A Tiny Restoration, With a Big Impact Pt 2

by Midnight Freemason Contributor 
Bro. Robert Johnson 32°

Trimming off the old stuff.

There it sat, ripped pieces laying around this great piece of art. The next step was to trim off all that old warped white board. So I pulled out my mat cutter and got to work. It was no problem at all, except for, you know, this was the only one, I could only do this once. I could NOT mess this up. 

After the cuts
So I lined up my edges, took special care and cut away. After making my cuts, I set it aside and really looked at it. For the first time since I had been in possession of this lithograph, I could focus on IT instead of the tattered, stained and warped edges. Essentially I had “broke off the rough and superfluous parts” to coin one of our terms. 

Next was to pick out some colors for the matting. My “Blue” lodge is home to a few Masonic bodies including a Royal Arch chapter. So I decided, not knowing if this belonged to the RAM chapter or one of the Blue lodges, to use the colors of each of them, a blue mat for the inside and a red for the outside. It looked nice mocked up anyway.

The mock-up.
Next was cutting those mats, which is a bit harder than just cutting off the old parts of a curled mat board. I had to measure precisely the opening and what not. It’s not super complicated, but it can be nerve-racking, especially since I was doing this on a Sunday and the store which carries mat board is closed in the event I had a mishap. 

Needless to say it went fine I laid them together, I liked what I saw and now just needed to put it in a frame. The final project was a complete success. When I brought it in the following Monday, the Brothers couldn’t believe what I had done with it. The Worshipful Master of the lodge even gave me some credit in open lodge at that nights stated meeting. It now hangs in the dining hall. 

The finished piece.
It had an impact to most of the brothers there in the sense that the enthusiasm to keep Masonic treasures like these and others well kept is not dead. In fact it is the complete opposite. Many Brothers I know from around the county preserve special pieces from their lodges history by not only just cleaning them but building showcases and the like. It really is part of who we are. 

Next time you see something that you think is special, Masonic or not, make a big deal about it, start a project to restore it and bring back some history. You will be surprised to see the reactions and the new found appreciation that comes alive. 


Sir Knight Robert Johnson, 32° is the editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog.  He is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He belongs to Waukegan Lodge No. 78. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council and Knights Templar, and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago.  Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts a weekly Podcast (internet radio program) Whence Came You? which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is also working on two books, one is of a Masonic nature.

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