Textile Conservation: Victorian Tea Cosy, 5, Beading


Continuing from our earlier post on searching for beads…

This post, harder repairs.
Side “A” had many more difficult repairs.

Below is an example of what I shared with our client regarding the worst of her issues on the tea cosy:  rips, missing beads, melted beads, melted beads that melded with
the cotton and linen grid and created a hard “plastic” ridge, especially across the top.


Beginning with that damaged area above:

One of the first things I did is stabilize the areas around the worst problematic repairs.  This gave me a ground of stability from which I can then tackle the worst rips!

In this case, it was developing a protocol and infilling the tassel
(shown upside down above.)  Because of the many missing beads,
I chose a grey bead with a silver lining to add a bit of sparkle that might have been
present in the original beading (we don’t know).  This protocol of tassel will be used throughout the other beaded tassels to add unity to the cosy.  Whenever possible, I tried to use at least one line of the original metallic beads if I had enough to create a row.
These original beads had to have enough gold left on them, and no rust whatsoever.

The toughest repair on Side “A” is just
above the tassel, and involves melted beads,
rips, stabilizing, reweaving, and infill.

Images are labeled, above.  The metal beading that “melted” is so bad it fused,
a phenomena I have seen before with these type beads.
In this case they “melted” into one continuous bar of metal, grabbing onto both
the linen and in this case, some of the cotton batting from the quilting below.

The entire bar of melted beads had to be removed, along with the
linen grid and some of the embroidered “x” embellishment.

I have a good guess as to how these beads “melted” on the cosy:
Tea was made, and a steaming tea kettle of boiling water was mostly emptied but set next to the cosy — or even the extremely hot teapot was set with the spout facing the cosy.  Years of hot steam finally melted the beads, rusting them into the linen weave and breaking them in two or melting them into the bar across the top of the tassel motif.

Oddly, the metal beads are also magnetized!

Warp and Weft and Fill!

In some needlepoint/beaded repairs, a full linen warp and weft would be rebuilt.
Unfortunately, the tea cosy is badly damaged, and so a hemp backing was placed behind the entire piece.  Especially as it is not going under a frame, but back into the tea cosy shape, all repairs are going through the added stability of the hemp backing.  Still I needed to lift a warp and weft up, and fill it so there is no dip in the infill.

Using Gutermann thread, I wove a loose grid.
I used matching embroidery thread to fill the warp and weft, giving it the lift it needed — the “fill” — so that the beads would be sitting atop a solid ground.
The area is ready for beading and embroidery, but…

There are many areas surrounding
the damage that need attention.

There were issues all around the one huge melted repair — small rips where other melted beads existed, and along with them, crystal and white bead losses.

Before I started beading, I decided to stabilize and repair all the smaller rips,
choosing Gutermann threads and/or the embroidery threads, depending.
Ultimately these are holding the piece in stasis until the beading is completed,
because the beading through the hemp backing fill be the final stabilizing repair.

Remember that this tea cosy is not going back into service.
It is a collector’s item, rarely to be used if ever.

I walk you through each step, above, from the stabilizing to the beading.

There are problems associated with these extremely damaged beads and the linen grid beneath.  The first is that it distorts the linen in ways that can make it difficult to bead using the linen as a guide.  Sometimes they distort it so much that it is impossible to even get the linen to lay flat, so there is a bit of a lumpy underlayer and getting a smooth grid of beads over the top can be difficult.

Also, surprisingly, there were different sized original beads.

On a side note, from time to time a bead is melted in place and cannot be removed,
above, without causing more damage to the piece.

The metal beads were not the only beads lost, as we discussed earlier.
I scavenged all the loose crystal beads from both sides of the cosy in order to create one complete side, which was side “A”.  It is interesting to note how different both sides actually were, and I believe they were so from the beginning.  Below, note the
differences even in colored embroidery threads from “A” to “B”.

Note the green embroidery thread in “B”, in the place of the black threads on side “A”?
There were design issues too — they generally appeared the same
but not when you looked closely.  I am not surprised.  This was a hand-made cosy!

Tassel Repair.

I have two more difficult areas where decisions were made.
Some of the warp and weft around the tassel edgings were disintegrating.
You can tell where they were stable or not because my beading might be
a little wonky in the areas where I had no grid!
I was able to save some of the original metal beads in this tassel.

Edging and floral repair.


Here, the edging becomes stable, but as I reach the corners the motif is missing parts.
I decided to save some of the crystal beads for other places and go with the white floral motif, much like what is seen within the body  of the piece.
We have flowers, leaves, and stems.  I chose to go with the gnarled look of the stems, which is what it appeared to do in the body of the piece as well.

There as no clue as to the actual design of the chevron-shaped area at the
bottom of the cosy, above.  I turned them into one of the flowers.

And another oddly difficult area to bead, showing from one side to the next.
I was surprised, but there were intentionally three rows of crystal beads on these dropped motifs.  At first I thought it was my mistake, but the area warranted many more beads.

Side “A” of the Cosy is complete.
Below, I show before and after
conservation and restoration.


Below, some details in a slide show.

Will post as I progress my final bits on Side “B”!

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Textile Conservation: Victorian Tea Cosy, 4, Beading


I started on the easier side,
“B” from the previous post
,
but now I move to the side that is
far more damaged, side “A”.


Note: These images are not in chronological order in this post.
We will cover some huge repairs in the next post.

Above, teasers of the before and after treatment in the body of the motif.

As with Side “B”, strategies were created to reproduce even grid lines when the linen underneath the beaded areas resist the process due to rust from the “melted” beads, disintegration or warp and weft, or broken fibers.  One strategy is using several beading needles to line up rows as I bead.  Replacing needles frequently so that you are using sharp needles is important, but I keep dulled needles in a bag for just this purpose.
In the left image an example of lining beads up on older needles;
on the right, notice the areas where the beads simply would not line up due to
the uneven surface.  In those instances, I do my best.

BEADS

From an earlier post, I discussed “burned”
metal beads.  
Throughout each side, many beads are “burned” or “melted” (heat and water/steam damage), but as we tackle side “A”
there are extreme burned areas. Sometimes the melted beads are stuck — that is, I cannot get them to release, and to force the issue might cause more damage to the overall structure.

Oddly, the metal beads are also magnetized!

There were so many missing beads a protocol (strategy)
of use was determined.
The larger crystal beads
were missing in many areas around the perimeter, as
were many metal beads.
These were also needed throughout the flowers, tassels and rope braid motifs.  I decided to remove the
inner layer of original crystal rimming beads (right),
using them elsewhere within the piece. The metal beads were replaced by a well-matched 9/0 sized bead.

“New” crystal beads were also utilized for some infill where needed, especially in tight places, but the problem with the new beads is it made the older crystal beads look
dingy by comparison.  Tiny scratches over time dull the beads slightly.
I was careful where I used the new beads… Betcha can’t find them!

An entirely new grey bead became the inside rim, which you will see later.  I like making the new beads obvious when the design is a departure, not a matching of older beads.  They can then be clearly identified as a new beads within the report back to our client.

I surmise there were two “metal” beads: one which was metal — that is the one that
melted most and was highly magnetized; a second that was glass with a metal lining. The metal disintegrated rusting bead can be lifted easily by a magnet, while the glass bead can be picked up only sporadically with a very strong magnet. The first is the one that so badly disintegrated, and this is being replaced by a
similarly looking antique gold glass bead to the second glass/metal bead.

A third bead was needed for the tassel and the braids, above; I chose a grey glass bead with a silver lining, which allowed for the variety that was once present in the tea cosy.

I wish we knew the exact appearance of the historic design; a best guess
based on the current design and missing bead patterns is the best we can do.
It in interesting to me that all of certain beads are gone,
and I can tell by the pattern of missing beads.
They must have been quite fragile.

The other oddity is the varying sizes.  A 9/0 size is the norm for the bulk of the beaded options, but the original crystal beads are 8/0 sized — which causes problems with the texture of the weaving, though it is no problem around the edging nor in the braided rope holding the tassels.  I don’t think they are newer beads now that I’ve lived with the piece for a long time — but I don’t know why they didn’t keep to uniformity.

Our final new beads were as follows:


Beads to the left are new beads, working within the overall design.
Beads to the right are beads that try to match the existing beads.

Problems associated with these extremely
damaged beads and the linen grid beneath?

They distort the linen in ways that can make it difficult to bead using
the linen as a guide.  Sometimes they distort it so much that it is impossible to
even get the linen to lay flat, so there is a bit of a lumpy under-layer and
getting a smooth grid of beads over the top can be difficult.

INFILL VERSUS STABILIZING

The original yarn colors
were bright green and
bright red! (Note the
back side of the cosy, left.)
I am beginning to think
this might have been a Holiday Tea Cosy!

However, I want to
match the yarn colors as
they are now. Not a
totally easy feat as
they change a bit
over the entire piece,
so I am looking for
a dark red and dark olive
that blends well overall.

Above, stabilizing a small rip with a Gutermann thread, then beading over the top..

Discussing infill yarns
versus stabilizing with embroidery or other threads…

I use two threads to stabilize the ground for beading and strength.  One are Gutermann sewing threads in various colors, shown above.

I also use embroidery threads to stabilize areas which are not yet broken, right.  I reach out into the yarn needlepoint in those areas and add a bit pf stability in a matching color before I bead over an area.

Above, I stabilized an area (which I will document in depth next post)
first in an embroidery thread for strength, but embroidery thread is quite shiny.
I overcast the yarn over the area to give it visual unity.

Of course, there are also many areas where the needlepoint must be infilled.
These dot the entire cosy, both sides, and I reproduce the stitches exactly in those areas.

My client will receive extra yarns and beads to save in the event she needs them in future, thought it is likely the colors may continue to fade over time.

Finally, procedurally, I take notes throughout, above, including how long it
takes me to bead areas.  The latter I do because it gives me more information
with which to do estimates in future.  The former because I can forget what
I did in an area, and this is important for the reports.  When I am in the
“beading zone” I pretty much lose touch with reality around me!

Next post, difficult repairs!

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Louis XIV Chest, 1, Woodworking


The chest of drawers is a seventeenth century French Louis XIV,
shown above after treatment in its full glory.
The drawers are wide and deep, and one can imagine a wealthy woman having a lovely chest to place long full slips and undergarments in with room to spare.

Before and after treatment, above.

To show all the various repairs that go into a piece like this would be monumental;
instead we offer a sampling of the many preservation/conservation
repairs performed on the Louis XIV chest.

This post covers samples of structural reparation.

Veneer was created ahead of time for the project,
as the original veneer was thicker than commercial veneers made today.
It was cut from old, vintage stock,
and finished using traditional pure shellac created in the studio with no fillers.

Top Left Drawer Corner

The top left-facing drawer corner is a good example of a complicated repair:
we show treatment up to the time it is ready for finish, below.
The top corner edge is broken and contains desiccated rubble, possibly some from
an old insect infestation.  The punky structure probably made for an easy break.
Before and after treatment, as a teaser, above.

Right, the right-facing top corner
for comparison.  On the left-facing
top corner the damaged punky wood (rubble) was excavated from
the broken top drawer edge.

The splitting veneers were shaped
for repair with various chisels.

The voids are measured.  Three
different pieces are crafted to be used
in the repair: An angled piece of
drawer; A backing that runs the length of the drawer face; The lip itself.

When these are completed, the pieces are glued using hide glue, and clamped to cure.

The second day, the clamps off, and the various parts are shaped, using carving chisels
and small planes, then sanded with a sanding tool shaped for this application.
Veneer is trimmed for replacement with new veneer.
The pieces are glued using hide glue, and clamped to cure.

The drawer is ready for finish work, which involves matching the color of the shellac.

Escutcheon Mortises

Several screw mounting mortise were enlarged and this left
the pulls to move about, scratching the drawer faces.
The repair involves carefully routing the mortise from both sides
(so as not to damage the veneer), insert matching stair-stepping wooden plugs,
gluing in place, and then carefully redrilling the mortise.
The mortise now hold the escutcheons securely.

We move to Pest Infestation!

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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Flax Wheel


This is a family heirloom, a spinning wheel made for spinning flax.
Our client inherited the wheel and wanted the small piece broken repaired.
It is unlikely that it will be used again, but it has to be strong enough
for someone to move it and not snap it.

Disassembled the part to be repaired.

Simple, straight forward repair, FAILED.

People don’t talk about their failures often, but they should.
We learn from our failures.  In this case, while we knew that there might be a need for a thin insert, the utter inability of the normal repair to hold at all surprised us.
Options like drilling and pinning were not available due to the
fragility of the piece and the size of the small part needing repair.

We decided to create a prosthetic.  We wanted it to be as thin as possible
while still able to guarantee the repair would not fail.

Our prosthetic was designed, and a template taken of the inside curve of the piece.
The wood was bent to fit the inside of the piece.
The inside was lightly sanded to allow for adhesion.
Old Brown Glue, with no additives, is reversible, and this was applied to both sides of the repaired area.  Four hands held it while it was clamped to cure.

Sadly, our finish images were lost (glitch),
but the piece was finished to match the historic finish.

Broken piece before, and after treatment.

Flax wheels are not often seen; we offer our images of the flax wheel, before and after.
iPhone destroyed several days of images in their update.

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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JBC: White Patriotic Jumper Treatment, Finish Preparation


Our White Patriotic Jumper had treatment of:
Treatment, Tail, Part I;
Treatment, Tail, Part II,
Treatment, Tail, Part III,
Treatment, Knees and Thighs, Treatment, Belly Split.
When these repairs were completed, we could prep surface repairs and finish.

The White Patriotic Jumper is a sample treatment,
so our client, Restore Oregon, can see the process from start to finish!

This post is about the preparation
of the existing finish in order
to paint the Patriotic Jumper!

In order to repaint the horse, which has suffered many repairs,
the existing acrylic paint must be removed.
Further, the existing paint has issues described below.
This is not a complete stripping, but removing varnish and
top acrylic paints by hand, in order to find the stable acrylic base coats,
meaning paint that is not soft and not contaminated
by the varnish topcoats and deep grime left on the horses.

Regarding this process, in hindsight,
we discovered many issues we had with the existing acrylic paint.

We noted the acrylic was soft in our early testing, above.

Grease and grime from the kids handling and
lack of good maintenance before storing was also an issue.
Note: Remember all items should be cleaned of oily grime before storing.

However, as we investigated the various paint colors on various parts that were unlikely to have been covered with grime, we have to now come to a different conclusion.
The existing acrylic paints were also the problem.
The roof of Patriotic’s mouth, which is not a place children would touch
(less grime factors) and which was not coated with inappropriate varnishes,
comes off in a soft slippery thin coat, and is difficult to sand.


Like all of our repairs up until the actual painting of Patriotic Jumper,
the reparation and abrasions did not happen sequentially.
When Mitchell finished the belly repairs; he began his removal of the damaged
existing acrylic paint while Patriotic Jumper was upside down.

Not many images of the removal and abrasion process were taken.
Some of the initial stages we were in masks due to chemicals used in the process.
Note: We use very small amounts of dangerous chemicals in our business.
Naphtha was used to remove the stubborn varnish and grease from the existing acrylic paint.  Abrasion was used to remove the softest top layers of existing acrylics.

Removal of top coats began with scraping and sanding.
Oddly, the existing acrylic paint smelled damp when sanded, which is very odd.
Wherever this horse has been in past, he’s been in our climate
controlled studio for many months and so we have no explanation for this.
In the second image above, you can see that some of the paint literally popped off,
and this may be because of proximity to the belly and damp wood beneath.

As we were sanding, we wanted to see all potentially compromised joins
in order to seal as we prepped, as shown on the neck, below.
We want to seal all open stable cracks in order for the paint to be smooth,
and also to prevent moisture wicking into cracks.


In one case we found a
reason to insert a keylock, right. The romance rump
was starting to split at a
board join, and what appeared
as hairline crack of no importance under the pain showed that a larger crack was developing, and we needed
to stop that split in two
boards before it grew and undermined a completed horse’s finish several years down the road. Painting was delayed while a keylock was carved into the rump.

The stars used in the
last restoration were surprisingly gummy
stick-on stars, and
they were coming off, right.
We removed all the
stick-on stars, and will
replace with painted stars.
The stick-on stars were
placed over areas where
there were indentations in the wood.  It doesn’t make sense that the stick-ons did this, so we are uncertain as to the history of the indentations.
The bumpy star indentations also were removed, above.

Various methods of paint removal were utilized to get into the crevices,
and the sanding itself is difficult work.  Hand-sanding is necessary as motorized sanding
is not gentle and it is extremely easy to over sand and dig down into the wood.
Hand carving and scraping tools were utilized.

In most cases, only soft acrylic paint was removed,
except in areas were woodworking treatment was performed.

Patriotic Jumper is a century old, and in some areas carving walls have
diminished or fragmented, or walls around gems have splintered.
Mitchell cleaned up fragmented walls where possible,  Above, he carved a bit around the flower on the shield, where the carving edges were tattered and nearly invisible.

An example of our paint removal, before and after, above.

The manes can be wildly flowing and difficult: using a carving tool
is one of the easiest ways to remove the paint in the grooves.
It just takes a light touch not to dig down too far!

Ears, eyes, nose, teeth…

Finally, we polished the gems.
Some of the gems were terribly scratched by some sort of abrasive.

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He is fully prepped (tail to be added later)!

Gesso, the first step in finish work can begin!

Follow us for updates on the happenings at the stable!
We will continue to take you behind the scenes!
Search “JBC” or “Jantzen Beach” in our search feature (right) for more posts.
To keep abreast of our post, follow us here or
on Instagram (@mpfconservation) or on Facebook !

 

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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JBC: White Patriotic Jumper Treatment, Belly Split


Our White Patriotic Jumper has repairs to be made on the tail,
the tail-to-leg connection, all four legs, and his belly.
When these repairs are completed, we will treat surface repairs and finish.

The White Patriotic Jumper is a sample treatment,
so our client, Restore Oregon,
can see the process from start to finish!

This post is about two splits: belly and rump!

Before we began the repair, we had no idea of the reason for the belly split;
we assumed they were split due to chemical stripping, however,
as we began the repair the evidence suggested a water event.
When you tie in the dry rot around the tail, then plausible reasons can be surmised:
1) Patriotic lived outside for a time during his long life;
2) At one time, excessive water was used during cleaning and not thoroughly dried.
An over head leak is also possible but the storage facility showed
no evidence of a leak overhead where Patriotic sat for many years.

Mitchell was to do several keylock repairs, which are excellent
woodworking repairs to halt degradation of a split.


Mitchell looked at different layouts to cover the split;
In the end we settled on two on the tail end, to cover the larger end of the split,
then further out to stop the split from continuing;
and one to three on the head end, for the same reason.

Mitchell wished he could have saved time using a plunge router, but
with the curvature of the belly and the unknown nature of what
we might find, he decided to hand-chisel the keylock mortice.
It was, in the end, a very good thing, because of the surprising
degradation of the century-old horse.

Mitchell began cutting the first keylock toward the rear, and we discovered the wood was punky. Not quite rotten, but as if it had endured being waterlogged. It was difficult to maintain a straight wall along the edge; the wood crumbled instead of cutting clean. We treated the inner walls of the keylocks with a museum product to strengthen them; even so, when the first keylock was cut, inserted, and tapped, a portion of the softer wood cracked, causing more repair work with the old wood.

This precipitated larger keylocks
all along the belly splits.

Moving toward the head, the same process was used, however, there was a bit less water damage evident.  Two nice keylocks sufficed to stop the split from moving further.

Along with the belly split, we conserved the bolts that tie
the iron pole plate the horse secures onto the belly of the jumper.
We had not initially planned to do this, but with the potential issues around
water damage, this was a preventative measure.
Holes were redrilled and plugged using hard wood dowels,
then the bolts were replaced into tight fitting bolt holes.


The belly is finished…
Finish work can begin!

Follow us for updates on the happenings at the stable!
We will continue to take you behind the scenes!
Search “JBC” or “Jantzen Beach” in our search feature (right) for more posts.
To keep abreast of our post, follow us here or
on Instagram (@mpfconservation) or on Facebook !

 

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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Textile Conservation: Victorian Tea Cosy, 3, Beading


Continuing from our earlier post on searching for beads…

The cosy has two sides, arbitrarily labeled “A” and “B”
for reporting and discussion sake in the report.

Some of the areas of the tea cosy have disintegrating linen warp and weft,
or loosening warp and weft, shown above left, where is becomes unstable and unruly.  Reweaving is difficult due to the beading interspersed around the edges;
there are bare holes in very small areas.  Further, there are beads which are loose but have not fallen off.  I chose to back the entire cosy with an organic
undyed unbleached woven hemp.  I can then bead and stabilize into the hemp below.

Another issue are what I call “burned” metal beads, shown in details above and right.  I in the right image above, lower right quadrant of the image you can see gold, pewter, hematite and crusty rusty looking beads; these are heat and water/steam damaged beads.  See the darkened red yarns, right?  This is not dirt stain but the residue of the heat damaged beads.  I would love to remove some of these beads, but the most damaged of them are welded to the warp and weft.

I have seen this exact melted or burned beads in other Victorian pieces.
One of the first beaded pieces I treated in Portland had several areas so badly
“burned” that it ripped the warp and weft in two… to reweave I had to cut out some of the melted beads to remove.  They no longer looked like beads but melted metal!
I rewove the ripped missing areas in order to have a good base to reweave new beads.

My goals for the tea cosy are to surmise the the design in areas
for which I have no historical record for — which means by looking
at the two sides I do not have a whole motif.
I will infill with appropriate appearing beads and to stabilize loose beads.
Not every bead will be stabilized — some are not loose — and that would be
a very expensive endeavor and this cosy will not be used as it once was,
but treated carefully like the Victorian lady she is!

When the two sides have been beaded and stabilized,
I will clean both pieces (I cannot do this now with so many beads loose),
infill yarns as necessary, create the quilted interior and ruched ruffle,
and reconstruct the tea cosy with the new quilted interior and silk ruched ruffle.


Step one: tack the
tea cosy onto the hemp backing.

I built a frame and taped the backing into place, then loosely tacked in six places.
I will start beading in the center and move outward evenly, in order to ensure
I do not have areas of gap or bunching in the hemp under the beading.


Beading begins.

The first day there were experiments with the various beads,
so it was slow going, and more than once I removed my beading.
I don’t know if there was a bead that was lost, but every so often I find
an oddly placed clear bead in the center of white,
leading me to think that the edges of the petals were not all white.


Also, in areas such as this petal, where the warp and weave below is not stable
but loose and uneven, I take the time to understand the bead weave as I go.
A second or third beading needle is used to align and study the weave
and hold beads in place as I stabilize around them.

Different sized beads.

I am encountering several areas with different sized beads,
both on the edges of motifs and sometimes in the center.
I don’t know if the cosy was repaired once before, but nothing tipped
my mind in that direction as we excavated the various pieces.
I may never know.

For now, I am labeling them when I note them “original bead” and “larger bead”.
I am sure the bulk of the original beads were the smaller size, between a 9/0 and 10/0;
the second size looks to be an 11/0.  My new beads are all in that size range.

Examples of stabilization as I bead.

Most of the time I am
picking up one bead at a time to stabilize by re-threading them to the hemp below, above. In the last image note I am setting a row in place as I stabilize a very loose beads one at a time.  Occasionally an entire area, such as the tulip-shaped flower right, needs stabilization and alignment. All the beads are loose but not falling off.  I might pick up several beads in a row,
then come back and tack the thread down in between.

Above, the area completed
on the first day. I can’t bead for more than an hour at
a time
, and when I get up
from focusing on beads
for that long it is a little
like being tipsy as my
mind and eye adjusts!
I added one new bead to
the design, a milky bead
that picks up and refracts
light at the edges.  A string
of new white beads, though well matched, was simply
too much flat white.
By adding the milky white bead it softens the edges.

I take notes throughout, above, including how long it takes me to bead areas,
because it gives me more information with which to do estimates in future.

This posting serves as a treatment report, to keep with the other documents of the tes cosy in her collection.  Our client will get copies of this and maybe my illegible notes!
A vial of the new beads will also be sent to my client for any possible repairs in future.

Will post as I progress!

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

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