Mognat of Paris Steamer Trunk, 4, Completion

This Mognat of Paris family steamer trunk ca 1900, has been round the world many times.  The heirs brought it to us to clean, stabilize the inner lining, create new handles, and to preserve the character of the outer trunk memories if possible — stickers!

This Mognat of Paris family steamer trunk ca 1900, begins here.
Test cleaning and prep for new leather handles is here.
Inside of the trunk is treated here.

A few images of the trunk before and after treatment:

After

The interior cleaned up nicely!

Before

After

Once again, the steamer trunk will be put
into gentle use in the family home.

 

Written by Kate Powell  ©MPF Conservation.

MPF Conservation (MPFC) is located in Portland, Oregon, USA.
We treat objects all over the Pacific Northwest, down into California,
and west to Idaho, Montana and Nevada.

dkatiepowell [@} aol.com / mitchellrpowell [@] aol.com

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503.970.2509 / 541.531.2383

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Mognat of Paris Steamer Trunk, 3, Inside and Outside


This Mognat of Paris family steamer trunk ca 1900, has been round the world many times.  The heirs brought it to us to clean, stabilize the inner lining, create new handles, and to preserve the character of the outer trunk memories if possible — stickers!

NOTE:  We were posting and Covid hit, and suddenly our business became about finding ways to navigate the many issues Covid brought about, such as finding supplies from closed companies, etc.  We are beginning to post again regularly, but first I am picking up on two projects from over a year ago  to finish! 

The Mognat of Paris family steamer trunk ca 1900, begins here.
Test cleaning and prep for new leather handles is here.

INSIDE

The upper insert with its degrading lining (above)
and ties will be removed, cleaned, and stabilized.

Bottom and top lining is is good condition: we will test it for cleaning
and see if it is a good candidate for cleaning while attached.

To begin, a thorough vacuuming of the textile insert to remove debris, and also find missing tacks.  Some of the “dirt” on the inside top was removed with the vacuum

The lining inside was badly ripped around the main lock when it came to us, above left.
We would prefer to carefully reglue it as we have done below in corners;
this is important to collectors, and while this is a piece for our clients,
unless directed to replace it we will not.  However, we hand-dyed fabric along with our internal gimp in case we need any bits with which to lay behind it before regluing.

Above, an example of carefully regluing tattered ends using a water soluble glue.

The sagging ripping insert lining was in decent condition;
we took a very sharp blade to remove it as it was tucked deep into the crevices.  Additionally it was glued into corners and along a flange coming from under the top inserted shelf.  It is our intention to reuse the original lining.

This original insert lining was gently cleaned, blocked, and backed with a second lining underneath to stabilize the original.  A small gimp trim (reversible as it is applied with water soluble glue) will be the only visible new addition to the the clothing insert tray.

Additionally, the inner handles and strappings were gently cleaned while attached.

OUTSIDE

The exterior of the steamer trunk was very grimy and had what might have
been very old gum attached to it.  First the metal parts were cleaned, but not overly brightened.  We want the trunk to look old and well-appointed, rather than new.

Finally the body of the exterior of the trunk
is gently cleaned of layers of grime.

When the cleaning is complete, we can see a real difference.

The aging wood is treated to layers of new platina shellac,
which warms the color of the wood as well.

The trunk was waxed with clear Black Bison to protect.

Leather handles were created, fitted and ready for installation, above.

We had to wait a long time
for proper rivets during this pandemic!
Rivets installed, finally, below!

 Final post, the completed chest,
will be posted this week!

 

 

Written by Kate Powell  ©MPF Conservation.

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.

Notify if you repost: use our url + copyright is used as reference.

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Louis XIV Revival Fauteuil, Final Details

Our client’s Louis XIV Revival Fauteuil, above.
We started, as we always do, with an assessment.
Then patterns were made and the textile and buildup was excavated.
The  frame finish was conserved.
The tapestry was cleaned and small reparations performed.
The frame was repaired.
The seat buildup (upholstery) completed.
The arm and back buildup (upholstery) completed.

Be sure to run your cursor over images
to see the text where applicable.


DUST COVER

A dust cover keeps the interior clean which deters disintegration.

Our also includes a pocket where a report on the
history of the piece can be stored for future generations.

TRIM

The last item is application of the trim,
which in this case was glued, pinned during curing, and released.

Occasionally trims are hand-stitched into place.

Completed Fauteuil!

Above, the fauteuil before and after conservation.
Below, a slideshow of the fauteuil as it goes through its transformation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The fauteuil is completed!

To see the entire process on one page go here:
Louis XIV Revival Fauteuil.

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

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Del Rey Dining Set: 2, Paint

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.
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!
Part 1 of the cleaning of this set is here.


Lovely set was almost ready for the infill, top coat, and wax.
I would have left the woman and her donkey as is, except that both were splintering, which made me decide to gently sand the splinters and infill to preserve.


Chairs cleaned, but missing paint.

I mixed matching historic paints, a bit tricky due to the overcoats.   Some paints were made of paint pigments no longer in use, and the old formulas varied wildly from batch to batch due to the nature of the raw materials.  We’ve treated dozens of pieces of Mason Monterey, as well as  Coronado and Imperial Monterey styles, and I’ve created paint chips for all the colors of paints, and have notes on the written formulas.

Del Rey is new to me, and there were colors that matched Mason. However, I still had to mix colors, such as the lovely turquoise of her skirt.

Reparation infill begins to fill seriously damaged areas.  The knobs were originally orange but many had lost most of their paint, and two were splintering!

Infill was needed on most of the decorative areas, though we only infilled what was necessary. Some paint for the decorative figures on the table and chairs were lifting, so both a seal (which you can’t see in the images) and infill was used to preserve.

The topcoat was removed by grease in many areas.

A sealer coat was placed on the table and hutch before the top coat of paint was placed all over all pieces.  The top coat also acts as a second seal for loose paint.  It is too shiny in these pictures, but was taken down after the paint cured to match the paint in the well-preserved chair (ours),  above.

The goal is to have a set that is functional, safe,
and preserves as much of the original finish as possible.

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

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End of the 2021 + Holidays

We are happy to see the back of 2021 in so many ways!
It’s been a tough couple of years, trying to do business during Covid,
with shortages in staffing and materials in many vendor businesses, and also,
some people did a Jekyll/Hyde thang where the worst in them arose,
while others became more patient, even saintly!

Going into 2022, everyone’s New Year’s Resolution should
be to be more kind and patient than ever before,
because we are not out of the woods yet.

We are going to hibernate a lot this holiday…
unplug completely and be still and recharge our energy.
We will be back January 5th, rested and ready for a shift in a better New Year.

Wishing you a safe, healthy
and prosperous 2022!

       

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

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Mason Monterey Club Chair, 5 Cushion Buildup

This continues several posts on the preservation of a lovely
Old Wood Mason Monterey Club chair from our client’s family.
To see the excavation, go here.
To view the finish notes, go here.
For the seat buildup, go here.
For the frame upholstery, go here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The historic cushions placed onto the newly upholstered frame, above.
Mitchell took notes on any changes he might want to make.

We began with the inside back cushion.

The cushion was carefully excavated, and each layer was inspected and considered for reuse where possible.  Those parts that were able to be reused were cleaned and/or carded.

A new ticking was created, and the new buildup of both historic and new materials executed into a new inside back cushion, ready for its showcover.

The same process was performed for the seat cushion, above, except that a new seat cushion was created to replace the old as the historic springs were quite worn.
In the last image above you can see the new cushion height compared to the old.


Once the cushions were rebuilt, the show cover was upholstered.

The showcover is a richly embroidered landscape of critter activities!
Mitchell cut the cushion upholstery to make sure that in each cushion,
all the critters and flowers were represented.

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The boxings and small edging was made of the same leather that upholstered the frame, and the underside of the cushion was also leather, so the chair has the possibility of being seen in three ways, below.

The chair is now ready for
another 75 years of love!

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Mason Monterey Club Chair, 4 Upholstery

This continues several posts on the preservation of a lovely
Old Wood Mason Monterey Club chair from our client’s family.
To see the excavation, go here.
To view the finish notes, go here.
For the seat buildup, go here.

Progress up to this post is shown below in a slide show.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In this case, when we talk upholstery we are speaking of upholstering the frame;
a bit later on we will upholster the cushions in the two showcovers,
leather and a fun fabric that George Mason would have enjoyed!

Because this piece is a creation from the American Depression Era,
we chose to use an upholstery form that we coined “traditional-modern” upholstery.
It is the combining and placement of traditional natural fiber stuffings and
lashing techniques, coupled with modern, machine-made, per-fabricated edgerolls.

The leather showcover on the seat was sewn and readied…
I love the pretty hemp cloth used in the center and wish we could get more
but it is discontinued.  Beautiful under-cloths!

Seat buildup using various hairs, organic cotton, coir, and finally the leather.

The inside back, above:
both the seat and the inside back will be covered by cushions.

The outside back, above.

In the second image you can see both the dustcover
and also the outside back showcover fabric is tacked onto the top rail.

Note the leather trim that surrounds the outside back, and the leather strip used as
a trim with decorative nails spaced around the bottom to match the front of the chair,
which can also be seen below along the front edge..

Final step, we flip the chair over and apply the dustcover.
Our dustcovers are special, with a hiding place for valuables or memories.

Next post, we will talk about
restoration of the cushions.

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

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Looking Back at 2020 and Covid Delays

In hindsight, what we did to cope
during the early days of Covid.

We had to think of ways to reuse items that should be disposable…  It was impossible, for instance, to get gloves.  Most places made you register as a medical facility to purchase.

Mitchell washed disposable gloves in alcohol, so instead of tossing we set them in a bucket, added alcohol, swished them clean and set to dry. We had gloves all over a towel on the the floor in the reception area!

We almost ran out of alcohol, which we use in many things, so took to saving it in glass jars.

We FINALLY got gloves and alcohol for the biz… without either there would be no shellacking!

Hard to explain to the dozen clients we had in line!

We use small and large
canning jars in our business — both for mixing shellac and paints. Jars became impossible to find except on Amazon, and they price gouged at $40-70 for a dozen, as opposed to $14-25… Crazy.

Why the shortage?  Lack of people to make jars? We had to go back to charge clients for jars (a first), which made many grumpy!

This was so on many products.

The second issue was having to find products.  We like to purchase from small vendors, but many did not have product.  Having to find items shortened my work day by several hours… Three hours several times a week equaled shortened billable hours for our clients!

We are happy to be catching up and finally making schedules that we hope to keep!  *Shhhh, don’t tempt the scheduling gods*

I am starting to write regular posts and hope that we never see another year like last year!

It was exhausting.
And I gave thanks for having work, and our health.

 

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

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Business Etiquette, 2


It goes without saying that clients should be treated with respect and decency.
We strive for that, and also try to keep on top of updates even though few clients ask for them, because progress on pieces is usually interesting to owners and curators.

This post is building on the first post on Business Etiquette, which you can read here.  We are suggesting Client Etiquette as well:

  1. Be polite… and be generous and calm in your emotional responses.  We expect what we give… Consider that the we are doing the very best we can do and there are conditions out of our control that may have caused your distress.
  2. When we ask for information (like your address) don’t refuse to give us your information.    If you have an issue we can discuss it.  Assume that a business has a reason for their protocol, i.e., we ask for full contact information before engaging our time in estimates and other time consuming dialogues.  If you ask we are happy to tell you why.  We ask for full name, address, phone number, email, if the person contacting us is the owner, and best time to call.  Perhaps you live on the other side of the country and we might recommend another conservator.
  3. Beside pickup and delivery (and estimating these items, we also keep a copy of the estimate form with each item, and that form has all pertinent contact info.  If info is missing, then in the event that something happens to us, you may get an item back when our executor has the time to chase you down.  These protocols were made critical when Covid hit.  We do not sell/share client information.
  4. Ask a business if they prefer text messages before sending it… for our purposes we do not unless we are coordinating an imminent delivery.  We prefer emails because they can easily become part of a client file and we can see images better and track changes much better than doing business on a credit card sized screen.  This has become more important as now there are two dozen ways to contact a person and if I have to chase a client then I am going to charge for the extra effort.
  5. Read emails thoroughly and answer ALL questions, which keeps us from having to delay a proper response because we’ve had to ask for the same info several times… We know everyone is not operating at full capacity as the pandemic stresses everyone, so it is important to slow down and read important communications.  We never send spam so if we write you, it is important to read and answer!
  6. Finally, work with the delays, understanding that delays usually mean in businesses such as ours that we can’t do better than we are doing and that we are also not getting paid if the projects are not completed, meaning we have a vested interest in completion!