Restoring A Biedermeier Tambour Desk Part 1



This Biedermeier desk came into the workshop for restoration.

The tambour needed relining, the feet were missing and there was damage to the left hand side of the plinth. There was some patching needed to the veneers and a new leather was required. The finish to the desk was badly faded and stained in places. After discussion with the client we decided what shape the missing feet should be,what kind of leather (skiver or hide) and what style of border they would like.

As you can see from the picture below it was missing its spindles and rails from the gallery.

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The handles were removed as they were added at a later date, these pieces didn’t usually have handles fitted and relied on keys to open and close them, which is why they often got damaged around the key holes.

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Relining The Tambour
As you can see from this picture, the bottom slat  was broken in the middle  and had come apart from the rest of the tambour necessitating relining.


The back panel was removed and the tambour released. It was then cramped to a flat board on the bench to keep the slats square and prevent them from springing.


The old canvas was removed and the surface sanded.


New calico was glued in place.


After 24 hours the canvas was trimmed at the edges.

Restoring A Biedermeier Tambour Desk (Part 2)



Repairing the leg of a Shield-Back Chair


This chair was brought into my workshop with a broken leg which had been badly repaired in the past using iron brackets.

Photo0088The leg was moulded on the two face sides. Rather than use new mahogany on this project I decided to conserve as much of the original chair as possible.

Photo0093Cutting the moulding off the damaged leg as a veneer, I then trimmed an old mahogany table leg down to size and applied the moulded face sides, giving me a leg that matched the original retaining both the mouldings and patination.

Photo0094I re-cut the mortices, repaired the tenons on the frame and glued and cramped the frame together. The previous bracket screw holes were filled, touched in and the chair was waxed finished.

Photo0095The finished article was a satisfying job conserving as much of the original look and patination of the chair as possible.


A Copy Of A William lV Cotton Reel Holder


Having made a few pieces of antique miniature furniture, I then decided after restoring a William IV Cotton Reel holder, to make a copy of it for my wife. The cotton reel holder sits on a shelf at home and has proved to be a very useful as well as decorative item.

The top has a padded pin cushion. Made of reclaimed Cuban Mahogany, the holder has one revolving tier which holds 6 cotton reels .

It has a turned central pillar and base, standing on 4 small bun feet. It measures approximately H 8.5” (21.6 cm)  W 6” (15.2cm)

Copy Of A Miniature William lV Breakfast Table


This is a copy I made of a miniature William lV Breakfast Table that came through the workshop. The top being Mahogany veneered and inlaid with an eight point marquetry star in ebony and satinwood. It has an octagonal tapered column on a platform base, terminating in bun feet.

Height: 5.3” (13.5cm) | Diameter: 7” (17.8cm)

The table top in a tilted position.
I have used a thimble to give an idea of actual size

The top is veneered in Mahogany

Inlaid with an eight point marquetry star in ebony and satinwood

On a platform base, terminating in bun feet with an octagonal tapered column.

Miniature copy of a full size mahogany chest of drawers

I have always loved working with wood and in-between restoring antiques, inspired by the furniture I have worked on, I have made a few miniature pieces of furniture.  These pieces have been earmarked by my children and with grandchildren coming along I think I need to produce some more.

Mahogany Chest of Drawers C1790-1800

Based on a late Georgian bow front chest of drawers all the details were copied exactly. The Pine carcass is mahogany veneered and the top has a cross grained moulded edge.  The backboards are of pine and the drawer linings and bottoms are made of oak.The dovetails on the oak linings were cut with a scalpel and the front edge of the drawers were cock beaded in mahogany. The interior has dust boards and drawer stops.

Height 7”(17.8cm) Width 8” (20cm) Depth 3.7” (9.4cm)

I have used a thimble to give an idea of actual size.

Pine backboards, oak drawer linings and bottoms.

The dovetails on the oak linings were cut with a scalpel.

The front edge of the drawers are cock beaded in mahogany and the bottom has swept French feet.

The bottom is blocked in the traditional manner.

As Featured on BBC’s Antiques Road Show

This lovely late 19th Century Inlaid Chest of Drawers was featured on BBC’s Antiques Road Show at Hartland Abbey last summer and was brought into my workshop earlier this year for restoration.

The chest is inlaid with Ebony, Ivory, Abalone Mother of Pearl and Horn.  There were over 200 missing pieces of inlay which I had to create individually and fit by hand.

19th Century Inlaid Chest of Drawers (Restored version)

Close up of the drawers

Side view

Top of inlaid chest of drawers

Restoring an Antique Picture Frame

Welcome to my first post! This is how I restored an antique picture frame in need of some tender loving care …

A Picture frame missing some mouldings and damage to the inside edges

Making the mould

Filling the mould

Pieces of mould ready to fit

Matching the pattern and fitting to frame

Patch inside edges

Touching in with Gold Finger and pigments

Ready to wax

Finished article

Eh Voila! Before and after.