|The restored chest on chest|
This post concerns the restoration of a Mahogany chest on chest I recently restored. The piece is from the British Isles and dates to the second half of the 18th Century. I have a suspicion that the piece may have been made in Ireland or Scotland, but it is safe to say that it was in the style of British manufacture. As far as Chest on Chests are concerned, this was a really nice example that had suffered several bad restorations in its time, but more on that later. The top half of the chest is capped with a cornice containing dental molding above a well executed frieze displaying patterned blind fretwork. Below the cornice the upper half of the chest has two short drawers above three long drawers, each graduating in size by 1 inch. Above the three graduated drawers on the bottom half is a brushing slide (a sliding shelf used to dust garments). Below the lower three drawers are four robust ogee bracket feet. Besides the well executed ornamentation on this chest, the sheer size of it is sure to impress the viewer. This was a chest made to impress and was made for someone who not only had a lot of clothes, but also a lot of money!
The condition of the chest when it was presented to me was quite bad, with many repairs needed and a complete replacement of the finish. This last part I did not take take lightly, and tried first to remove some of the over finishing that had been done in the past, but once I got to the base finish I realized that it was a Lacquer that had yellowed in the pore of the chest, making it necessary to completly remove the finish and start from scratch. Below is a photo of the top followed by a photo of the bottom half. This is what the piece looked like when it came to my shop.
This photo shows the board which guides the short drawers from moving side to side being glued in place. The process for holding the board while the glue dried was the same.
This photo shows the broken sections of the feet being reattached.
The next two photos show the new sections I made attached to the feet and refined.
The molding which serves as a transition from the lower to the upper chest was all loose. I removed it, removed the old glue, and reattached it. This can be seen in the next two photos
This photo shows the new section along side the old. The new molding is below the old.
After the cornice was finished, new cockbeading was made for the drawers where it was missing. This photo is a sample of some of the new/loose beading being glued.
One of the drawers was missing a significant portion of the back board. I included this because the patch I made may possibly have been the largest patch I have made to date! The board is seen below, followed by a close up of the damage, and lastly, the gigantic patch.
All of the runners on the drawers were worn and broken. This photo shows the attachment of new wood to the runners on a few of the drawers.
This next photo, another stray, shows a missing runner on the brushing slide being attached.
After all of that, the next two photos show the upper and lower chest repaired and sanded.
Here they are again after they were stained.
One last piece of repair work that was done during the finishing process was to make and attach new drawer stops for each chest.
These last few photos show the completed chest on chest. Quite a magnificent piece to grace my shop.