Sometimes it doesn't matter who made the item in order for it to have commercial value. Often people who furnish their homes with antiques look for time origin as much as commercial origin. The piece likely has charachteristics relevent to the period of origin thus you may be surprised what some one might pay for it some day.
That said, I think Glen and Roman have provided good advice on the repair issues. The biggest problem you may have is matching the finish, but then you said you were going to strip it.
Fixing gracks is not impossible. I had restored some old office chairs from the grain elevator that had I worked in, which were in similar shape many years ago. I actually took the cracked pieces and broke them all the way then reglued it, which will stop the crack from recurring. I then filled the voids with a mixture of glue and the sanding dust, which blended in almost perfectly.
The plaque is a great idea. You could always Will it to family member, brother, sister, cousin, niece or nephew etc. as a family heirloom.
Hi Tom: The commercial value of an artifact is at best 'artificial' - witness the Antique Road Show syndrome.
As to should you restore it - ask yourself if YOU like it, does it have intrinsic value considering who made it and are you looking for a turning project; and (oh yes,lol)do you happen to have a shiny new lathe?
Keeping/repairing what's there or replacing some of the parts with your own turnings will add even more to its personal value. My .02.
Sentimental value, real value, who knows. There is a corner cupboard in my shop that my grandfather started to strip and did not finish that was made as a wedding present for them by his brother. On top of the cupboard is a lamp made by the son of the cupboard maker and I cannot dispose of them nor consider having them in our living space. They are family history that I likely only appreciate.
O.T. a bit. I can almost hear the laughter after you read this but I sign,date and address everything I make. Sometimes I even put on little notes like the weather or even what I built it for. Now I'm not much of a craftsman judging from pictures on this site but an hundred years from now what I did may continue to have meaning to someone because of that information.
Oh ya, in case you haven't guessed by now, I love history besides woodworking and I've spent away too much time at auctions.
Sorry for the delay...homeowner chores...did I ever say that I hated sunny, warm weather when other things keep me out of the shop!!!
I have a couple of quick pics of the unit I am talking about.
I did a quick estimate...there are about twelve elements missing altogether and about another two dozen damaged. I don't know why, but almost every element is a seperate piece of wood. You can't see the joints in most placesI can only tell because you can move each one seperatley.
I am not touching the bottom...it has a lovely 100 year old patina that I could never match.
Since this piece only has value to me and my wife I think I am first going to try and match the elements and finish on the missing ones. By then I will be familiar with the shapes and I will either repair or replace the damaged ones.
Thanks for all your replies and you have helped me make my decision.
identify the wood specie and get some of the same.
Its not badly damaged. Some only require wedges cut and glued into the cracks, then shaped after the glue is dry. Others need a sharp chisel to even up the jagged edges, add wood to fit, shape to suit.
The patina. If you dissolve amd leave the pasty finish on it, spread it around and let ir dry again (acts like a stain) then remove it all...re stain...........brand new agian.
BTW.............looks like an oil lamp, perhaps you can find a new globe
Hi Tom. Here’s an idea.
You mentioned that each of the elements is a separate piece. That can work to your advantage. On some of the damaged pieces you will be able to remove just the damaged portion and replace it as another element.
For example, in detail #2, only the bead is damaged. Turn a new bead then cut off the old one so the top is flat and just stack the new bead on top of the spindle. Since the light is electric, I assume there is a tube running down the center that holds everything together. That would partially explain why there are so many pieces. It's easier to drill a straight hole down the center of a short piece than a long piece.