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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Late Federal Mahogany Card Table (ca.1825) Part 2: More Repairs and Veneer Replacement

This is the second post concerning the restoration of a Federal card table. The first part can be seen in the preceding post.

Having gone through the major repairs, it was time to get into the finer repairs and stabilizing the veneer. Unfortunately, some veneer, notably the edging, was lost. To replace this I used real Cuban Mahogany veneers and later stained them to match the old veneer. But first, I left off the last post with the installation of three butterfly patches in the underside of one of the game table surfaces. Here is a photo of those after they had been pared down flush with the surface and stained. Finish was later applied to this surface.
An earlier patch near one of the knife hinges used to hold the tops together was partially missing. The next two photos show the new patch being installed.

As you can see in the photos below, every top surface had a crack in it. The cracks were caused by the shrinkage of the pine boards that make up the substrate for the table surface. The veneers were torn apart by this movement leaving a 1/8 inch gap in the surfaces that ran almost the entire length of the surfaces. The repair for this kind of a break is to fill the gap with a long tapered wedge which is inserted with glue. Once the glue sets, the wedge is pared down flush with the surface. The next few photos show this procedure. One note, the blue tape seen on the wood are all the spots with loose veneer. these are found by tapping on the surface. each was individually glued down.

Here is a photo of the crack in one of the top surfaces.
this photo shows the wedges taped into place.
Another crack in a top.
The second top wedged.
Here is the third surface wedged.
As I stated above, there was a lot of the edge veneer that was missing and had to be replaced. This is done by cleaning the substrate of old glue and then adhering the new veneer to the substrate using hide glue. The veneer is held in place by lots of thin slices of tape. The gaps between the tape are to allow air to reach the glue.

Below is a photo of the side edge of one of the top surfaces. The old glue has been cleaned off of the pine board beneath.
This next photo shows the veneer being glued in place.
In the next few photos, the old veneer is being glued down and the edge veneer is being glued into place. The blue tape indicates where the veneer was loose or missing.

Like the tops, the base also had veneer damage which needed to be addressed. It was mostly along the sides and the canted corners of the apron. Below is a photo of the veneer being glued down.
After the glue had set on everything, the excess glue was removed with hot water and all of the patches were carved flush. The next step was to sand everything to get all of the veneer and patches smooth. After the sanding was completed I commenced with the application of the finish. No stain was necessary for this piece except for a few light areas and patches. Below are a some photos showing the tops and the base with a couple of coats on them. The patches were later touched-up.

I will write one last post which shows the table completed.

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