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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Louis XVI Gilt Frame (ca. 1830)

The Completed Frame
Another recent piece to come through the shop was a Gilt Louis XVI frame. While the frame is in the French style and has several decorative motifs that would put it solidly in the Louis XVI period, It framed a portrait of a young German woman dressed in the Biedermeier fashion. The portrait had a label on the back side from the 20th century saying that the portrait was ca.1830 and the frame was Louis XVI. I am in complete agreement with this statement. Whether the frame was made in Germany or was imported from France is anyone's guess, and either case is plausible.

The frame was cracked in many places and the decorative bow that sat on the top of the frame was extremely damaged, with lots of loose and missing portions. While I neglected to get any good photos of the restoration process, I did get a couple of nice before and after shots as well as a few photos of the portrait and the restored frame hanging above a Biedermeier desk we restored earlier this year. All of these can be seen below.

This first photo shows the frame as it looked when it arrived in the shop. The frame was built of several curved sections joined together. The glue holding these pieces had failed causing cracks in the frame. There were also many chipped sections where the gilding had fallen off.
This close up of the decorative bow shows missing portion and breaks. All of these were patched and carved to match the original. The entire bow was also cracked and the wire that it was built around was loose in many places. This was all secured and patched as necessary. 
  Below is the portrait of the young German woman in Biedermeier dress.
A close up shows the detail in the portrait.
The label on the back saying that this is a portrait of a Biedermeier woman in a Louis XVI frame ca. 1830.
These next two photos show the frame restored and cleaned.

This photo shows the portrait returned to the frame and hanging in the customer's house.
This last photo shows the frame hung above a Biedermeier desk restored earlier this year. Here is a link to the restoration of that piece:


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lenzkirch Wall Clock (ca. 1878)

The Completed Clock

A piece I recently worked on was a German Wall Clock made by the Lenzkirch Clock Company ca. 1878. The clock had several markings on the movement which shed light on to the age of the clock. The first marking found said "D.R.P. May 21 1878". D.R.P. is short for Deutsches Reichspatent which is a German patent prior to May 1945. With this in mind the earliest possible date of manufacture of this clock would be after the patent date.

Below this marking were stamped the numbers 8160. This is a model number for the movement and not a serial number. According to a website on Lenzkirch clocks, the serial numbers were around  627,912 by this time. A little research showed that this model was a spring wound wall clock with an asymmetrical arbor. The asymmetrical arbor was probably an attempt to maintain the torque on the mainspring, allowing the clock to keep a more constant time. 

The other stamp on the clock was the name Lenzkirch and the letters A.U.G. . The initials stood for  Aktien (Stockholder), Uhrenfabrikation (Clock Factory), and Gesellschaft (Corporation). All of this show that the movement was made by the Lenzkirch factory in the late 19th century. 

The case for the clock was made of pine. The outer ring of the clock was made of Elm and had a brass bezel ring which surrounded the flat bezel. The clock face itself was painted on metal and had roman numerals indicating the hours. The hands were steel moon style hands.

After all of this information was gathered, I set about my task of restoring this clock. In addition, I was asked to replace the movement with a modern quartz movement so that the clock would keep good time and would not have to be wound. The clock hung high on the customer's kitchen wall so winding it was a chore. 

I had no problem with doing this because I was able to replace the movement without permanently altering the clock. I did this by first removing the movement and then replacing it with a wood block that the quartz movement would attach to. The face would then attach to the new movement. I was even able to find moon style replacement hands for the new movement (nice, but not as nice as the originals!). The procedure of switching the movements was relatively straightforward and allowed for the clock to be admired as well as used. I then cleaned the glass and the case of the clock and returned it and the movement to the owner. Below are some photos prior to the case being cleaned followed by some photos of the movement and the completed clock.

This photo shows the clock as it came to me.
The original movement and the chime removed from the clock.
The next two photos show the stamps on the clock movement.

This block was used to attach the new movement and position the face in the right place.
The completed clock with the new moon style hands.

Here is a link to a website on the Lenzkirch Clock Company: http://www.lenzkirchclocks.com/

The company closed its doors in 1933.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Biedermeier Three Drawer Chest (Ca.1830)

The Completed Chest

One of the recent pieces to come through the shop was a Beidermeier chest of drawers. The chest was made of Elm and Pine and was veneered with bookmatched Elm veneer. Judging by the style of lock used and case construction methods used, I dated this piece to around 1830, however it could be a little earlier or later. The chest has many issues when it came into the shop.The chest had loose and missing veneer across the entire case as well as many other structural repairs one would expect to see on a piece of this age. In addition, the finish was very worn and close examination revealed that there were orbital sanding marks in the wood left by a electric random orbital sander, indicating that the finish was not original. With this in mind the finish was removed and the entire case sanded after the repairs were made to remove the orbits. Below are a few photos of the chest as it came into the shop.

The photo below shows a large section of loose and missing veneer on the top. This was later lifted, cleaned, reglued, and patched where the veneer was missing.
This photo shows the top when it first came to the shop. The area photographed above can be seen on the right side of this photo.
The front skirt of the chest was a solid em board that was applied to the front of the case. The feet, which were originally supported by glue blocks, were broken off. Fortunately the customer had the feet.

This next photo shows one of the broken feet being attached to the case.

The drawers showed significant wear on the bottom edges of the sides from rubbing on the interior drawer runners. The worn wood was removed and patched with new pine. The two following photos show the new wood being glued in place.

A variety of clamping operations can be seen in this photo. On the top, patches are being glued in place. Inside the case a clamp can be seen holding several lengths of 2x4 lumber against an interior runner that was being glued in place. Also visible in this photo on the left side of the case is a long wedge driven into a gap between two boards. This wedge was glued in place and pared down flush with the side of the case once the glue had dried. The gap had occurred due to shrinkage between the two boards over time.
The entire bottom of the case was missing the corner blocks which act as feet. The blocks are visible in the front so Elm was used. Below is a photo of the block being glued in place. It was later carved to match the rounded profile of the case.
After the block was glued the broken section of the foot was re attached, as seen in the photo below.
Above the feet on the front of the case were two rounded elm appliques that were decorative in nature. One was missing entirely and the other disintegrated while being patched. Both were replaced with Elm as seen in the photos below.

The next three photos show the rear corner blocks being glued in place. The last photo also shows several other clamping operations.

This photo shows the case repaired and sanded.
These last photos show the chest completed with a French Polish. The replacement escutcheons were provided by Nancy Anderson at Londonderry Brasses (http://www.londonderry-brasses.com ). They really fit the style of the chest well. Thanks also to Jesse Melton, who completed most of the work on this piece. Good job Jesse!