Restoration 2, breakdown/repairs

Most of this will be a photo essay. I’ve managed to completely breakdown the piece, clean all the parts and begin the repairs. Many of the tenons are broken and I’ve repaired them with splines where I can. Other smaller pieces will take dowels to strengthen the damaged joint. As you will see all the mortise and tenons are held with wood pins/dowels. Along it’s life in an attempt to secure it a handful of nails were used which have all been carefully removed.

I plan to keep some of the “dirt” in the corners so it doesn’t look like it was just made yesterday. I’m hoping to keep some of the patina of the aged wood and not strip it to like new condition. I want it to end up looking like it is an old, yet cared for piece and as if nothing serious has been done to it. Fortunately the owner feels the same way. He wants it to appear as if it’s still an original piece. It’ll show some age and use but still maintain it’s character.

Check out the photos and if there are any questions I’d be happy to fill in the details. There is just so much going on to cover every topic.

Hope you enjoy this. I certainly am!

Pegs complete the mortise and tenon joints. Knock out the pins and the pieces are free. Along it’s life dozens of nails were driven in to help secure many pieces. Removing them without doing more damage was another story and presented many challenges so as not to dent, tear or splinter the surrounding wood while trying to extract them.

The splits and damaged corner to receive the tenon has been repaired with conventional glues. For the reassembly I plan on using Hyde glues.

Just a detail shot of how the frames are assembled and broken down.

Piles of parts awaiting cleaning.

A succession of photos where before and after cleaning is shown. Oak, given time will turn black. I’m just trying to reverse the process and arrive at a nice warm color which was seen under the hinges and lock plates. Probably close to what it originally looked like.

One of the many typical repairs necessary after cleaning and inspection . This linen fold panel , as some of the others ,was especially bad most likely because it is very thin ( (1/4 inch thick) which couldn’t take much abuse. I used traditional glues for this type of repairs as I don’t want it to come apart. From here, I can sand, fill, re-stain a piece to match the surrounding wood prior to applying the finish.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dorisfiebig
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 22:06:03

    this looks like a huge zigzag puzzle 🙂 fun 🙂 … seeing the carvings closer it is really worth all effort to restore the piece. i am looking forward very much to see it when you are done, mark ! … are you cleaning the pieces with a flexible shaft which has felt wheel attached, and some polish on ? (i saw something like that, or i think it is such, in one of the fotos)


  2. markyundt
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 05:35:16

    Hi Doris. Yes, it is a bit of a puzzle in some respects. The carvings are very well done as you can see them much better after they are cleaned. As far as the cleaning goes I’m using a steel wool pad soaked in solvents. Using any abrasives such as sandpaper, felt type wheels etc. would only make the process more difficult in some ways as well as the possibility of digging too deeply into the surface. Once that would be done it would be difficult to fix. So I’m keeping it very simple with solvents, steel wool pads and leaving it at that.


  3. dorisfiebig
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 08:42:01

    hi mark, ah, i see, yes the felt wheels are somewhat aggressive.. and by doing it by hand with a pad, you have much more control. only difficulty seem to me the crevices, to get in there deep enough. but then, as you said, you want the carving to look aged, but well treated, in the end. so some little rests in the crevices should be just what is needed …


  4. markyundt
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 15:08:05

    Yes Doris,
    One other thing I use is a variety of brushes. I have some that look like a toothbrush with both plastic as well as brass bristles to get into the corners. But as you say I don’t want to get every little bit out as this adds to the overall look and feel of the piece. Old pieces do have a build up of dirt, wax, etc in the corners that accumulates over time and this can add to the appearance of depth in a carving.
    On some occasions with my own carvings I’ll finish them with a darker color allowed to settle into the nooks and crannies for just this same reason.

    Also, having this variation and what appears to be “dirt” allows me to more easily blend in new wood where a piece has to be added. It makes it much easier to blend in a piece and have it disappear as opposed to having fresh,clean “new” looking wood and then try to match the grain and color.


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