This is another project from my box of questionable purchases. I keep telling myself. "this is the last one", but I liked the primitive look, the "Decker"finger guard and the unique "web". The grommets and lacing were not of standard size because the mitt was so old and it was not immediately apparent how the missing wrist strap originally worked.
It is not really visible here in this pic of the web but there is another two rows of grommets in the perimeter banding behind the ones visible on the face of the mitt. 20+ in all. Quite a few of the grommets were torn loose and I had to replace about 12 total including around the outside edge of the mitt.
A nice finger guard with some really crusty green grommets
The perimeter lacing was so brittle there was no chance of saving it, so it came off in little 1/2" long chunks. With the finger guard removed, the original leather color is revealed. The rest of the mitt will never be that light colored again.
At least the padding pretty much came out in one piece
The interior view of the front section of the mitt. I had to reinforce quite a few areas with canvas to reset new grommets or to strengthen a fragile area.
I couldn't even begin the restoration until I searched ebay and the web and finally found a source for the oddball size grommets and some thin, flat lacing. The repaired front section looks pretty cool to me. Some of the original crease in the pocket is reduced because I adjusted the padding to give a little deeper pocket. I really like the rows of lacing in the web. There was a Goldsmith patent around the turn of the century that had a variation of this design.
There are quite a few grommets around the perimeter and really spaced closely together. It took about a six foot length of lacing to redo the outside of the mitt.
After some research on patent drawings, JD's site and Dave Bushings book of Vintage Sports Equipment, I found three possibilities for a wrist strap for that era. I could incorporate a buckle, a small button or a hook. The buckle seemed too sophisticated for the primitive look of the mitt and the hook looked a little weird on the mitt. I found a small antique brass button on ebay that seemed the right size and incorporated that into the wrist strap. I had an old donor mitt with the right type of dark, checked leather and cut out pieces for the strap and flange to mount the button. The mitt originally had a nice arc design above and below the wrist strap which I tried to keep.
This 1891 patent drawing of a finger guard mitt is what I ultimately used as a guide for the wrist strap.
The mitt is actually pretty thick, about 21/2"