Veneer for amendments was created by MPFC ahead of time for the project,
as it was thicker than veneer made today. It was cut from old stock,
and finished using traditional pure shellac created in the studio with no fillers.
The chest was covered with beautiful marquetry, but the thick veneer
was lifting, cracked, and sometimes missing altogether.
Our clients wanted the veneer resecured, and larger pieces of missing veneer replaced. Smaller areas might be treated using shellac burnins and/or hard wax fills.
Some smaller areas could be easily reglued using a hypodermic needle
and warmed Old Brown Glue (pure hide glue.) However, larger areas where
veneers had slightly warped needed a more secure gluing system, below.
Many large original veneer areas were loose and required an innovative support
to cure flat as there was no way to clamp on the backside.
A backing was built for the chest, shown above and below, right.
In a long day, Mitchell wanted to glue down all the major loose veneer areas.
Veneer was gently lifted (not pried,
as it was loose),and loose debris was removed. Hide glue was warmed and inserted via syringe and a thin needle — slipped under the veneer. Veneer was pressed to expel excess glue and wiped clean
before cauling to minimize the mess.
Mitchell used a padded two-caul
system to allow for some soft compression to keep the original veneer from
cracking from pressure. At each stop,
a board was placed over the cauled area, screwed into the backing. The front
was gently but firmly clamped to
hold the caul over the veneer securely
flat while the glue cured.
Once the veneers were resecured, small bits of missing wood were cut to fit from
our veneer and similar procedures used to secure the new wood.
Shellac burnins were used as one fill for the missing marquetry pieces.
Above we show the two-color shellac burnin for the lighter holly wood banding.
Hard wax is created from mixing hard and soft colored waxes.
Above, samples of two different areas utilizing hard wax fills.
These are also excellent to stop future pests from invading.
Below, a corner from start to finish.
The Louis XIV Chest is completed.
Written by Kate Powell, ©MPF Conservation.
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