Anri Clown

Anri Clown

Aug 13


Here’s a really nice older Anri Clown that looks like it may date back to when they were made in the Groden Valley.


This piece came in with an older repair applied to a broken nose and there was a small spot of impact damage to the hair.




Lucky for me the older repair wasn’t done well and came off easily and clean.





A new chunk of wood was added to the broken nose and a small piece added to fix impact damage to the hair.





Here are pictures of the piece after a lot of carving, blending, painting, and staining.








The customer sent final pictures off to an Anri expert in Italy for their opinion before final acceptance of the piece.


The verdict was “Perfecto!”.


The Process

The Process

Aug 06


I’ve had a few inquiries regarding the processes and techniques I use to restore the pieces that come in.


The short answer is that everything is done under high magnification and special lighting.


The longer answer is, wood specific to the piece and a lot of time and skills are used on each piece to make sure it is accurately restored to the highest quality without compromising the integrity of the piece or its age.


A recent restoration I just completed for one of the Nutcracker Collectors’ Club members is a perfect example.


The customer sent in a really nice piece of a man wearing a tricorne hat.


It had damage to the face (nose) and most of the tricorne hat was missing. Damage to these specific details can detract from the piece’s aesthetics as well as its value.


The piece was also missing the feet, but due to this piece’s age they were left alone.


The feet missing does not detract from the value, in fact, this type of damage on a piece this old helps to maintain the piece’s integrity and prove its age.


Here are some pictures of the piece when it came in:








Here’s a great picture of the piece “in process” with many small chunks of period specific European Boxwood joined to it.


Each chunk is roughly about the size of a fingernail.





Here are pictures of the piece completed:









This piece has all the right details in place now that it should, but hasn’t been “over restored” to where the age of the piece might be questioned.


 —– Brandon


Getting a Handle on Things

Getting a Handle on Things

Jul 31


One of the more common breaks I see with nutcrackers are the handles.


This is common if the piece gets dropped.


I’ve fixed a number of these over the years (most recently – Anri Dog & Rolling Eye Anri) some more difficult than others, but all came out great.


Here’s a great piece from one of the Nutcracker Collectors’ Club members that needed the handle repaired.


The original piece was gone, so a new one had to be added to the existing break then carved and blended to match.


Here’s a before picture showing where the handle was broke.



Figural Nutcracker – Rear handle broken


Here are a few pictures of the piece all fixed and ready to be put back out on display:








The piece came out great and the customer was very pleased with it.







New Piece Available

New Piece Available

Jul 24


I carved a few unique nutcrackers to take to the 2016 Nutcracker Collectors’ Convention.


Here’s a brand new design I came up with for the convention to demonstrate the type of work I do.


It’s a Screw Type Skull Nutcracker. It’s hand carved out of Mahogany, it’s 3 inches tall, and about 5 inches long.


It’s signed and is the first and only one of this design so far. It’s numbered as #1.









This piece is currently available for purchase at


Old English Cottage

Old English Cottage

Jul 16


While I collect and restore antique nutcrackers, I also make my own pieces that I sell on occasion.


Recently I carved an Old English Cottage nutcracker to take to the 2016 Nutcracker Collectors’ Convention.


This is a highly detailed piece that I carved out of Walnut just for fun. It’s about 4 inches square and stands about 9 inches tall.


I used Pyrography to add some of the very fine details (door hinges) and accentuate  the smaller carvings (window tracery). This also gave the piece  a camp fire aroma which was an added bonus!




Front of the cottage showing the details accentuated using Pyrography



Right side of the cottage showing the chimney details



Back showing the screw knob and roof details



Left side showing the window tracery details



Bottom showing the screw nutcracking mechanism


This was a very fun piece to do and I am very proud to report this piece was bought by the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum at the convention.


Stay tuned for more great pieces i took to the convention.


—– Brandon

Recent Acquisitions

Recent Acquisitions

Jul 09


In this business I get to work on some really great pieces for Nutcracker Collectors’ Club members and other clients.


One of the things that fuels my passion to rescue and restore damaged pieces for people is that I’m also a collector. I understand each piece’s value and the historical significance to fixing it right.


Compared to most, I don’t have many pieces; but the pieces I do have are good ones I bought reasonably and restored for myself, or are ones I really liked and/or admired the carving or style.


I bought two pieces at the 2016 Nutcracker Collectors’ Convention. They both are pieces that caught my eye and I really liked them.


What’s most important is, I don’t have to fix them. Just wax them and set them out for display.




Cat Nutcracker with “VITZNAU” carved into the handle




Nice old Boxwood screw type nutcracker


I’m very happy with my new acquisitions.


Coming soon — The original pieces I took to sell at the convention (spoiler alert! – The ones I didn’t sell are currently for sale on Ardoria).


—– Brandon


2016 Nutcracker Convention – Day 2

2016 Nutcracker Convention – Day 2

Jul 02


As promised, here are some pictures of the second day at the 22nd Nutcracker Collectors’ Club Convention.


The meeting and auction were held at the Holiday Inn Express in Lexington Virginia.


A club member from Lithuania presented the history of Josiah Pratt (1767)  brass nutcrackers and other notable makers (Edward Grouttage (1770), William Ward (1770), Rob Moor (1770), and Richard Eades (1770)) .





 A few collectors brought pieces from their collection in for display



A collector from Connecticut’s pieces on display




A collector from Ohio’s recent additions to her collection


  Others brought in some great pieces to sell



Nutcrackers for sale


 The Silent Auction was in full swing and had a lot of great pieces available to bid on. Here are just a few of the tables










 CBS (WDBJ-7) came by and did a lot of filming and interviews. The news story can be found here – Nutcracker Collectors Gather in Lexington



Nutcracker collector interview – CBS (WDBJ-7)


 After the convention, everyone had a little free time to wander before meeting for dinner. We went antiquing a little, then downtown to a couple galleries.


downtown 2

Downtown Lexington Virginia




Window display downtown advertising the convention


 Everyone gathered at the Southern Inn for a great dinner and to say goodbye to fellow collectors and great friends til next year.





 Missy and I had a great time. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed getting to see everyone.


We can’t thank Lynn and Ann enough for doing such a fabulous job hosting this year’s convention.


 Stay tuned for pictures of the pieces I took to the convention to sell and pictures of the pieces I bought.


2016 Nutcracker Convention – Day 1

2016 Nutcracker Convention – Day 1

Jun 27


This year marks the 22nd annual Nutcracker Collectors’ Club Convention which was held in Lexington Virginia.


First off, I have to say Lynn and Ann did a great job putting this year’s event together. I can’t imagine the time and work that goes into this. They really did a fantastic job!


Here are some pictures from the first day of the convention. This is where the Nutcracker Club members get to visit the hosting member’s home and see their personal collection first hand.


Lynn and Ann provided local beer and wine, delicious home cooked food, local fried chicken, and decadent deserts to die for.  All this was provided as we toured their home, viewed their beautifully displayed collection, and visited with members and friends we haven’t seen for a while.


Everything was beautifully displayed. Their home and their collection are absolutely spectacular!


Click on the pictures for a larger view.


Arriving at the convention host’s house



Their stairwell lined with nutcrackers and the local paper covering their collection and listing the convention


The fireplace mantel


Display case full of metal nutcrackers



Display case full of wooden nutcrackers



Close up #1 of the wooden nutcrackers



Close up #2 of the wooden nutcrackers



Close up #3 of the wooden nutcrackers



Close up #4 of the wooden nutcrackers



Very rare cane nutcrackers on display


counter 1

Nutcrackers displayed on the bar


counter 3

Nutcrackers displayed on top of the bar



More nutcrackers displayed on top of the bar



At the end of the evening (and the convention), everyone was given a travel mug commemorating the event.


 Stay tuned for Day 2 to see the great pieces members brought to show off and/or sell.

More importantly, stay tuned to see what great items I came home with!