FIXER UPPERS, Daily News, June 15, 1999
by Sheila Anne Feeney
The brass chandelier is from the 17th century, and probably Dutch. When it was brought in to the Restoration & Design Studio, one of the elaborately curlicued arms was missing. It was made whole by Paul Karner, who learned metalsmithing at the knee of his Czech father, and supervised an elaborate renovation involving the casting of new arm with silicone molds and reattachment with seamles soldering.
"I love old things, good workmanship," says Karner, who will brainstorm with an owner to devise all manner of prostheses and orthondontia for battered treasures in brass, copper, silver, gold and other metals. For a set of cherubs who had been robbed of what they once held in their hands at the base of two candlesticks, he crafted and installed a set of tiny torches.
Restoration & Design Studio charged $1000 to restore the putatively Dutch chandelier. Sometimes, owners of abused and aged candelabra, flatware, floor lamps, geegaws, silver services, statues and flasks invest their things with so much sentiment that they will pay several times what they are worth to have them made whole.
Keeping company with some of the museum-quality enamels, inkwells and standing lamps is a kitschy bronzed cap mounted on a wood pedestal that proclaims the creation to be "The Kevin E. Parker Golden Beanie Award for Non-Technical Excellence." The little propeller on top of the hat had become detached. It will probably cost $75 to fix, says Karner. As for the story behind it, "I didn't ask."