In our restoration galleries we present additional information and illustrations of the furniture restoration work we do that hasn't fit into any of the other pages in this section. The conclusion we hope you will draw from all this is that if it is made out of wood, we can most likely help you with it, even if you don't see the exact piece or need you have.
These two chairs arrived in a jumble of mixed parts and one mostly whole chair. Our first task was to sort the large parts and small fragments into these two piles so we knew what we had and what was missing. There were quite a number of little parts that had been lost over the years. Photos of some of the missing parts we replaced are to the right.
These are definitely early chairs, both hand made, following a prescribed design but clearly the unique implementations of that design by two different chair makers, very possibly working side by side in the same shop. In our era we are so used to seeing identical chairs, produced by the thousands, by computerized equipment that ensures there are no variations. In our era when a piece claims to be "hand made," that usually means that after the piece has been processed by the computerized forming and detailing machinery, a human takes a chisel, gouge or other tool to add the final detailing in the most prominent areas. With modern furniture, when we look at variations such as the ones seen on these chairs, we think, "cheap." When we see the variations on these chairs we think, "priceless."
The five photos in this series show areas where wood was missing and needed to be replaced. The old and new woods are all mahogany. The new woods will darken with age to resemble the original.
You can kind of see the differences in these shells. The first is more softly formed. The next is more sharply defined and slightly more sweeping.
The top corner details on the arm posts differ in that the first is larger, with a less complete center spiral.
The arms have similar but different curves. The one on the left is more consistent in width until the paw where it widens, the paw on the other is rounded and tight.
The lobes inside the top curve on each leg are formed differently. The leaves over the knees curve more tightly inward on the left leg. The ball and claws are uniquely shaped.
Stripped, re-glued, missing parts replaced.
Modern finish but resembling original.
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With our modern bathroom sinks, mirrors and cabinets, the idea of a freestanding piece of furniture created for the sole purpose of removing male whiskers seems quaint. This stand was destined for a museum, not a modern home. We are not surprised. The "before" is below left, in a cluttered State office, the "after" is below right, in a cluttered restoration shop.
Most of you reading this will understand that shaving is a wet operation. It should not be surprising that the top surface of this stand was badly effected by the continuous contact with soapy water.
The glue joints throughout had failed leaving a very unstable platform. Imagine a man never resting his hand on the table part of this stand. No way he would be happy if it did not support his lean.
Men look for immediate results. That is why a mirror is an essential in shaving. Yet this stand could not support its mirror since the mirror fork was broken.
It could be argued that the most important part of this stand is the mirror. You could shave standing outdoors if you didn't care. If you care, you need a mirror. This mirror no longer cast a true reflection.
This surface actually needed more than just surface attention. As can be seen from the photo just above, there were also shrinkage splits across the surface. We glued the parts together, re-squared the top, then sanded the top surface level before staining it to blend with the rest. Finally we applied a satin coating to the top. When done, you could not tell that anything had been done.
In the photo above you can see air between one leg and the pedestal. Can't see that now from any angle. You can lean all you want, shaving man!
The fork was securely glued back together, now fully capable of holding its mirror. The mirror was re-silvered, now fully capable of reflecting a true image. The entire stand was refurbished, now fully suitable for a gentleman's use.
We think this rocker is at least two hundred years old, but we don't know. If any of you can help us identify its era, we would be happy to get that information. When it first came to us its finish was in fine shape, our customer just didn't like the black color. She wanted us to strip it and do something different with the finish. Normally we do whatever our customer wishes, it is their furniture and their money after all! However, this chair was different. We didn't insist, but we certainly advised as persuasively as we could, that this finish not be removed. It was certainly unique in our experience and worthy of preservation. She agreed, we cleaned it and waxed it to enliven it a bit and she took it home. Five years later she brought it back, still not liking the black color, and advised us as persuasively as she could that she would be most pleased if we could get rid of the black for her. That is the beginning of the story, we will finish it in the captions that accompany the following photos.
The rocker after it was refurbished the first visit.
This is what caught our attention. Faux aligator!
The second visit we very carefully removed the black to discover this gem beneath.
Sometimes there is nothing better to do than to replace damaged parts. In this case that meant re-veneering most of the exterior of this cabinet. Here we display a before and after showing what a difference a facelift can make.
Most people don't like the beaded, worn look an old finish often acquires. This customer was no different in one way and totally different in another. She didn't want to lose that old look, just wanted it to look fresh. That is something we know how to do! All the wood was cleaned then coated with fresh shellac. Very interesting result. What do you think?
Restoration Galleries, Go To Page 2 / 3