Restoring A Picture Frame


As you can see from the picture below, the mouldings on the top of the frame resemble a roller coaster, due to the frame having got damp in the past. One corner motif and a couple of pieces of moulding were missing. Some pieces were previously glued using contact adhesive (nightmare) and the frame had been brush coated with a green/gold paint.

CIMG4378Where the moulding was rocking from being curved I put pressure on each end to snap it, thereby straightening it and gluing it back into position. Once I had a good straight line of moulding, using dentists amalgam I made an impression of the moulding, blocked off both ends with modeling clay and filled with resin mixed with dental plaster. (This gives a harder casting with no air holes). When dry the casing was removed leaving a perfect copy of the moulding.

CIMG4374The moulding was then bedded into place in plaster. Left to dry then trimmed to fit and papered with a fine grade Lubrasil. When papering any mouldings or cavettos use an object of the same shape to wrap the paper around (I used a piece of plastic tubing ) as finger papering will just follow the bumps.

CIMG4381 CIMG4384The missing corner motif was built up using plaster and diluted PVA.  When semi dry it was carved to match. While the plaster was workable I filled as many large gaps as possible between the mouldings and damaged outside edges and corners to the frame.

CIMG4382Once all the plaster work had been done I gave the whole frame a wash coat of Antique Gold Finger mixed with shellac polish and a touch of grey umber.

CIMG4389a When touch dry I dusted some rotten stone (ground pumice powder) with a paint brush around the frame to give the frame an aged look.

CIMG4386I then made a small dry pad and using Antique Gold Finger I went over the surface lightly highlighting all the high spots, motifs, mouldings etc.leaving the grey rotten stone in all the depressions.

CIMG4388When dry the slip and the painting were pinned back into position and the frame was rewired.


Please note this frame had been previously ‘Painted over’ I would not have used this technique on a gilded frame. I would touch in small spots but would not have gone over the whole frame.


Restoring A Brass And Ebony Inlaid Walnut Writing Slope


The writing slope has loose and missing brass work and the top is badly scratched.

latestSome brass was cut and filed to size. Using an Old Womans Tooth (also known as a router plane) I rebated the groundwork to the thickness of the brass strip.

CIMG3720The brass is bent on the corners to the exact width of the top, glued and cramped in place.

CIMG3722Cramping the loose brasswork.

CIMG3714Some minor patches were fitted around the hinges


Restoring the interior

The secret drawer compartment was missing its cover which locks into place over the brass clip on the right hand side.

CIMG3750The cover should spring open when the right hand inkwell divider is lifted.

CIMG3706I made a new cover which pushes in over the brass clip and locks in place. The spring pushes it outwards when released. The stamp slide covers up the mechanism.

CIMG3710The lock was cleaned, oiled and key fitted.

CIMG3716The exterior of the writing slope was then meths stripped and re-polished, the inside touched in, cleaned and waxed.

CIMG3729The writing slope was then sanded clean ready for re-lining, which was done in a material as close a match to the original as possible.

yeahThe material was glued into place and cut to fit with a scalpel. Tabs were then fitted and wedged from the underside. The slope is tooled with a wheel that is heated up and rolled around the outside edge leaving a patterned imprint.

yesTooling the edge

xxxxxxxxThe bottom of the slope was then baized.

CIMG3751The finished article


Restoring A Biedermeier Tambour Desk Part 2

Replacing the missing gallery rails

I made a simple scratch stock  from a hacksaw blade and a piece of scrap timber. The hacksaw blade was ground to the profile I required. I then draw it up and down the length of the rail to scrape the profile out on both sides.  This could have been done with a router but I find this method far quicker on short lengths of timber.


The rail was then papered with 180/240 grit, dampened with a cloth to raise the grain and  repapered using 240 grit.


The rails were tenoned into the four corner posts.


Turning the gallery spindles

CIMG2512When turning the spindles, I stained and friction polished them on the lathe to save time later, again I dampened to raise the grain and repapered.

CIMG2515Sixteen spindles later …


Turning the feet

These were turned using some reclaimed feet.  They were turned in the same style, but the size was reduced.


The finished feet


Restoring A Biedermeier Tambour Desk Part 3

Restoring A Biedermeier Tambour Desk Part 1

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.


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.