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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chicago table Works Oak Extension Table Part 2 (Ca 1890)

This is the second post concerning this table. I will post some photo of the table when it is finished as well. The table had many repairs to be made, including getting the runner system back in order. the photos below show some of these repairs and also the major sanding session that went on to eliminate the residue of the black stain. But first the repairs!

The table has pieces of Oak which serve as caps for the end grain of the apron where the two table sections come together. On of these caps had split and in the other case was partially missing. I decided to remove what was there and make new caps and put them in place. here is a photo of what was there when I got the table.
Here are the two new caps next to the old wood. The outer edge of the cap is rounded.
the next two photos show these caps in place on the end of the apron.

After all of the repairs were made I had to sand the entire table to remove residue from the black stain. This required me starting with a coarse grained sand paper (80 grit) and working through the grits to end up with a fine sand paper (320 grit). There are four different grit sandpapers that come between, so this took a little time! Below is a photo of the legs. The set in front have been sanded while the ones in back have not.
Another repair was that two of the leaves were missing their pins. the pins keep the leaf in place when in use. I drilled out what was left of the pins (seen in the first photo) and inserted new pins (seen in the following photo).

Here is the table with all of the repairs made and all of the surfaces sanded. The leaves have been re- numbered for the best fit.
Here is the table without the leaves. The new casters have also been added.
These last two photos show the table and leaves after a few coats of finish. I selectively stained certain sections of the table to even out the color. this was a very light staining and is not much different from the unstained color. As I mentioned before I will post some completed photos soon!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chicago Table Works Oak Extension Table (ca. 1890)

The table in the photos below was made by a company called the "Chicago Table Works" around 1890. It is an Oak Extension Table with 5 Leaves, but I think it originally accommodated 8 Leaves. I couldn't find out a lot about the Chicago Table Works, but I did find that it was operating in the 1890's at 351 Canal St. in Chicago, Illinois. The business was taken over by the Newark Ohio Furniture Company of Newark, Ohio around 1900. It would be interesting to find out why this move was made, because the distance by car between these two towns is about 6 hours. I did find reference to The Newark Ohio Furniture Company taking on the former employees of the Chicago Table Works. Whether this was the upper management or the Labor force I am not sure. For a look at the history of Furniture Manufacture in Chicago, take a look at the link to this article:


This table has had quite a life in its 120 year history. It came to me completely dismantled and also stained black. Prior to the staining, this table saw a lot of action which is shown by scratches an stains beneath the black stain. The entire table is made of oak with the exception of the apron which is pine with a Quarter Sawn Oak Veneer. here are two photos of the table as it came to me:

The first step was to remove the finish and black stain from the table. After this messy job was completed, there was still residue left over from the stain on the surface of the table. I am now in the process of sanding the table to remove this and bring it back to it's natural color. The photo below shows the table with the finish removed.
before the sanding could be completed, there were many repairs to be made. The most significant was that the top, which should be two sections, had come apart at the glue joints making a total of 5 sections. Below is the top with witht he glue joints scraped and ready for gluing.
The process of gluing up a round top is a challenge to a restorer because of the lack of edges for clamping. When the top was originally made, it would have been glued up square and then the circle cut out once the glue had dried. My answer for this was to create a clamping system which involves a simple jig for clamping on a curve. I start out with two saw horses with kerfs cut into the 2 x 4 surfaces set parallel to each other. These are seen in the photo below.
I next set some bar clamps into the kerfs. the blue tape on the clamps is to separate the iron from the Oak. When Oak contacts iron with moisture involved (from the glue) the result is that it turns the Oak black. the blue tape prevents this from happening and also prevents the top from adhering to the clamps!
Here is the top set in place.
This is where the jig comes in. the jig is comprised of a long board with two triangle shaped 2x 4's attached with one screw. One of these are set at either end and the clamps are atached to the blocks. the long board keeps the blocks from spreading apart and the one screw works as a pivot point to allow the triangle to fing a good surface along the curve. below is a photo of the jig.
Her is a close up of one end showing the triangle shaped block and the screw for the pivot point.
Here is the jig in place clamping on the curve. as the clamps are tightened, the table comes together. I then attach other clamps to prevent the top from buckling.

This last photo shows the table top being glued with a wide array of clamps. If you were wondering, I did not glue the two ends together so the table can continue to function as an extension table.
Here are two other repairs. The first shows a loose section being glued on to a foot and the second show a leaf being glued up where it had split.

I will post more photos as the project progresses so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Late Classical- American Empire Side chair (Ca. 1840)

One of my current projects that I just completed was a Late Classical- American Empire side chair. The chair was made primarily of Poplar but had nice Crotch Mahogany veneer on the Crest Rail and the Back Splat. The use of these veneers is characteristic of this style and the use of Poplar means it was probably made in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The chair dates to around 1840.

The chair was in pretty bad shape when I received it. the Back Splat and Crest Rail were separated and the finish could not be restored. The one part that was in good shape was the seat, which was caned. I left the seat alone and restored the rest of the chair. Below are some photos with description of the restoration process.

The chair as it came to me.
This photo shows the chair with the finish removed.
The Back Splat was severly warped, so I cut some kerfs into the back side of it and clamped it flat. While it was flat I inserted Poplar wedges into the kerfs with glue to keep it from moving back to its original shape. Onec the glue had dried the wedges were pared down flush with the wood. Below is a photo of the wedges in place.
This photo shows the loose veneer of the Crest Rail being glued in place. I also attached several patches where veneer was missing.
this photo shows the same process for the front side of the Back Splat.
Here is a photo of the chair with the Crest Rail and Back Splat attached and the Poplar stained to match the Mahogany veneers.
The rest of the photos show the chair after it had been French Polished. The first is inside and is without Paste Wax the following photos show the chair completed.

Federal Walnut Chest of Drawers (Ca. 1800) Part 3

Below are some photos of the Walnut Federal Chest of Drawers I have been working on completed. Before these I put in a few close up shots of the pulls before and after.

This first photo shows the beautiful back plate with a rose motif. I believe that these are original to the chest. The one on the left is polished while the one on the right is not. I try not to use any products when cleaning brass , but just rely on fine steel wool and "Elbow Grease". Likewise, I don't coat the brass with lacquer or anything else so that it can tarnish again naturally. The shine doesn't last forever this way, But it sure is brilliant when freshly cleaned!
The Pulls before (Back Plates, Bails, and Posts)
And After.
From here on is a collection of photos of the chest completed. Some are taken inside and some out. I even got a friend to take a picture of me with the chest at the end. This was a wonderful example of early American Craftsmanship and was a joy to restore.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Federal Walnut Chest of Drawers (Ca. 1800) Part 2

I have been working on a American Walnut chest of drawers from around 1800. This is the second post concerning its repair. For a look at the repair of the top follow this link:


This post details all of the other work that went into the repair of this chest. I will post some completed photos of the chest next week.

The first two photos show some loose inlay at the bottom of the case being glued. It was loose and in some cases missing on both sides. The first photo shows the loose inlay and the second the inlay being glued.

The chest was also missing a glue block on the right rear foot. I was able to use an old board to make a new glue block. The first photo shows the glue block and the second shows it being glued.

After the trim was glued down at the bottom of the case I replaced a missing section. The blurry photo below shows this new trim in place. I left it long until the glue dried and then I removed the excess.
The next two photos show some wedges that were inserted into cracks in the sides. Once the glue had dried these were pared flush with the sides.

The feet were missing significant sections of the point on the bracket feet. The next two photos show the patching of these points with special three way clamps. Once the patches had dried they were shaped and sanded flush with the case.

On some of the drawers the cock beading had become loose. This is due to the drawer face shrinking making the cock bead on the edges longer than needed. Under pressure the glue gives out. I removed the beading where this had happened and cut it to fit properly. I then glued it back in place. The first photo below shows the beading removed and the second shows it being glued in place.

The runners on the drawer sides had been replaced through the years out of various materials. Sometimes Poplar and sometimes other wood, like Walnut. They were also wider than needed and had worn down through use. I removed the worn runners (pictured in the first photo) and replaced them with new Poplar which was cut to make the drawers open and close properly. All of the drawers can be seen being glued in the second photo.

The last three photos show the case with all of the repair work completed and during the finishing process.