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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Transitional Rococo-Renaissance Revival 7 Pc. Parlor Set (Ca.1860)

I have been working recently on a set of Victorian parlor furniture. the set consists of a Setee, a Gentleman's chair (with full arms), a Ladies chair (Similar chair without arms) and a set of four side chairs (smaller versions of the Ladies chair). This set of seating furniture dates from 1860 – 1880. The overall style of the furniture is Rococo while showing some Renaissance Revival elements (Mostly in the crest carving). The Rococo Revival Movement (1840-1865) in furniture overlapped with the Renaissance Revival Movement (1860-1880) and in fact was in production to some extend for the second half of the 19th Century. These pieces come from the Late Rococo period and show the influence of machines in the fabrication of furniture. The ornate hand carved elements seen in the earlier Rococo examples have been simplified for the mass production of furniture. While this is the case, sections of the chairs were definitely carved by hand as creating these pieces by machine alone would have been impossible at this point in time.

The ornamentation of Rococo Revival tended to use foliage and fruit motifs as accents while the later Renaissance Revival movement drew inspiration from architectural motifs. The design of the crest rail draws more inspiration from the later period. The overall lines of the set including use of Cabriole legs points towards Rococo (True Renaissance Revival pieces would often have a turned front leg.) For these reasons one can refer to these pieces as being transitional. Transitional pieces like these are often found during this time because manufacturers had an easier time creating and blending these styles. This in no way diminishes the value of a piece.
The set came to me without upholstery and in need of mostly cosmetic repair. There was some gluing of the frames to be done first however, and I have posted Photos of the gluing process.
What is interesting about these chairs is that when gluing them, a restorer has to be creative with clamping since there are now square edges. I find that it is easiest and most effective to use ratcheting band clamps to get a good strong bond. The photos below show these and other clamping ideas in action.

Several of the chairs had loose joinery in the base which needed to be cleaned and glued.Gluing up the Ladies chair with multiple band clamps.Tightening a loose joint.Gluing the arms on the Gentleman's chair using clamps clamped to block clampsA fuzzy picture of one of the side chairs being glued upGluing a joint with F clamps clamped to block clamps

7 Oak Dining Chairs with Cane Seats (ca. 1900)

I am working on repairing a set of 7 Oak dining chairs. These chairs are also going to get new caning on the seats so the first step was to remove all of the old caning. The nice thing about these chairs is that the seat frames are all separate from the chairs, so I could work on them individually.
The first repairs needed were to the seat frames. A lot of them were broken in multiple places. Once the frames are repaired I can send them to the caner so they can get new seats while I am working on gluing up the chairs themselves. below are several photos of the frames being repaired and at the end there is a photo of one of the chairs disassembled for joint cleaning and the same chair being glued up.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Repairing A Victorian Cane Seat Chair

I received a Victorian chair with a cane seat that was in need of repair.In addition to needing to be glued and having the finish restored, the seat frame where the cane attaches was damaged. Below are photos of the restoration of this chair.
The Chair as it came to me.Once the old cane was removed, the broken section was visible. An entire section of the seat frame needed to be patched.This is a photo of the old wood being cut away using a scroll saw so that a patch could be glued in place.The old wood being cut away.The old wood removed leaving space for the patch.The patch being glued in place.The new patch (seen in the top of the photo with holes drilled for cane and stained to match the old wood.)The chair after cleaning with mineral spirits.( the mineral spirits separate the wax and dirt from the finish and turn white. Once it has dried this comes off with steel wool.)The chair cleaned up and ready to be caned.A close up of the back shows the tiger striping in the wood. this was barely visible before being cleaned.The chair at home again with it's new seat in place

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Completed Victorian Expanding Dining Room Table

Below are a series of photos showing the refinishing of the Victorian "crank" table. The first photo shows the table completed with the leaf in and the crank handle visible in the apron.After the finish had been removed the top of the table had to be vigorously sanded with sandpaper ranging from 80 grit to 320 grit. The photo below shows the section on the right sanded, after the sanding is completed the table is stained to bring back the color.This photo is of a patch on the underside of the leaf. One of the pins had broken through the underside of the leaf, so a patch was necessary.After repairs were made and the table was completely sanded by hand, the table was stained to match the darkest section of the table, in this case the Mahogany legs.The leaf stained with one coat of finish.The finish process requires several coats with abrasion using fine steel wool between coats. Each coat give the table a bit more sheen and fills the pores.The leaf and table several coats later in the finishing process.
The last few photos are of the table completed. The first photo has the leaf out and the rest show the table with the leaf in place.

Turned cups for adjusting table height

Below are several photos of cups I turned to adjust the height of the Victorian table I have been working on. The table has a height of 28.5" which is a little low. By using the cups underneath of the casters, The table can have a height of 29.5" which not only brings the table to a more comfortable height, but also allows more leg room underneath.

This first photo shows the piece of Honduran Mahogany used for the four turning blanks. It isn't very clear in the photo, but the centers for the blanks are marked and the diameter of the blanks is drawn out. After the blanks were roughed out using a band saw, they are mounted on the lathe individually and turned true. the next two photos show this process.
Next the outside of the cup is turned. The inspiration for the shape of the cups came from a section of the leg on the table. I measured the shape of the leg and repeated the pattern in the cups.After the outside is turned the interior is hollowed out to the appropriate depth.The last step in the turning process is to sand the finished turning.The four cups ready for staining.The cups stained to match the color of the legs.The cups during the finishing process.The cups completed with felt on the bottoms to protect the floor from scratches.One of the cups in use under a table leg. The nice thing about these are that the table has not been altered. The cups can be used or removed at any time.