Circa 1870 Esthetic Movement Hutch
Shown above, awaiting it's marble surface.
This eclectic piece was found in a NYC antique warehouse sale. Our function, clean it up - remove the 5lbs of random nails someone drove into the piece, make appropriate shelves, and bring back the period painted finish with tinted carving.
Scraping, cleaning, sanding, filling, all sorts of fun tasks. Covered head to toe in dirt, grim, and old finishes ... all of which had to be removed.
Carving cleanup was required to remove years of the built-up finishes from the original crisp lines. We retraced all the carvings very carefully to avoid changing the original artists design. Resisting the urge to make it better, as the original was crude in nature, the distressed country look came right through.
This was a classic example of a poor previous restoration, and one of the worse condition pieces we ever restored. We pulled about 3lbs of nails out of this unit. Driven at every possible angle, causing damage to every joint and structural section of this piece.
Above left shows a split joint with several large nails stressing the materials. Nails in no way shape or form benefit mortis and tenon joints. They serve to split the wood, increase stress, and destroy the integrity of the piece. Restorers have several methods of restoring loose joints including disassembly and regluing and various chemical treatments which are injected into the piece. There were no nails holding the structure of these piece together when it was made, and there are no reason form them now. A few cut nails may have originally secured the back, bottoms, and moldings - that's it ... none in the structure.
Where feasible, or required due to substantial determination, we completely broke down sections of this piece and rebuilt them.
Epoxies and hardening agents restructure many sections of this piece. Above a filled joint section, below three open joints.
Multiple cracks and splits were found throughout the piece. Each had to be filled. A common mistake with furniture is to attempt squeezing an assembled piece back together. There is a reason the section split, and squeezing will likely result in a split elsewhere or the same section separating again. Only squeeze and reglue a section that easily pushes back together, or when the piece can be safely disassembled.
Finally after a few weeks of scraping, cleaning, crack filling, and structural rebuildling it was time to seal and paint the piece. Two coats of shellac disappeared into the dry wood, then we applied two coats of black or red paint, two more coats of shellac, and a final tung oil finish.
Eclectic Esthetic Style Bar
This esthetic offshoot is a hidden bar unit. Painted in a light beige (Chewy Caramel) color with grape vine and leaf stenciling. Glazing is a garnet shellac, sealed with tung oil to protect against water and alcohol damage.
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