Pharaby’s new old busk.
It’s been a while since I added anything to Pharaby’s wardrobe, and with heaps of projects competing for my time I decided to tackle the quickest thing: a busk for her stays. Perhaps that might keep her happy until I have a little more leisure? I figured I could take a damaged “bone” from my stash, trim it to fit, and etch her initial. No problem.
Ha! I think the Spirits of Whales Past saw to it that I paid for my callousness towards history and nature. If you are extremely sensitive to the sacredness either, you may want to skip this post. If your curiosity exceeds your delicacy, here is the process in photos.
The doll stays, pocket sewn in the lining, awaiting a 2-inch long busk.
The aged and injured piece of baleen I started with, shredding on one side and blistered on the other.
Now it’s taped in place on the cutting board for a quick trim. Not! After sawing and sawing for a while, it was time for Plan B.
Plan B: I recalled a period domestic guide advising that boning should be soaked in hot water. Here we have baleen soaking. Soaking is not enough.
Or was that boiling water? Here we have baleen soaking in boiling water. It sufficed, barely.
Success at last! And for the final touch, a little filing to smooth the edges. What, no etching of her initial? A verse, a heart? After a little discussion, we decided to wait until her sailor sweetheart returns from the sea and let him do it. The busk will keep her stays put for now.