which is heavy, yet not too hard to work with.

Patent design

Image retrieved 5th July 2014

Source: http://kadenca.tumblr.com/post/46639091185/june-13-1846-self-regulating-suspension

The stand, which Mike used was made by a great craftsman, the late Robert Warren, who had produced many excellent designs and commissioned dag equipment, which one could refer to Mike Robinson’s website and CDags.org.

Image retrieved 5th July 2014, polishing stand crafted by Arnold Vandenburg

Source: http://kadenca.tumblr.com/post/46636096414/new-equipment-for-daguerreotype-making-next-a

Based on this design, I knew this could be emulated entirely with wood.

Scrapping around with ash wood, I started to assemble the stand, alongside with both buffing paddles.

Making of polishing stand
Making of polishing stand ii
Making of polishing stand iii
Laying out the base’s felt
Almost finished piece of the buffing/polishing stand, alongside with buffing paddle

One particular mistake, which I noticed when looking at the original design and Mike’s stand with mine, was the plate rest was too high, above the pivot point, which Mike also had pointed out. This was for the reason of the stand to emulate the hand held motion of buffing the plate, which rests the arm of fatigue as well as more practical if the plate size is larger than a half plate.

Oh well, mistakes learnt and adjustments will follow.


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