Mid century modern/Danish modern toys and knick-knacks (reproduction, “inspired” items – doesn’t matter) are my favorite things to receive as a gift. A few years ago, I received a small Kay Bojesen wooden toy monkey as a Christmas gift. This cute little monkey was designed in 1951 by Kay Bojesen. The one I received is of course a reproduction. In 1990, A Danish company called Rosendahl acquired the rights to the production, marketing, and sale of Kay Bojesen’s products.
Kay Bojesen (1886–1958) was originally a silversmith. In the 1930s, he began expanding his craftsmanship using other materials. He realized that wood had a great potential for industrial treatment and styling which led him to create his toy soldiers and wooden animals. Through his wooden toys, he became known as one of the great pioneers of Danish art manufacture.
Kay Bojesen’s wooden monkey is made in Denmark from teak and limba wood. Teak is from sustainable plantations in East Africa and limba wood is from Congo. It has movable head and limbs and is about 12” tall with arms extended. As Rosendahl claims, it is very well made with superior craftsmanship. I was very happy with the quality of the monkey until one day… I was dusting off the monkey and the leg just fell off!
I discovered that the leg was attached with a rubber band and tiny nail. I could not repair it myself, so I sent an email to the Rosendahl customer service inquiring about repairing the monkey. I was pretty upset about the fact it broke so easily and so soon. Here is what the customer service rep said: “I assume it is the rubber band that have broke. The rubber band is a natural material and can be affected by different things in the environment like light, temperature or moist. Sometimes it breaks after a short while, sometimes it can hold for 30-40 years. We do have a spare part kit, that I am glad to send to you, so your monkey can be fixed.”
I received the repair kit within a few weeks. It included: an instruction manual, a piece of string, two rubber bands and four nails (they call them “seals”). The instruction looked easy enough, but the rubber band was so small that it didn’t look like it would stretch enough.
Here is how to repair the monkey:
1. Remove remaining limb, rubber band and seals (tiny nails hold the rubber band).
2. Attach a piece of string to each end of the rubber band.
3. Use the string to guide the rubber band through the leg, body and leg.
4. You can use a hook to help you, as shown on the drawing (below) – that’s what the instruction said, but since I didn’t have a hook handy, I recruited a help. You have to pull REALLY hard from the both ends. If I had a hook on a wall to do this, the force would probably yank the hook out of the wall!
5. Insert the seals (nails) taking care not to damage the rubber band – you have to do this while you are pulling the string. I had to use a nail punch to push the seals all the way in.
6. Cut the pieces of string off.
My monkey is as good as new and I am really happy 🙂