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Thread: How to repair a broken ceramic mug?

  1. #1
    HWR
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    How to repair a broken ceramic mug?

    Last week, I bought the three Rumph mugs on eBay. The seller had packed them very well in a solid box, padded it with bubble-plastic, wrapped several layers of bubble-plastic around each mug and put "fragile" labels on each side of the box, still someone has managed to break the Vader mug. It can be the mailmen, the airport workers or the custom agents, don't know who to blame, but it made me quite angry and a bit sad too. It have been opened by the Danish custom authorities (did not have to pay vat or customs to get it), if they are responsible, they could at least admit it, looks like someone accidentally dropped it, and it broke.

    According to the seller, he bought all three back in 1977, so they have 35 years of history together, which makes it even more sad, it's broken.




  2. #2
    Emperor's Hand Andy's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    Wow, that's a cryin' shame. It's sad that they were always a trio, but replacements can be found. I can't imagine there's a way to save that. Although, I have to say, the Obi and Chewie are the two that have the most character out of the set.

  3. #3
    Admiral BlueDog's Avatar
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    Hey mate, really sorry to hear this happened. Ceramics are a bugger to repair but it can be done with a little patience and know how.

    I used to work as a china repairer matching and repainting the repaired pieces, I had little involvement in the actual repair but I'd be happy to tell you what I know.

    Firstly you obviously need to work out the correct placement of the broken pieces, make sure that all of the exposed raw edges are clean you may want to wash them in warm soapy water and leave them to dry for a couple of days prior to attempting to glue them. This is quite necessary as any foreign substances such as oil from your skin left on the surface can affect the glues ability to work correctly.

    Get yourself a nice deep open container before you start gluing, fill it with some kitty litter or something similar as this will be somewhere safe for you to rest the mug whilst repairing different sections. You may find it is not possible to repair the whole mug in one hit, instead try to do it in different stages. Plasticine is also another handy tool for holding tricky pieces in place while they dry.

    Once they are washed and dried you will need to begin the gluing process, we used a glue called Araldite ( Australia ) which is a two part apoxy resin. It may be called something else depending on which country you live in. Try to use it sparingly to avoid excess glue when you press the two pieces together but don't stress too much if it does get messy as it can be cleaned up once dry using a razor or recommended solvent.

    Once you have all the pieces back in place I guess you need to decide how far you want to take the repair as the next steps are the filling, sculpting and then painting. Thankfully he's all black so the colour process should be quite simple. If you don't want to go all out with the filling of the cracks at this stage you could just paint the exposed areas and call it a day.

    If you do however the best product for filling the gaps is fine grade two part plastic filler. This product should be quite easy to locate from you local hardware store. A dremel or something similar will be handy for reshaping as well as a good assortment of different grade sandpapers.

    Before you apply the plastic filler to the exposed areas be sure to lightly sand the areas that still have the enamel, if you don't the plastic filler won't adhere correctly and you run the risk of it chipping off.

    At this point it's probably information overload so if you do decide to have a crack ( no pun intended ) at repairing it feel free to drop me a PM for any further info as you proceed with the repair and I'd be happy to guide you.

    Alternatively you could take it to a China repairer but you would probably find it cheaper to purchase another unbroken one.

    Cheers Ryan
    RussG, Joe_O and starwarsdan like this.
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  4. #4
    HWR
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    Thanks for the input guys. A friend of mine will try to repair it with "china glue" next time we meet, which is probably in the Easter, but in the end I might go for a replacement. Fortunately the crack is in the back, so if the handle is repaired, it can display ok until replaced.

  5. #5
    Grand Moff icruise's Avatar
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    Aug 2004

    I've had a lot of trouble with things getting broken when they are packed together in the same box. For example, a cookie jar and its lid, or two ceramic mugs. Even when they appear to be packed very well inside, it seems that having the pieces in the same box is enough to get one or more of them broken. So I wouldn't be surprised if it just happened during shipping. It's happened several times to me now, and it's to the point where I don't want to have multiple ceramic items shipped in the same box anymore.

  6. #6
    Admiral
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    Aug 2002

    Honestly, as that damage seems pretty extensive, I'd just pick up a replacement. These mugs are among my favorite Star Wars collectibles of all time, and are still relatively affordable compared to other vintage pieces.

    I can sympathize, though -- I bought a pair of extremely rare 1977 ceramic Star Wars mugs from the UK, both of which I had never seen. Naturally, one arrived with a broken handle. I simply super-glued it, which did a pretty good job.

    Pete

  7. #7
    HWR
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    Sad to hear you had similar experiences with broken ceramics, icruise and Pete. This is only the second time, I buy ceramic items form The States (first time was two Tuborg horns) and fortunately only the Vader mug was broken. I agree best solution is to get a replacement, just a bit sad, as those three had a 35 year history together. These mugs are also among my favorite vintage Star Wars items, and I have been thinking about buying them for years and this month I finally did.

  8. #8
    Midshipman
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    Jul 2012

    I guess you have now to purchase anew one.. Got a site here where you can purchase it.
    Here's the link anyway Custom Mugs | Promotional Mugs | Promotional Coffee Mugs | Personalized Mugs

  9. #9
    HWR
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    Thanks for the link, but it doesn't seem like they have it, remeber this mug have not been sold in stores since 1977, as far as i know. Haven't got a replacement yet, will probably try to repair this one, as those three mugs have a history together.

  10. Thanks from: BerryAllen
  11. #10
    Grand Moff icruise's Avatar
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    Aug 2004

    Seems like a spammer to me.

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