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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Two Mahogany End Tables (ca.1930)

Along with the bed I am working on, I was asked to restore two Mahogany end tables from the 1930's. If I had to put them in a category, I would say that they have a strong Rococo influence in the carving design and the over all feel of the pieces. The Mahogany used to make these tables is quite nice and luckily, all of the damage is reversible. Most of this was in the finish so the customer and I decided to remove the lacquer finish on the tables and to give them a French Polish finish.

Below are three photos of the tables as they came to me. The tops were severely marred with rings and the general deterioration of the finish. Besides this, the tables' joinery was loose and there were significant sections of applied banding which was loose or missing. The first photo below shows the two tables followed by two close-up shots of the tops and the damage.

The first thing to do was to remove the finish which can be seen in the photos below. The table on the left (or right in the second photo) has some of the applied banding that had fallen off taped to the top.

Using the original pieces as a template, I created four 24" sections of banding from Honduran Mahogany to replace the missing sections. Each section was a half round shape with a radius of 1/16" of an inch. The pieces are laid out next to the originals in the photo below.
I decided to glue the loose joinery and the applied banding in one operation. I also found that the gallery sections had loosened at the corners so I also glued those. The photo below shows the tables while the glue was drying.
Most of the rings on the tops came out with the removal of the finish. However, there were a couple of rings that had stained the wood. Luckily, the stains were superficial and came out with a little sanding with 320 grit sand paper. The veneer on the tops is paper thin and it would have been very easy to cut through. In fact, there was a section where the manufacturer had done this already! The photo below shows the tables after they were sanded.
The natural color varied across the different sections of the table. the Lacquer had yellowed the tables and it turned out that the table legs were quite dark. I stained the tables to match this color as seen in the photo below.
These last two photos show the tables during the finishing process. I will post completed photos when the job is finished.

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