Monday, February 27, 2012

Indian Rosewood Trunk

A fine piece and a part of the antiques market that is actually on the up! In recent years, Indian and Chinese artifacts have increased in value. This is probably purely down to increased economic prosperity in these parts of the world and can be put down to 'buying back' heritage. 
It is difficult to date a piece like this, as there had been a British presence in India for over 300 years. The likely hood is that the trunk was built sometime after 1845 during the 'Raj'.
As with most items, when the trunk was first brought into the workshop, it really was in a sorry state. As the photos below will show.

The photo below shows the condition of the front before restoration. Much of the brassware was either missing or badly damaged. We removed the clasp from the lid as it was snapped in half and to work out a way of reinstating the hinges.

A large area to the right hand side of the lid had been broken off. A large split can be seen through the middle of the top, also starting from the right. There was a huge number of brass studs missing from the trunk, luckily we found an outlet to purchase this obscure size from. 

There was also another large area of missing wood on the left of the top. We also had to find some in keeping handles for the ends, as these were missing.

After the woodwork repairs, there was a lot of the brassware in need of remaking. There were a few of the original corner straps still intact, so carefully they were removed so they could be copied. This was achieved by scribing round the original on to a brass sheet of the same gauge. The decorative detail was carried out using a chisel and mallet.

The photo (below left) shows the 4 new brass straps with the original in the middle. The brass pins (below right) are used to hold on the straps and also to replace those that a re missing from the design on the front and top. The new brass is aged using an antiquing fluid. Click all on images for a larger view.

The photo below shows the now restored clasp in place. We used silver solder to join the 2 halves and used some of the left over brass sheet to make the strap work on the lid. Furniture pommels were used to secure the clasp, so it could pivot onto the ring at the front. It was polished using a buffing wheel and compound. 

 The whole piece then needed to be stripped and repolished using a traditional oil finish. The stud work was painstakingly secured in place, with over 200 new tacks fitted. Finally the rest of the brass was highlighted with wirewool and the  trunk was finished with brown beeswax.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Provincial Sheraton Tea Caddy c1800

Most items find there way to our workshop in this condition. A lot of the veneer is loose and some missing, there is no key and the polish has seen better days. The piece has faded due to excessive sunlight or perhaps because it has been left in a damp place for far too long.
The caddy is of probable provincial origin, mainly because of the veneers used to decorate the exterior. Instead of high quality Mahogany, Satinwood and Boxwood the maker has used timbers such as Birch and Fruit wood. These would have been much cheaper and more readily available at the time of construction.

The interior has suffered just as much as the outside of the piece as all the original lining has worn away and the caddy lids are no longer fit for purpose. These had to be replaced and the small knobs remade.

The first job is to reattach all of the loose areas and replace missing areas with suitably matched veneers. For the keyhole escutcheon we elected for a high quality piece of Boxwood, mainly for contrast and also for its stability and strength in an area that can easily be damaged.

The interior was then stripped of all remaining lining and old felt and replaced by a medium gauge pewter sheet and aged to suit. The caddy lids have now been replaced with some old mahogany which already has some age to it. The knobs have now been swapped for some more decorative Boxwood ones, these were turned in the workshop to a design in keeping with the period.

The outside of the caddy needed to be finished. As there was almost no polish on it, we had to start from scratch. After some light stain, the piece was oiled and then waxed to give it a mellow lustre. At the time the caddy was made, most furniture would have been finished in the same way. We chose a coloured beeswax to achieve the correct appearance.

After the polish was applied it was time for the finishing touches. The key was cut using an old blank, with just the smallest adjustments and the use of some oil for the lock mechanism.

After this, we added some baise to the underneath to stop the caddy scratching a delicate surface.
The bottom two photos show the finished product. Although the caddy now has a striking appearance, it still has a few blemishes. This gives it the appearance of a well looked after antique as it's important not to over restore a piece of this age.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Queen Anne Chest of Drawers c1710

This is a restoration job recently completed for a customer. It's a shame I neglected to take a photo BEFORE the work was done. Still a very nice piece and increasingly rare these days. Extensive repairs were carried out to the drawers and top, then the piece was waxed. The feet have been replaced by Georgian looking ones......but that could have been done over 100 years ago! The brassware is a copy of some original brass from a Chest of a similar age.........

A bit of Fun!

This is a set of skittles I made for my son. I looked around for some first, but found none of the right size or weight. The skittles are made of Ash and are 20% smaller than regulation. The Beech wood ball is 6" in diameter and made by joining two pieces of wood and mounting the block on a lathe. The skittles are made of 4" stock, also turned on a lathe. The set is then finished with oil and wax to form a durable coating........A good distraction for the kids this Summer.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Regency Dining table- c1820- SOLD

 This table is of superb quality with examples of its style becoming more and more difficult to find. The table works on a telescopic 'pull out' system, a method which in later years was replaced by the Victorian winding mechanism.
The 3 replacement leaves have been extremely well matched as shown. The table forks, a means of holding the table together are all present and the table benefits from an extra leg in the middle for support purposes.

The table will comfortably accommodate 12 people and will add a touch of elegance to any dining room.

  • Open Length- 105 3/4" (2686mm)
  • Closed Length-49 1/2" (1269mm)
  • Leaf 1 size- 19 1/2" (495mm)
  • Leaf 2 size- 18 1/2" (470mm)
  • Leaf 3 size- 18 1/4" (464mm)
  • Width- 48 3/4" (1238mm)
  • Height- 29 1/2" (749mm) 
  • Height under rails- 24 1/2" (622mm)
Please make further inquiries as to the price of this item as it is currently for sale in another outlet.

Edwardian Dining Table- circa 1900- SOLD

This 2 leaf wind out table would look impressive in any dining room. It is extremely robust as all show wood is made from high quality Oak. The top is 'quarter sawn' and retains its original leaves giving it an attractive fleck. The table will seat a comfortable ten and a more intimate 12!

 The internal runners are of Mahogany, a sign of quality and the reeded legs are terminated in original castors. The piece is finished in a medium golden oak colour and has been french polished.

The table is in extremely good working order with no 'sag' to the rails or any wear to the winding mechanism.
The dimensions are-
Closed-length 59 1/2" (1512mm)
Open- Length 96" (8ft) (2438mm)
Width- 47 1/2" (1220mm)
Height- 29" (737mm)
Height under rails- 24" (610mm)


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Early Georgian Corner Cabinet- SOLD

An extremely old piece, this rustic cupboard dates from around 1750. The carcass work is made from Elm including the back boards and shelves. The show wood is made from English Oak and has a beautiful patina. The lock and key are functional and the piece has been enhanced by beeswax. The dimensions are-
  • Width- 25 1/2" (648mm) 
  • Height- 38" (965mm)
  • Depth- 12 1/2" (313mm)

Please click on the images for a larger view