Antique Chests - Restoration Projects
The set of photos above show a late 18th Century Chest of Drawers in mahogany which underwent restoration.It had original brass swan neck handles and round securing nuts on the inside of the drawer. This is quite unusual, as handles have often been replaced as fashions changed. If you were to look inside the drawers you will quite often see holes where the original handles would have been.
The woodwork needed a good clean and wax polish, to bring it back to its rich colour again.
The two back, bracket feet were missing and had been replaced with just square stumps of wood. New bracket feet were made, as an exact copy of the two original front feet.
The chest is quite large and measures 46 inches wide and 3 ft high. The sides and top are in a solid mahogany. The drawers are oak lined, and the fronts have mahogany veneered onto pine. It was almost in its original state except for the missing back bracket feet.
The chest dates around 1790 and is a very useful piece of furniture.
During the 18th Century and before, veneers were cut by hand, sawing a thin film of wood from the tree trunk. For that reason, were quite thick compared with today. They would have been approximately two to three mm thick. Where as today, and even in the mid 19th century, when they were machine cut, they would have reduced that to about half a mm.
This is a good indicator for being able to judge an approximate age of a piece of furniture that has been veneered.
The photos show the chest prior to restoration, and in its fully restored state.
The second Chest of Drawers had little value, but was a good restoration exercise to see what could be made of it.
It had severe water damage and the inlaid banding had lifted off. The piece had originally been part of an early 20th century bedroom suite.
First, it was rubbed down with fine sandpaper and steel wool to give it a clean surface. New banding was glued into place and the wood restained.
When everything was dry, a thin coat of linseed oil was applied to nourish the wood. Left for a week or so to soak in, it was finally waxed polish
This attractive bow fronted chest of drawers
is the result of some careful restoration after it had been badly damaged during a house break in, which resulted in the chest having some of it's veneer torn off and handles damaged. The veneer was replaced, the chest was then cleaned and all wax and deposits removed, finally finished off with antique finishing oil. The handles were then replaced with replicas of the original and brought back to this show room condition.
Chest on Chest Restoration
What can be done by removing the old dark varnish and replacing missing veneer and then repolishing.