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How To Repair A Kay Bojesen Monkey

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 Wooden Monkey

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!

Oh, my leg!!!

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.”

A rubber band holds the limbs...

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.

Kay Bojesen Monkey Repair Kit

Here is how to repair the monkey:

1. Remove remaining limb, rubber band and seals (tiny nails hold the rubber band).

Kay Bojesen Monkey Legs

All removed!

2. Attach a piece of string to each end of the rubber band.

String attached!

3. Use the string to guide the rubber band through the leg, body and leg.

PULL!!!

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!

PULL HARD!

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.

Almost done!

6. Cut the pieces of string off.

All done!

My monkey is as good as new and I am really happy 🙂

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20 responses so far

20 Responses to “How To Repair A Kay Bojesen Monkey”

  1. cycleogicalon 15 May 2010 at 11:46 pm

    I just used the kit to repair a KB monkey just a minute ago. Why did you call the nails “seals”? That is just confusing. Maybe that’s what they are called in Denmark but in US we call them nails or pins.

    You also didn’t mention the kit comes with one string and you have to cut it into 2 pieces . Then you attach each string piece to one side of the rubber band and pull through the leg. Its easier to insert the nail in leg 1 before pulling the rubber band through the body. After doing the first nail through the rubber band in leg 1 pull the rubber band through the body and leg 2 and place the pin.

    Remove the strings…done…time for fun

    Great to see the photos.

  2. scoteson 10 Jul 2010 at 11:36 am

    What email address did you use? I only find the info@ address on their website and have sent them a couple of emails with no response. We’ve got one of the small teak monkeys as wel and his arms have fallen off.

  3. adminon 12 Jul 2010 at 5:35 pm

    scotes: I used customerservice@rosendahl.com for inquiry. I had to send a few emails before I received a reply. Good luck!

  4. andrewon 24 Sep 2010 at 4:12 pm

    how do you get the old seals out???

  5. adminon 24 Sep 2010 at 5:06 pm

    They just fell out… I am assuming yours are stuck?

  6. Amiron 22 Mar 2011 at 7:37 am

    Hi,

    Thanks for the informative post. I have an original monkey (probably 50 years old) and have got the repair kit, but I am unable to get one of the sales/nails out. It is stuck very firmly into the leg, and it is impossible to get it out with making some (serious) damage to the leg. Any thoughts on that?

    Amir

  7. Amiron 22 Mar 2011 at 8:35 am

    OK – I got it out 🙂 and managed to put the legs back together.

    Amir

  8. adminon 22 Mar 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Amir – Glad to hear that you fixed your monkey 🙂

  9. Deirdre Forsython 18 May 2011 at 7:58 am

    Hi
    I have an original monkey from 1952 and also a small wooden teddy bear both of which have perished rubber in the arms. I am going to ask Rosendahl to send me the repair instructions. Thanks so much for your blog.
    Deirdre

  10. Annaon 07 May 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I have a wonderful original monkey, given to me at my birth in 1959. He is missing one arm and both hands. Can anyone help me with spare parts? I have just bought a reproduction, not half as shiny or heavy as my original but nice to have around after all. But I would really like to repair the original. Anyone prepared to sell me one arm and two hands?? Grateful for any responses.

  11. adminon 08 May 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Anna – Sorry to hear about your monkey with missing arm and hands 🙁 I’d check eBay regulary for spare parts. Rare, but I’ve seen them there before. If you have a Facebook account, you can post your inquiry on this site’s FB wall – better exposure there than this comment section.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mid-Century-Modern/220591743457

  12. Than Hansenon 29 Oct 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Hi,

    Any info on kits to replace their bears? I’m ordering two sets of these, but need one for the bear.

    Thanks!

  13. adminon 02 Dec 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Than – I’m sure you can order it from Rosendahl, too.

  14. ann Parkeron 14 Feb 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I need a repair kit for my Kay Bojesen bear.
    Do you have them?
    How much do they cost?

    Regards, Ann Parker

  15. Marioon 21 Jun 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Can anyone tell me how to remove the nails without doing damage?

    Also, can we use rubber bands from Staples and other like stores?

    Thanks for your help

  16. Ron Bennetton 08 Sep 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Do you have any information about the repair of the dowel that holds the large monkey’s foot in place ? I have a monkey that seems to have a broken one. It has a short stub that sticks out of the foot, and the rest is in the leg. I cannot figure out how they swivel.

    Any information is appreciated.

    Thank you

  17. Scott Waldenon 07 Feb 2015 at 10:41 am

    I just purchased an original monkey, but it came with the feet/hands detached. It looks like there are glass inserts (dowels) in each. How do I replace these?

  18. KBHon 12 Apr 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Any advice on removing the nails / pins?
    Thanks.

  19. Jasonon 25 Apr 2015 at 6:30 am

    hello, I have a 20cm Kay Bojesen Monkey and need to buy a new leg. Do you have any ideas where i can hold of one?

    thanks.

  20. diane dreyon 08 May 2015 at 4:00 pm

    We are searching for the GIANT kay bojesen monkey… which was used in certain Danish furniture stores during the 1970’s as a “display item”

    It is about 120 CM (60 ” tall) when it stretches out its arms and legs (at least that is our memory). This is not the large monkey which is about half the size and available on the Internet.

    If you know of anyone who has ever seen it, has it, or wants to sell one… please have them contact us in New York City

    Thanks

    Diane Drey and Mel Winokur
    001-917-670-3690

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