Planter’s Chair: 8 Showcover

We are properly conserving a French-made Planter’s Chair, circa 1860.
(You can begin here, if you like.)
We’ll follow the chair through excavation to the new show-cover.
We left off in the last posting with upholstery buildup
of the inside back, inside arm,  and seat.


Muslin was secured and the inside back and arms
readied for the decorative showcover.

The outside back and outside arms, as well as the
bottom band (apron) will be completed after the showcover and buttoning
is completed on the inside back and arms.

Other than the obvious — that is, our client liked the fabric
and the colors went well in her historic home —
the showcover was chosen because Mitchell knew the velvet
was reminiscent of velvets in the 19th Century,
and so was a good choice for historic reasons.
The lovely fabric is a rayon, cotton and silk pile
on a tightly woven cotton base with a dense thread count.
The gold flecks cause a shimmering effect as you move around the chair.

Trims were also period appropriate embellishments,
especially in their modest appearance with a touch of gold
to play against the gold flecks in the velvet.

When the fabric was delivered, it was immediately unrolled,
a yardage verification was performed, and the entire roll checked for flaws.
Flaws are a common occurrence, and additional yardage must be requested
from the company and/or the fabric returned for replacement.

Patterns were created, which is a lesson onto itself.

Fabric was cut.

Buttons were made (and BTW we usually make extras for our clients.)
Cut into squares, the hand-operated machine
cuts the circles for the button, then molds it onto the metal forms.
These machines are indispensable to a serious upholstery studio.
(Note these images are from another project.)

The inside back muslin was covered with
a thin layer of felted organic 100% staple cotton.
(We buy organic whenever we can.)
The batting acts as a soft buffer between the muslin and showcover,
protecting the showcover from premature wear.
The batting also acts as a dust barrier (filter) and
softens the surfaces creating a sumptuous look and feel.

Buttons were placed as shown above on (note these images are from another project.)
A very long button needle is used to place the location of the button through many layers; the button threads are in the needle in all of the images above.
Once the needle is placed it is slowly pulled through and tied (images 5 & 6).
Cotton is used to keep the button from ripping through the foundational cloth.
Once the button is set at the right length or tension (and this is not easy to do),
the folds are placed, as they rarely “fall”into a pleasing folding pattern.

Buttons were installed;
now the entire chair can be closed up.

Moving to the arms:  Mitchell applied stitching and lashing methods to the intersecting
points between the inside back and inside arms (image 1-4, above).  it was necessary to
cinch the back’s termination points tightly to the internal stuffings and steel frame
in order to prevent slipping and easing of the area where the inside arm begins.

The inside arm was hand-stitched which also allowed the seat-to-arm gully to define.  Mitchell secured and buttoned the inside arm show cover.  Note how nicely the
arm-top squares creating a comfortable support for the forearms?

Pausing to show the entire chair at this stopping point.
Note the extra fabric pulled through the seats.


Moving to the seat, Mitchell places a light layer of organic 100% staple cotton batting
placed over the muslin prior to the showcover, for the same reasons as the
cotton batting on the inside back: protection from premature wear,
a dust barrier (filter) and softening the seat ever so slightly.

Mitchell’s notes: At first glance a pattern repeat on a design like this seems
inconsequential.  It is not!  This showcover had a repeat which was visible and
demanded attention to centering, balancing and matching the motif as it related
to the contours and spatial aspects of the chair.  I notice pattern mismatches and
sloppy placement, and believe even laypersons (clients) will notice over time.

The bottom band was created.  The modest diameter
decorative rope braid was hand-stitched below the front edging
prior to padding and final upholstering of the showcover.

Stitchings and stuffings and lashings and soft cotton toppers,
all for the front decorative banding!  It is surprising to non-upholsterers what
measures are taken to ensure long-terms viability of a soft-structure object with
little rigid structure within… all hidden, all an important part of our upholstery heritage.


.

Decorative front banding was
tacked using #2 blue-tacks,
ready to be blind-stitched.

Yes, Mitchell spits tacks;
true upholsterers do!


The decorative rope braid was pinned
and secured with a locking back stitch.

The chair was turned upside down.
A layer of organic 100% staple cotton batting was followed with 400 ct percale muslin, stretched, pinned, and blind-stitched to the foundational cloth.


A final pattern of the outside back was created by Mitchell;
material was cut and machine stitched readied for application.

Another layer of organic 100% staple cotton batting
was placed over the percale, pinned to the underside
of the decorative rope braid, and blind-stitched or tacked.


Decorative gimp braid was carefully secured
using a good grade white tacking glue.


Mitchell included a secret pocket beneath conserved pieces when possible.
Provenance, a DVD or thumb drive, family photos with
the piece can be stashed in a waterproof container.


Remember the steel hoop listed to one side from a regular sitter favoring a position? Notice how the inside back asymmetrical contour lists above?
This is due to the steel hoop listing.
It also effects how the button’s elevations are seen in certain photos,
though they are level — it is an optical illusion due to the tilted frame.
In person the chair rarely reveals the listing but the still shots reveal it!


The Planter’s Chair completed in our studio!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An overview of the process, from one vantage point, below.

If you would be interested in notification of online classes
coming next year, comment and we will save your email address.
It will be used by no one else for any other purpose.

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

Posted in antiques, conservation techniques, decorative motifs, French Furniture, process, restoration techniques, upholstery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Planter’s Chair: 7, Buildup, Tufted Back and Seat

We are properly conserving a French-made Planter’s Chair, circa 1860.
(You can begin here, if you like.)
We’ll follow the chair through excavation to the new show-cover.
We left off in the last posting with inside back excavation.


The inside back completely excavated.
Note (even if you can’t see it) the frame’s steel hoop tilts to one side,
a product of repeated sideways sitting by an inhabitant.
As we move on, it will sometimes appear as if our upholstering
was “off” when it was actually the tilt of the back’s steel hoop.


14 oz jute hessian was chosen as a replacement for the

original inside back and arm foundational membrane.

The symmetry of the hessian grain positions relative to the frame positioning
and lack of symmetry was calculated and transferred by graphite and chalk
to the hessian in order to insure the best positioning of the woven medium.
The hessian was stretched and pinned then lashed with
heavy 12-ply linen twine in a locking blanket stitch.


Mitchell placed double cross stitches along strategic
points of the hoop and vertical supports to
ensure the hessian did not move over time.

The seat and back now will be built together.

On the seat, arms and back, the buildup occurred in
reverse order of excavation; what came off last went on first.

Second stuffings (horsehair) was secured to
the conserved pod and additional hair added over the lashings
to replace original hairs broken over many years of use.
A new cotton topper was placed upon the hair.
A 7 oz cotton/hemp muslin was stitched to the pod,
making the surface ready for the new showcover.


Historic hair filled cummerbund (lumbar filler)

was lashed into position using linen twine and
covered with 9 oz open weave hessian.


Notice how the lumbar filler wraps around the inside arms,

creating a semi-firm seal between the seat contours
and the inside back and arm base.

The serpentine hair-filled crest and arm “collar” was reinstalled,
loosely stitched with linen twine awaiting amendment.
It was amended just below using polished coir
in order to add resilience to the historic roll.
Even in well-kept upholstery, some losses occur to fibers:
they break, powder, and sift through their encasements.

The serpentine crest and arm roll
were fully lashed using linen twine.

Note the definition of the contours and sloping lines,
running down to the hair pod.

The original inside back second stuffings
(cleaned and teased), was set into the conserved form.
Mitchell left the historic flocked wadding on the hair surface
so the evidence of period materials would be available for future generations.

The second stuffings were lashed into place using linen twine.
Notice the attention paid to using the historic lashing patterns,
easily seen on the outside back of the foundational hessian.

Tufting began using a 5 oz finely woven hemp hessian.
The patterns taken earlier were applied and adjusted to the conserved form.
Mitchell did not want to return the chair’s back in the form
in which our client was familiar, but rather the historic form.
(BTW our client was appraised and excited about these prospects,
but it is always advised to discuss before changing the form of a familiar chair!)

Above, the beginning stages of tufting
showing the elevations and folds defined,
but before Mitchell buttoned the tufts.

Tufts were held in place with 5 ply linen twine knotted
to the back foundational membrane.
In the first image, the muslin was pulled over the crest
and a running stitch installed to secure.
In the second image, note the anchor point for buttoning
was knotted to the foundational membrane.

The inside back muslin was also secured around each arm,
and the buttons continue onto the inside arms.
The gully continued to be defined as a decorative element.

Mitchell attached the inside arm muslin to the form
defining the final arm top and final button placement.
The outside back and outside arms will be completed
after the showcover and buttoning is complete on the inside back and arms.

With that, we move to the the showcover, next post!

An overview of the process, from one vantage point, below.

If you would be interested in notification of online classes coming next year, comment and we will save your email address.  It will be used by no one else for any other purpose.

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

Posted in antiques, conservation techniques, decorative motifs, French Furniture, process, restoration techniques, upholstery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Planter’s Chair: 6, Excavation, Back

We are properly conserving a French-made Planter’s Chair, circa 1860.
(You can begin here, if you like.)
We’ll follow the chair through excavation to the new show-cover.

We left off in the last posting with the Buildup of the Seat.

With the seat buildup completed, Mitchell removed the protective covering
from the inside back (Image #1, discussed why here).

He excavated the original inside back cotton topper (See excavation back
the image with the seat was blurred so showed the image
without the seat built-up) and horsehair, above.
A thin batting of cotton flocking lint, original to the piece, was exposed;
a good deal of the color is the actual color of this flocking, though it was also dirty.
.

Both were cleaned and teased as necessary, and laid face down.

The crest (fiber filled) edgeroll and adjacent collar was lashed
to and around the perimeter of the crest to arm hoop,
over the heavy hessian foundational membrane.
After inspection, notes and patterns were created,
then the edgeroll was carefully removed.

The serpentine hair-filled crest and arm “collar” were carefully lifted
from the steel hoop frame after anchoring stitches were cut.
Mitchel retained the stitches within the hessian so he could
refer to them to replicate the original stitch patterning as necessary.


The serpentine hair-filled crest and arm “collar” was laid atop

the original inside back in the order removed.

The “cumberbund” — the lumbar filled  support — was carefully
removed, patterned, cleaned and readied for reapplication.
It was also placed atop the other inside back pieces in the order removed.

The hoop frame exposed, with the
original hessian foundational membrane, above.

Finally the original hessian foundational membrane was removed, and the steel hoop (frame) was fully exposed. Notice the nice contour to the seat pod at the rear.  From an upholstering engineering perspective, the roll around the seat rear and inside arms play an important function relative to a semi-firm barrier between the inside arm and inside back, keeping a tight fit between those elements.  The roll also acts semi-independently from the central portion of the pod, where the primary center of gravity exists, allowing the sitter to drop into the springs without collapsing the seal between the lumbar area of the inside back and the seat.  It is also easy to see the geometric flavor of the Art Nouveau style, though the chair precedes the production of that style by several decades.

The back is fully excavated, and we move to the
inside back buildup and conservation, next post!

An overview of the process, from one vantage point, below.

If you would be interested in notification of online classes coming next year, comment and we will save your email address.  It will be used by no one else for any other purpose.

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

Posted in antiques, conservation techniques, decorative motifs, French Furniture, process, restoration techniques, upholstery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frances Normandin’s Beautiful Crewel Work, 2: Treatment, Colorwork

Continuing from our first post on crewelwork and cleaning
Frances Normandin’s beautiful crewel-worked textile circa 1930-1940:

The textile is cleaned, but I want to step back to look at some images (before cleaning)
to share some surprising comparisons and talk about caring for a textile.


These images show the front side of the crewelwork
on the left (above) or bottom (below),
and the backside, right (above) or top (below).

Notice how little the dyes have faded?
A bit of brilliance is gone, and that is all…
And look at how neat her back stitches are?
For those who don’t know, it is important when doing needlework
that you pay attention to the backside and keep it neat,
so as not to create knots or pull unwanted threads through.
This is even more critical in textile conservation,
where a pulled knot can deteriorate a fragile textile.

Plus, even though the textile was uncovered/unprotected,
it must have been shown on a wall with little ambient light from outdoors,
because though the dyes had better mordants than the dyes in the older Hearst piece below, shown for comparison (and because geeky stuff like this turns Kate on),
where the older dyes, many of were vegetable, fade quickly.

The back side of the Flemish Sofa’s seat tapestry, Hearst Castle.

Now check out the comparisons of the
Flemish Sofa from Hearst Castle, above,
front versus back, shown during reweaving (**Note bottom).  Yes I posted a lot of pics — but I geek out on imagining what the sofa might have looked like when the dyes were vibrant!  Imagine the sofa, right, in the intense colors shown above!  Wow!  A vibrant interior!  The intensity of the colors has faded.  In fact, textiles conservators have the privilege of seeing true colors of objects versus the dusty faded aged colors!

THAT should change the way you see
things next time you visit a museum!

It is important to keep textiles and paintings out of direct light, and know that even ambient light and fluorescent lighting can cause damage over time.  Placing them under proper glass with UV protection will also help maintain their colors.

If your piece is a large textile, consider only displaying it on special occasions,
or in a dark room, one where you can keep shades drawn.
On the other hand, putting keepsakes away completely results in situations
where the family doesn’t hear the stories, and therefore may not value the pieces
when family members pass on — so our advice is to strike a balance!

Moving back to Frances’ crewelwork:

The crewel yarns arrived, and Kate
will  begin infill.  Unlike our previous project, where she muted the infill colors to make the piece present properly, she is able to use the closest match possible to the original colors, especially on the border, right.
Still, there are three yarns that Kate cannot match exactly — two greens and an orange.  They’ve faded enough that the infill yarns a just a tad bit off.

On the other hand, someone long ago also added two different yarns, assuming they repaired it on two different dates, below!  I don’t think anyone noticed!

Next post, yarn infill!

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url + copyright is used as reference.
**NOTE:  William Randolph Hearst’s Sofa was treated as a joint project.
MPF Conservation treated the upholstery/passementerie and Stan DeRelian rewove the inside back tapestry, the latter of which is far outside our area of expertise.
Thanks to ®Hearst Castle for allowing us to tell these stories.

Posted in conservation techniques, decorative motifs, pigments, preservation, process, reparation, restoration techniques, textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Planter’s Chair: 5, Buildup, Seat

We are properly conserving a French-made Planter’s Chair, circa 1860.
(You can begin here, if you like.)
We’ll follow the chair through excavation to the new show-cover.
We left off in the last posting with frame and finish conservation.

Mitchell began with the chair turned over.

Upholstery conservation on the conserved frame begins underneath.
Mitchell intends to web the frame in the original basket-weave pattern,
same placement, using similar webbing to the original.

Mitchell’s note:  If you remember the oddly placed webbing (last image above),
the more I considered it, the more I realized this was likely NOT the original webbing.  Tack hole patterns suggest a tightly woven webbing of greater width, also European.
In this, the oldest generation found, note it is likely numerous courses are missing.
The webbing was a high quality herringbone jute, modest in width, metric, of European origin.  The upholsterer chose to overlap the edges of the spring instead of supporting
the spring at center (the spring could fall through, see third image).  It may have been rewebbed from underneath, as the springs were also not lashed to the webbing.

Mitchell placed his webbing in a tightly placed basket-weave with very little space
between courses of webbing, in keeping with the French style of upholstering.
We chose to rewebb and place the webbing in what appears to be the historic position.  The historic position/patterning corroborates our supposition that the chair
was made in France or was created in the French style.

We keep samples of original show covers, burlaps, muslins, and webbings for our clients.

Webbing completed; Chair turned right-side up!

Cleaned springs were placed, still tied, into position.
Mitchell realized that to preserve the decorative arms a second, additional prosthetic
block was needed underneath the block placed in earlier (see previous post).
A double blocking system was the totality of the addition on both sides.

Mitchell noted the direction of the springs during excavation,
and places them properly into position.

Tying shown at the start.  We show these ties and knots in
other reports online, and will be teaching them
in online classes in the near future.

The four-way double tie completed.

Mitchell’s note: The wear-points found on the old iron springs indicated the piece was
originally a four-way tie.  Clearly the maker crafted it with the intent of the
user dropping deeply into the seat with a low center of gravity, ergo, the four-way tie.
So much can be learned by paying close attention to details during excavation!

The springs were covered with a tight jute hessian,
creating the Spring Deck.

The hessian was tied to the springs in a four-point pattern.
Mitchell sees an unintended homage to the Holbein stitch and wonders about the connection.  The Holbein is shown in the buildup, and will be taught in our online classes.

The historic seat deck pod was cleaned, hand-blocked,
and selectively teased and made ready for installation.

Additional coir was secured to the conserved pod,
and the pod was placed onto the Spring Deck.

A beautiful polished hemp open weave burlap
covered the original hessian, and was tacked into place.
Both the historical pod and the new topper were used.

The fiber pod was marked, readied for lashing into place using 12 ply waxed linen twine.
Three rows of lashing established a firm front edge and edgeroll,
while two courses of twine transited the seat contour keeping stuffings in place,
establishing a center of gravity for a comfortable sit.
The third front row of stitching performs double duty in this instance.

From Mitchell: It never ceases to amaze me, even after decades of performing work
on fiber pods, their ingenious design!  While it is easy to comprehend how fiber
stuffed into a casing performs relative to compression and return during a sit or recline,
it is the lashing twines (simple thins strand of tightly twisted fiber) which become
the building blocks for the fiber pod’s ultimate structure and longevity.
These strings strategically placed, patterned and knotted, act like sub-floors and
stud walls in a building. They make  for a cohesive structure which can flex yet remain
firm and shapely, and allows the fiber pod to last decades under consistent use.

The Seat Deck is conserved
(in this image the inside back
is revealed completely excavated).
We move to the inside back excavation next post!

If you would be interested in notification of online classes coming next year, comment and we will save your email address.  It will be used by no one else for any other purpose.

An overview of the process, from one vantage point, below.

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

Posted in antiques, conservation techniques, decorative motifs, French Furniture, process, restoration techniques, upholstery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Del Rey Dining Set: 1, Cleaning

Note:  Some of the changes in color are due to
using two cameras and different lighting!

I bought a lovely Del Rey set owned by one family, and am getting it ready to sell it.
(I forgot to photograph the dang set before I started!)
Unlike most Monterey styles, this Del Rey set would fit even in an apartment, a kitchen,
or guest house, it is so compact.  It is adorable — and I rarely use that word!

It needed little structural work — tightening screws in the back,
and the knobs are all loose from stripped screws.
I  imagine the owners did a bit of work on it (yes sadly.)

The paint finish is in good-to damaged original condition, with areas
where scratches are leaving white paint showing through.
The white paint is highly toxic lead white, an undercoat.
I will touch-up and seal the lead paint to protect users from the lead
(most antique painted finished have unfortunate chemicals),
which will also protect the finish from further degradation.

ALL our work aligns with conservation principles, and to that end, like techniques
and products — to match the historic — and/or reversible products are used.
That said, this is a restoration project using conservation principles.

BUT FIRST, I am going to gross you out.
Be prepared.  This is one of those posts that describes what you’ve brought home,
and what you don’t see.  Grease.  Dirt.  Sugars.
I call this mixture grime for short;
this is not a museum project so need for a chemical analysis!
I need to clean it in order to do the restoration work to it.

So besides being grossed out by this dirt (and I imagine some of you are sitting on
a chair like this right now) there is another problem.  Grime deteriorates the original
paint.  Notice the different color after the removal of the grime in the image above?

Yes, paint came off as well, but not due
to us rubbing or using a caustic cleanser.
The grease was already chemically joining
or re-polymerizing with the oil paint and undermining the adhesion to the wood, above.  In a stunning example of this, right, you can see the migration of paint caused by grease left in place on the top of the chairs.
The lacy effect is paint moved by grease!

This is why it is important to clean your chairs gently (and appropriately)
when you see grime building.  It is not just a matter of being tidy;
the grime will undermine and deteriorate your finishes!

Our knowledge of this style of furniture helps me see what I see,
helps me determine what might be going on without elaborate testing.
Del Rey pieces often have an air-brushed “antiqued” topcoat over
the painted finish; but what I am seeing here is not that, but grime.
One way you can tell is the color of the grime.
Slick shiny grey is grime; a satin finished toasty brown is paint.
I need to get rid of as much of the greasy grime as possible without using a
caustic cleanser which will strip the original paint.  Original paint = value and history.
I need to get rid of the bulk of it though, so that my seal coat
and wax will adhere, and preserve the finish.

I used a 10% solution of unscented organic dishwashing liquid and soft sponge for one pass to loosen and cut through the grease, then distilled water and a clean rag for gentle  scrubbing to remove grime in the crevices of the distressed-by-design finish.
Cotton swabs catch the grime in the crevices and large scratches.
I wear gloves because I am putting my hands in water with lead paint;
especially as I work with this for a living I need to be careful of lead buildup.

I can feel a slick sliding of greasy grime as I clean with cotton swaps and soft rag.
I pay extra attention to the areas where liquid may have spilled, or dirty hands touch — the paint along the top of the chairs, the knobs — people don’t think to clean these parts!

The top of the table and work surface of the hutch are damaged by cleaning,
so I need to be careful so the the paint does not further disintegrate.
Horizontal surfaces more than vertical surfaces.

BTW, I can only clean 2-3 chairs a day, by far the filthiest pieces of furniture!
People often don’t notice their furniture is filthy when they have an “antiqued” topcoat!

Lovely cleaned set ready for the infill, top coat, and wax.

Stay Tuned.  Infill paint happening next!

©MPF Conservation
You may republish on a blog if you link back to this post.

Posted in antiques, chair, conservation techniques, Interim Report, painted furniture, preservation, process, restoration techniques, wooden objects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Planter’s Chair: 4, Reparation and Finish Work

We are properly conserving a French-made Planter’s Chair, circa 1860.
(You can begin here, if you like.)
We’ll follow the chair through excavation to the new show-cover.
We left off in the last posting with the excavation of the seat.

The frame’s joinery had issues in two places and one was a surprise.

We gently disassembled the legs and the front apron, in order to clean the
old hide glue from the mortice and tenon, readying it for reparation.

Tack holes on all possible parts of the frame are conserved using
picks and warm hide glue.  It looks like it takes much more time that other
viable solutions but it doesn’t; one gets into the rhythm and
the picks drop easily into the abandoned tack holes filled with hide glue.

We do not recommend the application of epoxies, putties and/or slurries of glues
(PVA or hide) made of wood flour and shavings for surface leveling,
as it will not impart structural integrity.  These will not hold tacks.
Ultimately they are not reversible as they are nearly impossible to remove
from historic wood surfaces and substrates.  Many epoxy-based glues
and putties will thwart future conservation efforts into perpetuity.

Modestly bruised or worn tenons, where gaps could effect efficacy of the reglued joints, were laminated with thin =veneers made from similar wood species prior to regluing of joint.  Then warm hide glue is applied to cleaned conserved parts, and clamped to cure.

Tack holes in the carved decorative arms were also conserved.
We puzzled over the relief carved design facing the inside part of the arm,
and the flatter plain surface facing the outside arm of the chair.
At first the visual effect seemed confusing (makers have been known to make mistakes) but as we ventured further into the project we realized it was not a mistake.

One bug surprise was the decorative arm to metal frame connection.
The frame connection fragmented into multiple disintegrating bits.
(This is also to remind you that sometimes surprises happen after assessment, during conservation processes.  It is advised to work with your clients about payment,
keeping clients informed as adjustments in costs are resolved.)

The disintegrated parts or blown out broken parts were carefully removed
and a clean surface to attach a connecting piece of hard wood was created,
then the connection was fashioned and the piece assembled.
A small bit of carved decorative wood was loose and glued with warm hide glue.
All the glue used in the reconstruction was warm hide glue, and clamped to cure.
Hide glue is strong and reversible when properly applied and
of good quality without bulking agents or chemical additives!
We used to make all our hide glues, but now we use Old Brown Glue.

The rest of the chair frame holes were conserved. 
Small cracks and chips found in the frame were also repaired
with warm hide glue, and clamped to cure.


Picks are leveled using a chisel.

The repaired persimmon-wood carved arm front tenons were brushed with warm hide glue and returned to original positions in the cleaned, prepped seat side rail mortice.
Perfect fit!
Historic hoop was reconnected using historic slot headed screws,
securing screw and hoop to the backside of the decorative arm front.
Finally, the assembled and glued chair was leveled and clamped to cure for 48 hours.

Mitchell retrofit the inside arm frame with a tacking block; previously upholsterers
toe-nailed into the frame inappropriately, which caused most of the damage.
This type of retrofit is a preservation measure.
In this case, it creates a visual design element, allowing for a structural gully
around the decorative arm foundation resulting in recessed contours around the arm which are embellished with the decorative show cover and woven braids.

The historic iron springs were in good condition;
after a thorough inspection Mitchell cleaned them of rust and
occlusions using
Gamblin’s Gamsol (Odorless Mineral Spirits).


This decorative relief carved scroll was missing
on the left-facing leg and loose on this leg.

The decorative scroll was carved from walnut,
joined to the leg proper then glued and clamped to cure. 
The chair was ready for finish conservation.

Stain infill was determined.

The “stain” was created by dissolving powdered pigment in isopropyl alcohol.
Mitchell applied our stain to cure until completely dry.
After, a topcoat of blonde shellac was applied to fix the infill color in place.

We used an encaustic wax finish on the entire frame’s finish in
multiple applications and viscosities until burnish-able.
MPFC created this wax by infusing bee and carnauba wax with finely powdered pigment with the addition of “drying” oils to polymerize the mixture and act as a fixative.


Jumping ahead, this is the appearance of a  conserved original finish:
warm, a slight sheen, and if you looked closely, evidence of the wear of time.

The frame is conserved and restored as is appropriate;
onward to upholstery, next post!

If you would be interested in notification
of online video classes coming next year,
comment and we will save your email address.

It will be used by no one else for any other purpose.

An overview of the process, from one vantage point, below.

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

Posted in antiques, chair, conservation techniques, decorative motifs, French Furniture, process, restoration techniques, upholstery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment