Welcome to my blog which follows my furniture restoration business. Please feel free to comment at the bottom of the post, and if you would like a response please leave your email address. you can also contact me directly at info@johnmarkpower.com. And by all means, if you like something please feel free to share it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Some Recently Completed Pieces

19th Century English Cherry Dressing Table
I have developed a bit of a backlog of photos of completed work over the past couple of months. In an effort to catch up I am showcasing some of the more interesting pieces that have come through the shop recently. Below I will describe the pieces and the work we did to them.

1. English Lath Back Windsor Chair
 This was one of my favorite chairs to ever come through the shop. It is a Lath Back Windsor made from various woods including beech and elm. It was made sometime in the middle of the 19th century. 

These chairs are great, they have great form and are very comfortable. This one had loosened up so I glued the loose joinery. The wear on the chair was wonderful, especially on the arms, so we simply cleaned and waxed the finish.

2. Four Ladderback Chairs
These chairs are pretty run of the mill, and were probably made around 50 years ago. I chose these to showcase the great job my caner did on the rush seats! Beyond the seats, I glued the loose joinery, and cleaned and waxed the finish.

3. Parquet Table with Draw Leaves
I have written about draw leaf table before on this blog. All of the examples that come through the shop seem to be from the early part of the 20th century. This one was made form European walnut and beech. It had a French country style, and was probably made in France or possibly another country on the European continent. This table was in pretty rough shape, so we removed the finish and refinished it with a French Polish finish.

 4. Walnut Breadboard End Table 
This table came from Switzerland and was made from old boards of European walnut. That being said, it was made fairly recently. I liked this table a lot because it reminded me of the first dining table I made, which was also of walnut. The finish was in bad shape, so we refinished this with a French Polish finish.

 5. English Cherry Dressing Table
This was a sweet little table, made from European cherry in the early part of the 19th century. Despite the cabinetmakers attempts to use good straight grained wood, the back legs had warped severely! Because it was stable and there is no real way to fix this, I left them as is. This piece was refinished with a French Polish finish.

6. Walnut Drop Leaf Table
This table had some beautiful walnut veneer, as seen in the photo below. It was made in the 1930s and I refinished it with a French Polish and found a new walnut knob for the drawer.

7. Reproduction John Shaw Four Drawer Chest
This chest was a lovely reproduction of  a chest made by John Shaw (1745- 1829), a cabinet maker from Annapolis, Maryland. The reproduction was made by Biggs Furniture of Richmond, Virginia. The chest, like the original, had beautiful crotch mahogany on the drawer fronts. Quite a lovely piece, reproduction or not!

8. Mahogany Display Stand
This stand had a lot of work put into it. The top was edged with inlayed banding, some of which was missing and we had to recreate. We also glued the loose joinery, replaced some of the glass, covered the bottom with felt, and refinished the entire case.


I am sure I have more photos like these so I will probably be putting together another post soon of pieces that were recently restored.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Painted Chairs (ca 1990)

The Completed Chairs
One of the things we have started doing this year on occasion is to paint furniture for customers. We were hired earlier this year to paint a set of eight chairs and reupholster them as well. The chairs were around 25 years old and the customer loved them, but wanted a color change. Below is a photo of two of the eight (originally they were painted  yellow, red, and eggplant). The rest of the photos show the painted chairs with the new upholstery.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

American Empire Chest of Drawers (ca. 1830)

The Completed Chest
I have written a fair amount about American Empire period furniture on this blog. This furniture was produced from around 1830 to around 1860. The use of thin veneers of crotch mahogany over a substrate of a cheaper domestic wood, in this case pine, allowed for an inexpensive means of mass produced furniture with fantastic results. In the case of this chest, every surface was veneered, including the sides and top. Where it mattered most, like the top and drawer fronts, sequenced pieces of fancy crotch veneer were used in a bookmatched pattern to display the dramatic grain of mahogany.

This piece was made using a mixture of machinery, like circular saws, and hand work, like hand cut dovetails. To me, one of the most interesting aspects of this period is seeing the introduction of mass production techniques and what the craftsmen could accomplish with the use of machines and what was still necessary to do by hand. As the 19th century progressed, more of  these procedures were accomplished with the use of machines, culminating in the machine made dovetail (ca. 1900). During the American Empire period, most of the work was still done by hand.

The chest was in pretty rough shape. The finish had darkened and deteriorated to the point that it became necessary to remove the finish and put a new French Polish on it. The case and drawers also needed work, both on structural and cosmetic levels. Below are a few photos of the piece with the finish removed.

In this photo, you can see the second long drawer down is in askew. This is due to the missing interior runners that would work as guides and support for the drawer. Also note the missing escutcheons on the two center long drawers.
 The top of the case as well as the top of the glove drawers were veneered with bookmatched crotch mahogany, like the drawers. The top of the case had developed a significant crack along the grain. The glove box top had warped severely as well

The case sides, veneered with straight grain mahogany, were also cracked.
 This photo shows the stretcher between the ogee drawer and the lower long drawer removed. The glue had failed and re-gluing this tightened up the case quite a bit. The following photo shows the stretcher being glued.


 These next two photos show the top of the glove drawers  being glued and straightened. Jesse, who did this repair, came up with some clever clamping!

 The crack in the top (seen in the next photo) was patched by means of wedges that were inserted and then, once the glue was dried, carved down flush with the surface of the top. The entire repair was later touched up.

The existing interior runners were significantly worn, so they were removed. The wear flattened with a hand plane (as seen in the next photo) and the runners were put back in place. The missing interior runners mentioned above were made using old pine stock and fit to the case.
These next two photos show the drawers in case while finish was being applied. Note the brass escutcheons in the drawers. Two were missing and replaced.

The remaining photos show the completed chest. Jesse took some interesting photos of the case with a filter on, making the piece appear darker. I included these because they show the dramatic grain of the crotch mahogany.