Repairing Frank Crowe Mason Monterey Dresser

The repairs on the final piece of the lovely bedroom set is completed.
MPF Conservation  does not repair/conserve historic pieces unless necessary.

In this case, the veneered top was shredded and lifting.

Mitchell gently removed the historic veneered top.
We did not touch the substrate, though it was quite wobbly.  Many of the pieces show the structural substrate through the original veneer, and we leave them as is!

Sorry that our image of the mahogany veneer unfinished did not come out.
Old wood base paint was mixed, and the first layer was placed on sealed veneer.

The color was not quite correct; Most of this furniture is not a one-coat process.
Mason Monterey is layered with several coats to achieve the proper finish.

A second coat to deepen the color, then a third coat to create the presentation we wanted.
Secret sauce.
We did not dust the Old Wood, as it would not have matched the historic finish as it is today unless we dusted the original historic Old Wood finish too.

Also, the other pieces being sold with this one were not restored.
They were wiped with a damp rag.

The slight wobble of the structure can be seen through the veneer,
just as it did in the historic veneered top.
Also, you can see how much this set changes color in varying lights.

Finished and ready to be sold with the accompanying pieces which were not repaired!
We are selling this large bedroom set in two lots: this is the second,
and is sold with the large mirror and second twin bed, above.

First Set below!

Frank Crowe was the most influential person
in dam building throughout the West:
Hoover Dam, Parker Dam 155 miles (249 km) downstream from Hoover; Copper Basin and
Gene Wash Dams on the Colorado Aqueduct system;
and Shasta Dam in Northern California.
We are offering many pieces from his ranch in Northern California.  Signed provenance statement included.
To know more, see details, and see other pieces,
go here.
  Contact us if you are a serious buyer.

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url + copyright is used as reference.

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Windsor Rocker


A sweet mid-nineteenth century faux bamboo Windsor sported
touches of gold paint in the crevices of the “bamboo”.
We do not know if it was original or added later.

The chair had no breaks, and he joints were quite stable.  The finish was tired and dull.  The seat collapsed and the needlepoint showcover needed cleaning and minor infill.
The chair was excavated, cleaning and saving the stuffings where applicable.

The finish was cleaned; we added a coating of protective traditional shellac.

The needlepoint may have been added later, as the edges were nicely woven.
Perhaps the original seat was all woven.

A pattern was taken prior to cleaning, to ensure that it be blocked back to the
original size and shape.  The edges were stabilized.
The showcover was cleaned, and the small amount of infill necessary was performed.

The Windsor Rocker just before it headed to its new home.
(Backdrop one of Kate’s home-made crocheted blankets.)

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Washington State Flag 10, Second Drafts, Silk


We left off with the finished drafts on paper, above.

New tracings from our master tracing are created each time so the tracing paper
doesn’t wear and the marks are fresh, not fat and sloppy.

Silk was primed using Gamblin’s PVA.

The historic flag was originally primed in its entirety.
We think it created problems.
Many artists and creators of historic pieces don’t think about what will happen
to their works in 100 years… they are in the moment plying their trade.

Mitchell and Dave Bernard (Gamblin) and I discussed this several times.
Each time, we decided that some of the aging issues including some of the cracking
with the original flag may have occurred due to the stiffness of
the primed silk folds pulling on the oil paint medallion of George Washington.

For that reason, we decided not to
prime the entire silk flag.

It means my painting must be spot on, in order that there is no oil paint hitting any portion of the silk that is not primed, because the oils in the paint will spread out
and leach into the silk (think of a grease spot.)  To assist me a bit in that area,
I am allowing about an eighth of priming beyond the edge of the medallion, just to be safe.
That will save me from a teeny slip of the brush.

Also, when tracing, it became clear that the blue tracing paper does not work as well as
the white chalk paper — the blue doesn’t hold, yet oddly, embeds into the silk.
It won’t brush off easily if it falls onto the silk field.
Doesn’t make sense, but that is my experience.


I also learned a something from being a bit sloppy in my pinning,
and it is a test of my patience, which is one of my worst downfalls.
Pinning is important.  Lots of evenly spaced pins.
I didn’t use enough silk pins on the draft and one of the test sheets
puckered horrendously during the priming process!
Not the little bit you see here, but large stiff puckers sending out waves.
This will not come out!

PIN OFTEN, PIN TRUE!

I began painting George again, on the silk.
I am writing this in hindsight, but I was still a bit timid painting on silk.
I didn’t blend as I should have — I used the oils more like acrylics.

I painted thus far then stopped and let it dry.

It is an odd feeling that I must get used to,
painting on a surface that is fluid and can move ever so slightly.
It doesn’t have the stability of paper.


Note: if the image colors are darker or lighter, it is just the images taken under
different lighting at different times of the day.

I started again, this time ready to paint more in one sitting.
Hey, I was getting used to painting on a fluid moving material!
I moved into his uniform…

I had to post George with Halloween eyes.


Eyes.  Lips. 


And finally, in one sitting, I fleshed George out, so to speak.
Shaded his skin tones and hair…

I have a bit more to do, but am ready for the next step, the last set of drafts,
where I paint the drafts as I will paint the final flag, in 3-4 sittings:
1) White circle;
2) Lettering and background and George, basically;
3) Details.

In preparation for the next step, I mixed a dozen convenience colors from the palette
I developed for George, and these can be changed slightly as I am painting.
Paints are mixed then placed in tubes and sealed.
This one looks like chocolate fudge!

I also mixed up the mixture I am going to use to thin the paints,
so it is ready for my brush to be dipped into as I paint.

I am ready to paint the last set of drafts, next post!

To begin at the beginning, visit Washington State Flag, 1.

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url + copyright is used as reference.

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Historic Bedroom Set for Sale

Old Wood bedroom set (one half of the entire set) came from
the historic estate of Frank Crowe; this is an excellent chance for collectors
to own both good Mason Monterey, and also a piece of history.

All items in this half are in good original condition:
High Boy Dresser, Twin Bed, Side Table, and Small Mirror
NO finish restoration work ever performed on original finish.
One of the bed slates was missing;
MPFC recreated and finished one to match the original.
Signed provenance statement included.
For more information and more images, click here.

Frank Crowe was the most influential person
in dam building throughout the West.
He pioneered two practices that are crucial to the construction of large dams. The first was a pneumatic delivery system to transport concrete and
the second was a system of overhead cables to allow the pneumatic concrete to be pumped at any point on the construction site. With this technique, Crowe built some of the largest dams in the American west, including Hoover Dam, Parker Dam 155 miles (249 km) downstream from Hoover; Copper Basin and Gene Wash Dams on the Colorado Aqueduct system; and Shasta Dam in Northern California.

He retired in 1944 to his 20,000-acre cattle ranch near Redding, California.
The bedroom set was part of this estate, some of which was lost in a fire.
We are offering one-half of the set below.
It has lived with the family intact since the fire.
Signed provenance statement included.
To know more, see details, and see other pieces, go here.
Contact us if you are a serious buyer.

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url + copyright is used as reference.

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American Mahogany Seignouret Chair


The Seignouret chair appears to be an actual Empire striped mahogany “gondola” chair made by Francois Seignouret in Louisiana circa 1830-1850, though it could also be a later version of the signature chair (design attributed to Seignouret) created by Prudent Mallard, who followed Seignouret and opened a studio nearby.

The chair had no breaks, and he joints were quite stable.  The finish was tired and dull.  The seat collapsed and the needlepoint showcover needed cleaning and minor infill..


The chair was excavated, cleaning and saving the stuffings where applicable.
The finish was cleaned then polished. using traditional methods.


The needlepoint was the second showcover, and was quite filthy around the perimeter.
A pattern taken prior to cleaning, to ensure that it be blocked back to the original size and shape.  The edges were stabilized.  The showcover was cleaned, and the small amount of infill necessary was performed.


After cleaning and reupholstering, a minor amount of stain was visable.


The Seignouret chair installed at home.

 ©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use,
Feel free to share but please refer to our blog.

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Throwback Thursday: Backgammon


A military couple had traveled all around the world with this backgammon set.
When they retired they finally wanted the worn board restored.


Simple in some ways, it had to be accurate and smooth.
We excavated the old, conserved the old finish (which had layers of shellac applied — possibly marine varnish), and included a rarely used checkerboard.


Once the base was complete, Mitchell created the new gaming table top.


The set is ready for another 30 years of use!

Thursday Throwback may be images that I took long ago and never used,
before we had the blog… or items that technically we were not documenting.
It took me awhile to get used to a digital camera and so excuse the bad photos!

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url + copyright is used as reference.

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Chinese Statue Conservation Treatment


Two polychrome statues, one whose hand was previously repaired incorrectly.
Both were quite dirty.
Our job was to remove the poor repair, repair it correctly,
and clean and stabilize the finish on both statues.   The treatment was a mixture of conservation techniques and restoration techniques.


With the warring club removed, it is easy to see
the fingers were glued into place backwards and upside down.


Mitchell built a box to allow for proper safe clamping, and we used
florists foam to mold a bed to protect the statue during treatment

A heated scalpel cut through the prior glue, separating the incorrectly glued fingers.
That same technique lifted bits of glue inside the palm.

The fingers lost part of their original materials during the incorrent reparation;
we added wood to carve for the proper fit.
This process took two separate glue and cure phases.

The wood was carefully carved after the glue set.

Both statues were dirty and had never been professionally cleaned.
Kate removed layers of embedded grease and grime from
a century of use prior to painting the infill on the new parts.

We are often asked what we use to clean various items.
The reason we do not state this publicly is that someone might use what
we used successfully on the wrong object without testing
the technique or formula and harm their object.

Finally, the newly carved infill was painted using Gamblin oil paints,
No other infill was performed.


Before and after treatment.

©MPF Conservation
May be printed for your own use ONLY, not for use on blogs without permission.

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