Tuesday, January 26, 2016

restoration? ... repair? ... thoughts on time passing

well, this one was around for a looong time.  i mostly finished it up yesterday.  the oldest of the photos below are dated 7/10/13.  seriously.  we made a table for these folks in the spring of that year, and a few months later the husband dropped this table off, and told me 'no rush'.  big mistake.  let me just say kindly, that it was not in the best of shape ... click the photos to enlarge them ...
i have no idea why i didn't follow through and fix this one right off, except that i knew it would take a really long time to get it back to useful ... the main problem, (i speculate), was that the table was stored somewhere that was very damp, and the veneer on the bottom of the top came loose, allowing more moisture in.  while i can't find a picture, i definitely remember that the top was dry and cupped about 3/4 of an inch across the 18" width of it ...
so, out came the skilsaw, and i made some not quite all the way through skilsaw cuts about an inch and a half apart until i could very easily flatten it with a couple clamps and a straight edge.
at that point i put the top in the veneer bag with the original bottom veneer (you can see it in the background there) glued on to it .. that flattened it out and that's when i dropped the ball, likely intimidated by the anticipated time and risk involved in repairing the missing veneer.



so then recently, (the clients have commissioned another table), i went on to the patching, trying to find a piece of 'new growth' walnut that matched the grain of the apparently 'old growth' walnut of the original veneer.  since we had no idea of the table's origin, (italian? french?) i'm not even exactly sure what kind of walnut veneer the original veneer really is. the photo aggravates the color and grain match, and it is actually a little better and less obvious, (but obviously still obvious), in natural light.

as i was finishing up, there conveniently appeared a relevant article in the new yorker entitled ' The Custodians'.  i have taken the liberty of posting two excerpts from ben lerner's thoughful article below.  well researched, well thought out, and totally thought provoking.  a wonderful read for people like me who occasionally are called on to to rescue the old stuff. 

The Custodians

How the Whitney is transforming the art of museum conservation.




'lacunae' ... gaps .. missing pieces.  'coeval' .. living at the same time.
enjoy!

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