Friday, January 27, 2012

Velis et Remis: Words to Live By

Translated "With Sails and Oars". It describes going "all out" or "pulling out all the stops" to accomplish a feat. The imagery is vivid: Sails up, oars in, doing all you can to steady the course. Velis et Remis, these are words to live by.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Queen Anne Side Chair Restoration

A recent project...

Object Description: Queen Anne Side Chair, pierced splat back, upholstered drop-in seat.

Primary Wood: Walnut (Juglans spp.)

Coating: Natural resin spirit varnish (UV examination coupled with solubility testing)

Condition Before Treatment: Piece has been previously stored in unstable conditions. It had lost most of its structural integrity. Many joints were loose and walls around mortises were beginning to fracture due to continued strain. Drop-in seat was severely flexing when sat in indicating loose seat frame.

Coating: Finish was extremely dark so as to almost completely obscure the grain. There were minor fissures over entirety of piece.

Desired Outcome: Client expressed desire for structural integrity to be regained and darkness of finish to be treated to regain clarity of grain.

Treatment Performed: Drop-in seat upholstery was removed and fractured frame was consolidated with animal hide glue. Existing upholstery was conserved and replaced exactly as found with exceptions of new webbing, burlap, and muslin. Chair was partially disassembled and fractured joints were repaired. Frame was then re-glued with high tack fish glue.

Coating: Darkness of coating was addressed with lipase-based enzyme cleaning solution yielding little to moderate success. It was then determined that the majority of darkness could be attributed to a degraded coating. Deteriorated coating was then carefully removed with swabs of ethanol, leaving existing finish in corners and crevices to display expected patina. New dewaxed shellac coating was applied and hand rubbed to sheen using Liberon #0000 steel wool and Wool Lube.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Landrey Examines Two Gaming Tables

Gregory J. Landrey has written a very fascinating article about the examination of two similar gaming tables. He sought out to determine if they were originally a pair or otherwise.

He introduces, "A contemporary definition of the word pair is, 'Two identical, similar, or corresponding things,' whereas the Royal English Dictionary published in 1804 defines a pair as 'two things suiting one another.' Two turret-cornered carved Philadelphia gaming tables in the collection of Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, acquired by Henry Francis du Pont sometime between 1925 and 1950, were considered to be a pair by Mr. du Pont, who displayed them as such. Whether they should be classified as a pair may depend on which definition we choose to accept."

He walks through differences in joinery construction, interior framing, carving workmanship, and so on.

It was a very fascinating read and I think worth a few of your minutes. It can be read here. >