Catherine Memmi Wenge dining table

Today I pulled off a minor miracle. My client has had this table for ten years or so, and it has sat right in front of a floor to ceiling window. It had so much sun exposure that the finish on the entire top and side was blushing to the point where I thought it was supposed to be a pickled finish. She told me it was originally the natural wenge wood color. 

 

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This is what the table looked like when I arrived. Kinda cool, minus the stains in the center, but not what she purchased, and not stable at all.  

 

I had come prepared to do what I thought would be minor spot color corrections where the finish has faded, but I realized that I need to strip and refinish the entire table. The dreaded trip to the hardware store ☹️. Drop cloth, stripper, bucket, blades. I can’t always bring my entire arsenal. Luckily the finish was so tired of hanging on, it didn’t take a ton of stripper to get it bubbling.

I let it soak it really well, because wenge dust is not great for you, so I didn’t want to have to do a lot of sanding. The whole stripping process took about 2 hours, since I had to be careful at the edges. I didn’t want to drip on the indamaged sides if stripping them wasn’t necessary.

 Wenge is oily, and this was a water-based finish. I have always thought that this particular wood liked oil-based finishes better, but reading into it further, it seems people have good luck with water-based finishes as well, so who know’s why it wasn't holding. 

Wenge is oily, and this was a water-based finish. I have always thought that this particular wood liked oil-based finishes better, but reading into it further, it seems people have good luck with water-based finishes as well, so who know’s why it wasn't holding. 

I had to do a bit of picking of residual finish out of  the grain. And then managed to get a few coats of   H20 poly on. It took it very nicely. 

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Long day.  

Lacquered Stone Coffee Table

Today I repaired some damage to this black lacquered table for my designer client Jenny J Norris Interiors. The top consisted of 4 large stone panels, that fit into place on a hardwood base. It had gotten damaged in shipping. Each panel weighed about 50 pounds.  There were a few scratches, and chips, and also a moisture ring. I filled the damage, matched the black, and then managed to buff out the other marks with a lot of elbow grease. I’ve honestly never worked on lacquered stone before. I like the quality of the shine on the pitted and mottled surface, which manages to show the best qualities of both materials. 

 

 Scratches down to the stone

Scratches down to the stone

The water mark came out more easily than I expected because the piece had been restored prior to this, and the top layer of lacquer was not bonding well, so I simply buffed off the new layer, and it disappeared. 

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Large area of moisture damage  

 

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Chips along edges

 

The end result was a much smoother shinier surface, and all the clouding from the old lacquer, and all the impact damage was reversed.  

 

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End result

Cole Haan Showroom Floor Damage

The showroom floor had the companies name blocked out in tape. When they removed the tape, the coating on the floor came up with it. Instead of having to refinish the whole floor, I told them that I could stain in the damage to match completely.

 this damage covers about 10' of flooring

this damage covers about 10' of flooring

It took a while to get the right match. The original finish is a three part process, and was quite a challenge.

 There is a darker layer under a lighter layer.

There is a darker layer under a lighter layer.

A bit of stress, and a stiff back, but done at the end of the day.

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL DOWNTOWN

I've been working at the newly opened hotel repairing, wood, stone, leather, metal and fabric. They just opened a few weeks ago, and the punch list is almost done.

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This display cabinet was damaged in shipping.

 

The stone on this credenza top had been filled, but I needed to remove the filled, and repair it properly.

 Before

Before

 After

After

There was an exterior door in the courtyard that they need faux painted, to match the surrounding limestone.

The fabric on this sofa was damaged by the box cutter used to unpack it. I mended it by weaving the damaged with embroidery thread.

Ebonized/Lacquered Console Table

This week at the studio, I received a mid century console that had a thick faux parchment covered finish. I stripped it, and put about 12 coats of tinted black water-based pre-catalyzed lacquer on it, and then buffed it out. You can definitely see your nose hairs in it. And the bottom would make an excellent skate board park for mice.

 
 
 

On site lacquer table repair

Someone banged this white lacquer table up when delivering to a staged apartment in a new building.

I have clamped, filled and painted out, and am new waiting to buff out the finish.

The fake radishes are starting to make me hungry, which brings to mind Beatrix Potter's Tale of Two Bad Mice. I think the fumes are getting to me.

Finished product

Conservation of French 18th Century Paper Screen

This was one of my all time favorite projects. It was a six panel screen, that had been hanging in my client's home, in a low lit room , for quite some time. When she decided to move, and wanted to hang it in a much more prominent location, we decided to do the work it needed to really make it sing. You can see the end result above. We had to shorten the screen by two panels, for it to fit in it's new location.

There had been several other rounds of restoration. The most recent had been tear repairs, that were not only quite noticeable, but also poorly done, causing further stress, and tearing. Below you can see some of the areas where bad repairs were removed.

All old repairs were removed, but first each panel had to be carefully taken off the frame, old glue removed, and a new acid free backing applied.

The original lighter background can be seen around the pagoda in the photo below. The darker areas are over-painting that I cleaned off, once the paper was on a stable surface.

I discovered when removing the original backing to the screen, that the panels were painted on billboard notices, dated 1791, advertising flea markets, and house sales. Really cool. Between the front and reverse side panels was a thin deteriorating piece of burlap, the only support for the paper.