Restoration takes time, bringing back your furniture to its original condition is what matters most. We like to think of restoration as bringing back an item to what the cabinetmaker had in mind when he originally designed the piece.
Late 1800's Eastlake desk with drop down leaves. Pieces of furniture in this style had low relief carvings, incised lines, moldings, geometric ornaments, and flat surfaces that were easy to keep clean. A beautiful example of the graceful and elegant lines influenced by Charles Eastlake.
I had the privilege of working on this Banjo Clock . It was a made in the 1820's and in desperate need of restoration.
The original glass was missing and cracked. The scenes are reverse painted onto the glass with gold leaf and oil paints. These were hand painted by an artist in New York.
I cleaned the black rope beading around the frames with denatured alcohol and found the original gold leaf underneath.
The brass filigree on the left side was broken and missing one diamond shape. A new one was hand cut from brass stock, filed and polished.
The wood case was cleaned and waxed.
After a few days in the clock shop it now runs smoothly and looks like might have in 1820.
Restoration has it’s rewards.
Well I just wanted to follow up and let you know how much my wife Laurie loved the work you did on her grandmother's desk, she was absolutely astonished with how beautifully restored her desk turned out.
My youngest daughter and I figured out a way to keep the desk hidden overnight on Thursday, and surprise Laurie with it last night just prior to taking her out to dinner for her birthday. We had put a large weight in a shoe-size box, while also enclosing an envelope that contained the interesting details on the desk manufacturer that you had provided to me (thanks for that also Mark; a very thoughtful great idea which we incorporated into the gift), along with the new desk key you had provided; wrapping the box in gift paper with a bow. Looked absolutely nothing like a desk obviously, and that was exactly the point. She opened the box, found the envelope and pulled out the description along with the desk key. It took her a few minutes to put it all together but we weren't done with her yet :) ... my daughter, in her best young adult acting role in some time, continued to press asking what that thing was (the description and desk key). Her Mom explained to her that obviously I was going to refurbish her grandmother's desk for her birthday, still having no idea that it now sat in the garage already beautifully restored! My daughter, right on cue, asked to see it, and of course I complained loudly that there was no point given its condition but she persisted (as we had planned for her to do :) ... so, we all headed out thru the garage to dinner, stopping by the covered antique desk to show my daughter what this thing looked like that all the fuss was about.
I pulled the blanket off the desk and my daughter and I stepped back, letting my wife simply "take in" the amazingly refinished desk in all its glory. At first she wasn't quite sure what to think. Given we typically see what our minds expect us to see, it appeared as if she really didn't "know" what she was seeing. Phase two was a "rationalization" of what she was looking straight at, as she said, "you know, this doesn't look as bad as I thought it did ..." Now that was funny. At that point my daughter couldn't stand it any longer and let out a teen-perfected, "duhhhhhh." And it was then that my wife just smiled. "Oh my, ... it's already been made beautiful again!" She refused to leave the garage for several minutes as she admired the newly restored desk, and much of the drive to the restaurant and a good part of our early dinner conversation was all about the desk and memories that it evoked.
Mark, the work you completed for us on this desk was magical. And it means so much to my wife, and to me as well. Thank you for the personal care, pride, and craftsmanship you deliver as your business, and rest assured that not only will we have pieces in the future to send your way, we will go out of our way to recommend your fine work to others. I hope this note provides you at least a peek at what joy you brought our family with your restoration work for us. Thanks so much.
PS: ... Feel free to share this note with whomever you choose. Continued good fortune Mark.
This writing desk needed the base glued back together and refinished, the top repaired and some touch-up. It will get a new leather top with embossed gold trim. The inside has its original green felt and gold trim. The last photo reveals a somewhat hidden compartment. The new owners found many letters from the late 1800’s.
What makes the whole story astonishing is the fact that the writing desk was found in the alley of a very wealthy neighborhood. I think I’ll start driving down more alleys.
Left outside in the weather the seat began to delaminate. The original glue would have been hide glue that is water-soluble so the dampness caused the layers to separate. A replacement seat was purchased From Van Dykes Restorers. It was cut to fit and the original oak appliques were placed back on the waterfall edge.
These chairs were almost black with several coats of shellac. I had a feeling they were going to be nice so I shot a few photos. The chairs retained their original faux hand painted grain. I add a bit more grain to the worn spots. They were finished with a natural stain and clear satin lacquer. The hand woven rush seats add the finishing touch.
We just completed this heirloom rocker for an expectant mom. When I asked for the color choice she said to make it a little darker than a Hershey's candy bar. I just happened to have one on hand to color match to. Nice warm color and surprise, now you are craving chocolate!
Handmade Walnut Crib
Made in the late 1880's
This tea cart is made entirely of walnut with book matched burled walnut veneer on the top and two drop leaves. What surprised me was the square drive screws that were used to assemble the tea cart. Square drive screws tells me an item is new not old. This tea cart had to be old and It should have had slotted screws not "new" square drive screws. I did a google search and found this interesting article about Robertson Square drive screws.
Sure enough this is an old tea cart and quite possibly made in Canada.
The section (in red) about Henry Ford is so sad. Once burned, Robertson could not trust another.
A Robertson, also known as a square, screw drive has a square-shaped socket in the screw head and a square protrusion on the tool. Both the tool and the socket have a taper, which makes inserting the tool easier, and also tends to help keep the screw on the tool tip without the user needing to hold it there. (The taper's earliest reason for being was to make the manufacture of the screws practical using cold forming of the heads, but its other advantages helped popularize the drive.) Robertson screws are used extremely prevalently in Canada, though they have been used elsewhere and have become much more common in other countries in recent decades. Robertson screwdrivers are easy to use one-handed, because the tapered socket tends to retain the screw, even if it is shaken. They also allow for the use of angled screw drivers and trim head screws. The socket-headed Robertson screws are self-centering, reduce cam out, stop a power tool when set, and can be removed if painted-over or old and rusty. In industry, they speed up production and reduce product damage.
The internal-wrenching square socket drive for screws (as well as the corresponding triangular socket drive) was conceived several decades before the Canadian P. L. Robertson invented the Robertson screw and screwdriver in 1908 and received patents in 1909 (Canada) and 1911 (U.S. Patent 1,003,657). An earlier patent for square-socket- and triangle-socket-drive wood screws, U.S. Patent 161,390, was issued to one Allan Cummings of New York City on March 30, 1875. However, as with other clever drive types conceived and patented in the 1860s through 1890s, it was not manufactured widely (if at all) during its patent lifespan due to the difficulty and expense of doing so at the time. Robertson's breakthrough in 1908 was to design the socket's taper and proportions in such a combination that the heads could be easily and successfully cold formed, which is what made such screws a valid commercial proposition. Today cold forming (via stamping in a die) is still the common method used for most screws sold, although rotary broaching is also common now. Linear broaching to cut corners into a drilled hole (similar to the action of a mortising machine for woodworking) has also been used (less commonly) over the decades.
Robertson had licensed the screw design to a maker in England, but the party that he was dealing with intentionally drove the company into bankruptcy and purchased the rights from the trustee, thus circumventing Robertson.He spent a small fortune buying back the rights. Subsequently, he refused to allow anyone to make the screws under license. When Henry Ford tried out the Robertson screws he found they saved considerable time in Model T production, but when Robertson refused to license the screws to Ford, Ford realized that the supply of screws would not be guaranteed and chose to limit their use in production to Ford's Canadian division. Robertson's refusal to license his screws prevented their widespread adoption in the United States, where the more widely licensed Phillips head has gained acceptance. The restriction of licensing of Robertson's internal-wrenching square may have sped the development of the internal-wrenching hexagon, although documentation of this is limited.
As best that I can remember my mom got this bedroom set in early 50's. She used it for many years and then passed it down to me when I was probably 12 yrs. old. I use to sit on the end of the bed which had a footboard and decided to carve my first love's initials into it. Mark did an excellent job restoring it and left those initials there as a momento for me ♥ As you can see, the set turned out beautifully and I was very pleased. We are now using it in our retirement home in Prescott, AZ with an American Indian motif to match the inlaid wood. THANKS SO MUCH MARK!
This nightstand and dresser had formica applied to the tops at one point. They were quartermaster issued furniture and were purchased by the customer when the time came to relocate. The formica was removed slowly with a solvent and the surface cleaned of all the remaining glue. These are wonderful Drrexel Heritage pieces that have survived many moves around the country.
Empire dresser with book-matched mahogany veneer on drawer faces.
The entire dresser was hand planed and held together with square nails.
The owner has been using this since his childhood. He had no idea how beautiful the wood was.
It is now a family piece to be treasured.
1950's George Nelson/ Herman Miller Steel Frame Furniture. Restored to original colors with custom matched pigmented lacquer. This style of furniture is collected and prized for it's clean lines and bold colors. Quite possibly the antiques of tomorrow.
Walnut cedar chest with clock. A work of art!
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