Restorations, 5, Putting it back together

I’m heading into the home stretch with this piece. I have the piece re-assembled. Now I’m filling the nail holes, sanding to prep for a bit of stain to even out the color  in some areas a bit before I install the remainder of the hardware.

After assembling the face frame separately in order to keep it square I installed the side panels. Then in order to keep the entire box square I made stretchers to keep the entire unit uniform and consistent instead of trying to follow the old markings of where pieces fit as I clamped it together. I knew this might create some fitting problems further down the road but I wanted the piece to be square, sit level and not lean over as it had been had I followed the old assembly sequence.

Another view of the glue up. The pieces on the white cardboard is the other story of the book stand that I just repaired along the way.

The bolt was missing from the original lock mechanism on the door which meant I had to make up something for it. I bought a new solid brass sliding bolt mechanism needing only the bolt itself. I had to cut it down,( you can see the sections I had to remove) drill a new hole in order to move the handle, solder it into place and since it wasn’t quite thick enough I made a filler piece out of maple to get it to the thickness I needed.

This shows the Maple filler piece I made to fit into the brass bolt to make it thicker.

On the left a cut off piece of the brass bolt with the wood backing. In the center how the brass bolt fit into the slide it came with. On the right my cut down, resoldered and wood backed bolt ready to be put into the lock frame.

The stained wood backing I made for the bolt. This too allows it to slide nicely as well as not having the metal of the bolt scratch the door as it’s operated.

Here I arranged the pieces I removed, the old section where the handle once was as I had to relocate it for my use. I also couldn’t put a smooth polished brass piece into the lock mechanism so I “antiqued” it using my grinders and polishers to make it look like the other metal pieces and then using acid I gave it a patina that matches the other cast pieces as well.

Here it is essentially assembled. As I anticipated none of the large panels ( top, inside floor or the bottom shelf) fit properly as the piece is now true and square. After installing, sanding, fitting removing each panel I’m guessing 20 times or more,, I got them to fit perfectly.

An angle view showing the corner carvings, the legs as well as the linen fold panels on the sides.

The opposite corner. It’s solid as a rock and yet still looks hundreds of years old. As I indicated,, I didn’t want it to look brand new. I think I’ll achieve my objective of an “old,, yet in good condition” piece.

After breaking down the doors, filling the screw holes, reinstalling the hinges ( I had to make some new parts for the hinges as well)  the doors fit nicely into a perfectly square opening without binding or needing much fitting.  The dark areas on the doors was caused by the iron pieces bleeding into the wood. I can’t really eliminate that as it’s well into the surface. Besides , this is something that would have happened naturally over time. Once it’s sealed and the pieces are reinstalled it will look natural.

Up next, the finish itself which will be an oil finish as I don’t want some artificial ( lacquer,poly etc.) finish embalming the surface. That wouldn’t look right.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. dorisfiebig
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 20:27:45

    wow, Mark, you did magic 🙂 with the right attention to detail…love the part of the story where you create the new brass bolt, very ingeniuous. thanks for sharing ! … even before finishing this piece looks gorgeous, all the love you put into the work makes it now look like a well treasured antique. wonderful ! i am sure the owner will be very happy when he sees it now 🙂


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