A Woodworkers Photo Journal: a challenging repair

i got a call earlier in the week asking if i was still doing repairs.

i got some pictures via email and decided i would take it on.

it didn’t look like this when it arrived though …

in addition to some flaking and missing quartered 

veneer of some kind

the thin edging around the very nice ( and perfect) marquetry scene

had suffered some insults and some significant  pieces were

shooting off into space or missing completely … 

how to proceed … ????

we decided to tackle the sort of easy stuff first,

the missing and loose veneer pieces on the legs and

top edge borders …

that took a while, but was uneventful, and with a little french 

polish touch up it looked pretty original, or at least our repairs 

blended pretty well with some previous ones.

after that we were stuck with fixing the edges of the top …

we had two pieces of the broken edging which we were 

able to clean and glue back on …

i decided against trying to remove the whole edge and replace it

for a number of reasons.  it was obviously glued and nailed to the

edge of the top and i worried about chipping the veneer on the top

which would have been extremely hard to repair and match.

so, i made some short pieces of mdf with matching curves and used my 

flush cut saw to saw through the1/8th inch thick edging about

half way down the thickness of the solid top, and carefully chiseling off

what remained of the broken sections. 

that went pretty well … surprisingly the wood under the

veneer was plywood !! which dates the table sometime after

about 1865 when plywood was introduced for furniture construction.

i tried bending a couple pieces of mahogany edging, but

couldn’t make the tighter curve of the end of the oval …

we made two sets of forms, in case i screwed up the fitting, and

we fired up the steamer, steamed them for about 15 minutes

and then put the pieces in will’s banjo rim kiln overnight to dry.

since they were so thin, and i was gluing and nailing them

to the substrate i put them on and finished them today.

they spring back a bit and required a little wrestling to get in place

they gave up after a while and i was able to nail them into place and 

match the finish as best i could.

and did i mention that the top flips over and there is a checker board

on the other side?  someone spent some time on this piece ..

actually, we did too.

quite the piece …

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