Resurrections & Restorations


Its a mindset born of sentiment that wants to see good craftsmanship live on and be handed down for generations to come. I also see it as very stylish and forward-thinking. Keeping a good piece of furniture going is an efficient use of resources. It is conserving energy already put into the piece, starting back at the forest on up until right now: the fine wood from a fine tree, the careful energy of craftspeople and tools that went into designing and making it, and energy delivering it through the front door. Okay, so it lacks the thrill of buying or making something New. And quite different than owning a new hybrid car and getting to flash the good deed to passerbys, caretaking good furniture isn't something you can easily flaunt as an eco-friendly deed. Yet it is. Still, all the work and expense of a good restoration, by its very nature, means there are few if any traces left behind to show off. Its a deep-down satisfaction you learn to enjoy.

Front legs of an Eastlake chair, post-op, waiting for glue to dry A late 1800's Walnut Eastlake chair had been worked on several times in the 1900's. It and it's pair were badly in need of another round of restoration, quite extensive this time, before they went to be re-upholstered.

Resurrection of Rose Gillet Hutton's curly-maple dresser from the mid-1800's.

Mahogany chair-back staves inlaid with maple. The cracked original, worn down from several old repairs, was reproduced using identical woods and finish. Here it waits to have the tenon cut before it will be fitted into the chair.

When I was called in to restore this "shipwreck" , the central carving of a massive headboard, most of the hull and a bit of rigging had gone missing during import from Maylasia.

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Ship restored A 17th C. Spanish Sacristy bench from the SF Museum of Fine Arts was missing a carved arm, the seat was split...

Mending a twice-broken Redwood quail carving meant carefully hiding a stainless steel rod through the middle of the sculpture's neck which should also keep it out of the repair shop in future.

The curved arms of a pair of older high-backed oak chairs were quite split up at the critical end joints from so many previous repair attempts. Since the arms were also designed to hold the whole back to the seat properly, things had gotten pretty shaky. The solution was to splice on cross-grain pieces...

After the cracks and missing chips of this large carved teak Goldfish were repaired, an airbrush was used to layer on the glaze colors needed to match the original lacquer.

Refinishing an outdoor teak table top makes for a good show of the general idea. Its all much subtler work on indoor pieces. Here, it required wiping on a coat of oxalic acid to return the wood to its original color, followed by the usual sanding, and in this case, numerous coats of marine oil finish.

Ship restored

Back spindles from an old rocking chair getting a proper fix with round mortise and tenon joints. The new oak pieces will be shaped, sealed, stained and finished to match. Then reset into the chair back.

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