This refurbished cougar has a distinct long tail that’s not readily noticeable from the window of the Chemainus Valley Museum. (Photo by Don Bodger)

This refurbished cougar has a distinct long tail that’s not readily noticeable from the window of the Chemainus Valley Museum. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Woodworker restores cougar to prime condition

A lot of TLC goes a long way with cleaning and touch-ups

Dick Zuyderduyn has extensive experience in woodworking and was only too happy to take on the project of refurbishing the cougar sculpture for the Chemainus Valley Museum.

“I enjoy the work,” said Chemainus resident Zuyderduyn, who turned 70 this year. “I’ve been doing woodwork of all sorts for about 50 years.

“I do antique restorations, mostly chairs I seem to find satisfying. In season, I do a bit of boat carpentry. It keeps the old guy out of trouble here in retirement.”

Zuyderduyn picked up where original carver Pat Herrmann left off in bringing the cougar sculpture back to life.

“It was quite a bit of cleaning,” he said.

“I have a little bronze wire brush and used a mixture of water, vinegar and a little soap and kept cleaning because it was very weathered – a lot of moss and algae and weathered from the rain.”

Zuyderduyn called it a “sympathetic restoration, so we’re not altering the project at all.

“In the process of cleaning, there were some parts that were loose on the paws and one of the ears had a crack on it so I glued that back on,” he added. “I was very careful to preserve some of the paint that was left.”

All in all, the process went well and the cougar looks as good as new.

“It really is in surprisingly good condition for being so weathered,” Zuyderduyn said.

He added a coat of linseed oil which will make it easier for the Museum staff to keep it clean and dusted.

The pampered big cat now has a bird’s eye view of the goings-on in Chemainus and will be looking forward to seeing more tourists once restrictions are lifted from the pandemic.

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Cougar looks out over its new territory. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Cougar looks out over its new territory. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Details on the cougar carving initially done by Pat Hermann are displayed at the Chemainus Valley Museum. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Details on the cougar carving initially done by Pat Hermann are displayed at the Chemainus Valley Museum. (Photo by Don Bodger)