Our client’s Louis XIV Revival Fauteuil from the nineteenth century
came in for treatment of the textile (gentle cleaning, and stabilizing from the back),
conservation of original finish, and conservation of the upholstery buildup (innards).
Before treatment images above. We started, as we always do, with an assessment.
Our next steps were pattern making and excavation of the textile and buildup.
Now we move to preserving the lovely original finish.
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to see the text where applicable.
The fauteuil ready for finish work, above.
The last upholsterers had dripped glue on the carved finish;
this was carefully removed with a small chisel,
then steel wool removed the last of the glue.
We always make our own shellacs; often we make our own waxes,
but not always. For the fauteuil frame, we decided to use two
of three commercial products we occasionally use.
We are not recommending these for your applications at home!
Our criteria depends upon the condition and the type of finish!
We started with Briwax.
We applied liberally and allowed it to set, then wiped it off.
We use Gamblin’s Gamsol OMS (Odorless Mineral Spirits) to scrub into the wax.
Gamblin’s OMS is so gentle — and nearly non-toxic!
We do not wear a mask when using it, just good ventilation,
and it does not cut deep into finishes. A horsehair brush and a large oil painting brush from Kate’s stash was used to scrub. It was allowed to set, then wiped clean.
We then moved to Liberon’s Black Bison. We worked it into the details,
allowed it to set, then removed it selectively with brushes and a clean rag.
It was a lovely color, the original finish enhanced and cleaned,
but we wanted a bit more depth and a little more gloss.
A final coat of Briwax did the trick, applied then buffed for a semi-gloss sheen.
Before and after, below. It should look like a well-appointed finish,
not new (which it is not), but clean and glowing with a nice depth of color!
A bit of the color shift is the lighting in different rooms…
Our next steps are to clean the tapestry and outside back wool rep,
to create the new buildup, and to reupsholster.
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Written by Kate Powell ©MPF Conservation.
May be printed for your own use ONLY, not for use on blogs without permission.