This is a lovely bombe which had cracked veneer across the curved door faces. Someone had previously repaired it long before our current owners took possession. MPFC treated several areas, but I am posting one area of restoration to the large triangular area on the right-facing door so you can see the process.
Things we discovered in working closely with the veneer:
- Previously a new triangle was fashioned to replace missing or damaged veneer.
- They used either an epoxy or a pink-colored composite to glue the veneer down last time, and this caused the veneer to stretch or expand, causing a tent — not an appropriate use of composite (no one ever should use epoxy on veneer.) Epoxy heats as it cures and this can stretch the veneer, which in this case it did and added to the buckled and frayed line across the front.
- The previous repair person also used dyes without sealing or performing appropriate prep work. The poor color infill created blotchy dark spots. We surmise the dyes worked into open end grain and under the veneer, creating the deep splotchy color. We could not remove the dye without performing intrusive and possibly damaging work.
- I’m not certain what made the areas around the reparations bleach, but we surmise the areas may not have been properly finished.
We cleaned the veneer using naphtha, and removed the white paint that was splattered across the front. The pink composite/epoxy previously used was carefully smoothed, and where possible, was reduced to the elevation of the historic veneer. Also, veneer edges had tented, splintered and feathered; and in those cases 600 grit (VERY smooth) was used to carefully reduce the feathering so no tears could occur.
The triangle inlay is one area which exhibited almost every issue we faced on this piece. Notice all the bleached areas along the crack, and also on the “X”? After sanding to accept shellac with 600, and the feathering completed, it was again cleaned with naphtha. Two clear coats of beige and Siam seed shellac were applied. Once sealed, it became apparent that a dye must be mixed utilized to carefully mitigate the color shifts.
Two shellac dyes were used, one a Van Dyke brown, the other a warm Sienna brown (my names for them). The dyes were added to the shellac. The Van Dyke brown was used on the “X”, the Sienna used on the field, and then occasionally a bit was mixed in any given area for a varied appearance. I did not want the final repaired area to jump out; however, due to the dark stained areas there was no way to completely cover the old repair — so we mitigate the dark areas by fooling the eye. I did not try to match the depth of color, because that can cause a brightness in a finish that appears new from across the room. Better to stay just a shade lighter.
Again, I sanded lightly to begin a new day of shellacking, below. Then the rest of the images are successive build-up shots, six rounds in a long day, the two end coats of beige shellac so that when I have to sand again I won’t remove a dye. It was not completed, but getting there!
Before delivery, a few more coats of clear beige shellac were added in various areas to mitigate other problems, then the piece was polished and waxed.