Sunday, May 1, 2011

Man's Best Friend

The restoration of an early 2oth century chew toy. (Part One)

Why in the world your cherished four legged companion decides to eat your cherished ottoman is a question for which I have no answer.

As I was removing the upholstery from the footstool I wondered if it might have something to do with the horse hair stuffing. But I've seen this same damage on newer pieces with foam and synthetic cotton. So I think its safe to assume that a stick is a stick whether it has bark on it or upholstery.

While this type of damage is relatively common,  it was odd that this is the second repair this week of chew toys, The other being a pair of contemporary black lacquered chairs that required only filling, sanding and re-laquering.

With the amount of damage here, it's a toss up on how much to save and how much to replace. The stretcher in this case was a loss. There is little of its original form left. The turnings retained enough structure that patching was an option.

 With the new stretcher in place I set about patching the remainder of the "nibbley bits"

After planing the damaged sections flat, I glued on new mahogany that will be carved and sanded to blend with the original surfaces.
Some of the more minor losses will be filled or simply sanded away prior to repairing the finish.

The clamps you see here holding the patch in place while the glue dries, are actually sections of old upholstery springs.

After being cut from the ends of the springs the steel is sharpened to a points on each end. They are extremely versatile and can be adjusted by simply bending them to adjust the amount and direction of the tension required to hold a repair in place until dry.

A cheap and useful tool.

Tomorrow... carving and finishing!


The finished patch

This portion of the turning was chewed on both outside faces. I trimmed the sections flat and veneered over the remaining damage.

A small amount of filler was needed to fill the gaps that were too deep to cut away.
Once the patches are in place and shaped I will need to distress them a bit so that they blend in with their surroundings.

All Done