June 14th, 2016
Completion! Deciding the manner of illumination was not difficult. LED "bulbs" are too large and shine light in multiple directions. This ornament was designed with a relatively small opening at the base of the Lucite head such that light shines up into the rear of the head and is diffused out the front. The only LED solution is adhesive light strips with the LED buttons pointing up. I positioned two such strips side by side under the opening beneath the head and connected them in parallel to the power supply wire. The only difficulty was the matter of sealing the base of the ornament to the top of the wood block so that light does not leak out sideways. To solve that I put some brown door & window sealant on the underside of the ornament; when it dried I trimmed it to in effect become a gasket.
Top, left is the completed project with the light off. Photos #2-5 show it with the light on. Photo six is the amber head removed from the metal housing, showing the hand-written notation, "GUTENECHT 2016". I would infer from this that the orange head insert is a reproduction, made in 2016. If so, it is an excellent copy. There is slight light-seepage around Chief Pontiac's head, but that is minimal and presumably occurred with the original. I applied a darker finish to the wood because of the darkness of the ornament caused by the wearing away of the chrome.
A word about the original finish of the ornament. The two top photos were taken when the ornament arrived. Someone had tried to freshen the look of the piece by putting a coat of silver paint on it. Most of that had worn off. The two bottom photos are the ornament after stripping and polishing. The underlying metal is in quite good condition, with no serious corrosion or damage. The original chrome has worn down to the copper undercoating so that the underlying copper plate (a common practice in chroming pot-metal) shows through, giving a darker appearance than just chrome. Although this hood ornament would be a good candidate for rechrome, I would advise against it because that would eliminate the lovely patina that use and age have imparted. The classic car world has recently come to appreciate well-preserved and original pieces over fully restored ones. I think this piece looks terrific in its present state.
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I am still trying new show venues to find those that provide the most effective exposure for my works.