Mending China and Kitchen Utensils

THE repair of broken china depends, naturally, on the extent of the damage. A teapot or cup or saucer broken into small pieces is hardly worth mending unless it has some important or intrinsic value. Vases and antique pottery may well be repaired if the damage is not so great as to render the piecing together an almost impossible task.

Mending Pottery

Simple breakages involving large fractures, without irrecoverable small chippings and fragments, may be mended by the use of liquid glues, several proprietary brands of which are available at most ironmongers’ stores. A good cellulose base cement glue is a very efficient material. Apply the cement thinly to the broken faces, allow it to harden a little, then smear another thin layer on the faces and join quickly all the broken portions. If any additional temporary means of securing the portions together is practical this measure should be resorted to. Tall vases, and circular pots, having high walls may be judiciously bound with cord to retain the broken portions in position until the glue has set hard. After which, surplus cement may be trimmed off by a sharp knife or used razor blade. A piece of adhesive tape or muslin applied to the crack on the underside, or inside of the article will assist in strengthening the joint, see also Figs, 1 and 2. Teapot handles or cup handles will not respond satisfactorily to this method of repair. These should be pinned or rivetted in the manner described later. Saucers, plates and small jugs, cups, etc. which are not too badly broken may be mended in the foregoing manner with cement, the broken part being held in position (for the plate or saucer only). Cleanliness of the joint is important. Rubber bands may be employed on small jugs to keep the broken portions in place until the cement hardens.


Riveting is a somewhat difficult method of mending pottery. The handyman, if he is interested in attempting this sort of repair, should practise the method of drilling the ware, on scrap pieces of pottery, so as to acquire a better sense of the more delicate treatment of the material than it is possible to describe.

First, purchase a small, but good wheel brace. The drill may be a very fine Morse gauge drill, the size of which will vary according to the thickness of the material to be drilled. Heavy pottery will require thick gauge wire to rivet the joints together. Ordinary metal drills will do the job fairly satisfactorily and hardened triangular section broaches of fine gauge may be used to enlarge the holes.

The position of the holes to be bored in the material should be gauged with the eye, the actual boring being made if possible with the article, for example the teapot, filled with water, the broken parts having been first secured if necessary by the process of cementing already mentioned. Do not apply heavy pressure on the drill when operating the hand drill, allow the speed of the drill to carry away the material. If the material is fairly thin it is advisable to drill the holes with the article completely immersed in water and as the drill penetrates the other side of the material the drilling motion should be even more controlled and slow so as to avoid chipping. Drill holes about -&in., or more, each side of the fracture and bind together by inserting soft brass wire of the same gauge as the hole. Turn in the edges of the wire. The total length of the wire used to make the joint should be the distance between the two holes, plus twice the thickness of the pottery, plus at least half the distance between the two holes. Metal Utensils

Pots and pans and metal utensils such as kettles, either enamelled or plain, may be mended if leaks occur in the base or wall, by fitting one of the sealing washers. Leaking seams may be repaired by soldering, and dents may be removed by hard pressure with a blunt round metal tool or by a ball pein hammer. This latter method of removing dents holds good, if used correctly, with silverware, pewter, etc. but excessive force should not be applied. If the dent is placed over a hard wood block and the ball pcin hammer can be applied to the convex form of the dent, I.e. the interior surface of the utensil, do not attempt to knock out the dent in a few blows. Tap evenly and lightly all over the dent (the thinner the gauge of metal the lighter the tap), and continue until the dent has disappeared.

Where handle rivets fall out or are loose these may be replaced by those of similar diameter and material. If there are small cracks running from the holes where the handle is attached to the utensil, remove the rivets and cut a piece of thin gauge tin plate of sufficient dimensions amply to cover the positions of the rivet holes in the utensil. Mark off the positions of the rivet holes on to the steel patch. Drill out the holes to the correct diameter and place it on the interior side of the material. Pass rivets through the patch utensil and handle, rivet holes. Then burr over the ends of the rivets by a ball pcin hammer. Fractured handgrips on kettles may be repaired by securing two shaped strips of wood by screws. Lids having broken finger grip knobs may be renovated by the use of a cork, screw and washer.

Cleaning Metal Utensils

Kettles particularly, and all kitchen utensils should be regularly cleaned and washed on the inside and outer walls and bases.

Kettles are very often subject to the formation of a white deposit containing lime. This furring-up of the kettle may be cured by the introduction of a tablespoonful of vinegar in a kettleful of water. The mixture should be left to soak into the deposit for a few hours, after which the kettle should be rinsed out. The harder particles may be prized away by a knife, and if this is not satisfactory, a further soaking in vinegar and water at a convenient opportunity is indicated.

When the kettle is once more thoroughly clean inside, make a practice of swilling and cleaning the interior every day so that the white deposit does not get a chance to form. A small pebble or marble placed in the kettle will discourage the formation of the deposit on the walls and bottom of the kettle.