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Restoring Carved Decorative Elements

The pattern of the carved elements adorning furniture is one key way of identifying the stylistic family of the piece. For example, late Victorian era furniture--later part of the nineteenth century--was known for the inclusion of carved elements. Gothic Revival, Renaissance Revival and Eastlake were all subsets of the late Victorian stylistic era. Gothic Revival can be identified by its highly carved spires and arches. Renaissance Revival can be identified by its highly carved fruits, flowers and leaves. Eastlake can be identified by its simple, geometric and lightly incised carvings.

Strange things happen over time. Styles change and yesterday's pride can be today's embarrassment. Things come up missing for unknown reasons. We have seen several Eastlake chairs come in with their characteristic back crest removed. The spires of Gothic Revival furniture have been used as handles for moving and have been broken off. We have had more than one Renaissance Revival styled chest of drawers come in with one of the carved fruit drawer pulls missing when all others are still present.

Whatever may have happened, when it is time to have a piece of furniture restored, an essential part of that restoration is to restore the missing or damaged stylistic element. That can be a fairly straight forward process when it is simply a matter of duplicating an identical part that is still present. We say "fairly straight forward" without any devaluing of the skill required to do the replication. We at least have something to copy. It is more difficult when the missing part is a mirror image of the part that is present, or more difficult yet when it is simply gone with no clues as to what it might have looked like.

We have the skills to replicate broken or missing carvings. We also have become pretty good students of the various styles and are able to create designs for missing parts that accurately reflect original stylings. We want to show you on this page some of the work we have done.

For those interested in trying their hand at carving, we offer some suggestions of a few good books to help you get started.

Detail Of Table Pedestal
IMG_0424.Murphy Bed Crest Murphy Bed Crest Repaired

Another situation where a before photo would have been great. About 25% of the carved sections of this beautiful headpiece on a Murphy Bed were missing. You would never know that now.

Paw Toe Recarved
Paw Toe Finished
Chair With Carved Flower On Back Rail Completed
Carved Chair Back In Progress
Chair With Carved Flower On Back Rail Completed, Detail
Carved Chair Back Flower Unfinished

Looking at the photo to the left it is probably hard to imagine the chair without the top rail. Nevertheless, that is how it came to us--everything you see but the top rail. Our job was to imagine what the top rail could have looked like, make it and mount it. We can't picture for you the imagining part, but once that step was done, we cut out a piece of wood, carved it, finished it to blend with the rest of the chair, and glued it in place.

IMG_0321.Sample And Replica Of Table Trim
Table Skirt Corner Replicas

A table was missing this decorative trim on one end. We had the one below to start from and created the one above to match.

Another table was missing the corner below the table at the leg on one side. This customer wanted us to create a mirrored pair. They are below.

For those curious, the table these parts are sitting on has a lacewood veneer top. It is an intense pattern!


Now that you have seen what we have done for others,what can we do for you? CONTACTING AND FINDING US

Eastlake Rocker Without Crest Before Reupholstering
Eastlake Rocker With Crest After Reupholstering

The chair to the left had been "modernized."The decorative half of the crest had been cut off and both of the shoulder details had been removed. The entire back had been upholstered over the wooden top rail.

Our customer wanted the piece restored so we had to imagine and create what had been removed.

The chair to the right had suffered a similar embarrassment. The crest had been removed. Once again, it was our task to imagine what might have been there, create it and make it look like it always had been there.

Eastlake Chair Without Crest And Needing Regluing
Eastlake Chair With New Crest And After Regluing
Eastlake Chair Crest Close Up

Same thing had happened to this chair as to the chairs above, the characteristic "Eastlake" style crest had been removed and it was our task to imagine and replace it. Kind of fun actually. We look at the chair for design clues and do our best to create a crest which captures features already seen on the chair. We wish we had better photos of the two chairs above so you could see the details of those crests too. You can tell though that we create a crest unique to and appropriate for each chair.

As can be seen from the photo far left, this chair needed significant regluing also. That is true of each of the chairs pictured here. In addition to creating a new crest for each of these, we also strengthened the joints and refurbished the wood finish. Still looks old but definitely looks refreshed.

The carving work we did is more obvious in the photo above right. The light colored new wood disappeared by the time the job was finished.

Chest With Mother Of Pearl Inlay And New Leg

One of the two front legs on this beautiful cabinet was missing when it came in. Can you tell which one?We didn't think so. Once we tell you which one it is you will probably think, Yep, I can tell now. That's OK with us. If your eyes are not drawn to the repair, if you can't tell unless told, we have accomplished our objective. Now for the revelation. The replacement leg is the right one.

Mother Of Pearl Chest Leg Detail
Mother Of Pearl Leg In Progress

Loveseat Leg Broken Off And Missing

No, this sofa does not stand on a pointed toe, the leg is broken off and gone. We had the mirror imaged right leg to use as a model for how this left leg should look. We'll show you a few of the steps we took.

Loveseat Leg Rough Blocks Glued On

The first step was to flatten off the break so that we could glue some fresh wood to the leg. Next we had to build the new wood out for the carved section of the toe.

Loveseat Leg, Shaping Completed
Loveseat Leg Second Step Of Shaping
Loveseat Leg First Step Of Shaping

These three photos show initial roughing of the new wood, creation of a pattern, the carved end result. We didn't Finnish this piece so we can't show you that result.Wish we could.


Now that you have seen what we have done for others, what can we do for you? CONTACTING AND FINDING US

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