Restoration step by step

Restorer is craftsman, artist, and a little bit too unconventional. It is very interesting cocktail. And what do we imagine that happening in the workshop of the restorer? Lets look. Restorer takes a pictures every each piece, whether it is a dresser, sofa, picture, or watches. Then he sits down and draws up a description of a restoration plan. And then is a crafts phase. Imagine, that we renovate a commode from the eighteenth century with a rich inlay.  First, the whole commode dismantled into individual parts. Cleaned from the original lacquer, binding and other dirts. It is likely that some components are missing, or they will not be able to repair. In this case, our restorer  makes a new part faithfully similar to the missing, but he must choose the old wood with similar qualities. So we made the refunds and that its have to be glued to their original locations and the first alchemy of our renovation journey is behind us.  All bonder joints are glued by bone (animal) glue. An animal glue is an adhesive that is created by prolonged boiling of animal connective tissue. These protein colloid glues are formed through hydrolysis of the collagen from skins, bones, tendons, and other tissues, similar to gelatin. Animal glue has existed since ancient times, although its usage was not widespread. Today, animal glues are sparsely industrialized, but still used for making and restoring objects, paintings, illuminated parchment manuscripts, and other artifacts. Recently, animal glue has been replaced by other adhesives and plastics, but remains popular for restoration. But we are still only at an early stage.

Before us is very sensitive work that requires not only wisdom and skills, but the patience of our restorer. We will renovate inlay. Inlays of precious wood are destroyed and sometimes even missing entirely. Inlays are very carefully glued in. And those who miss are replaced. First, he must choose the right veneer, mostly noble wood of fruit trees, but often of exotic and relatively rare wood. Next, on the thus prepared veneer or veneers as they always consist of different types of timber side by side, to transfer the shape needed inlay so that drawing veneer was in the right direction. And he can´t make a mistake because he could deteriorate the whole plate of veneer. The individual particles are glued very precisely into the desired shapes, that you couldn´t recognize from the original. Just art.


What's next? It will be finish the final parts and the surface is carefully grinded. Commode gets new llook in the form of linen varnish that complement the wood moisture and underlines the drawing and color. At this moment, we are facing another alchemist delicacy and it is surface polishing. We are talking about shellac (french) polish. Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. Our restorer of course, does not run through India and following of insects. It is processed and sold as dry flakes and dissolved in ethanol to make liquid shellac. This special alcohol is not easily available and our restorer has considerable worry to obtain. Each master mixes own polish. There are many recipes which differ in details, but the basis always remains shellac and alcohol. Perhaps he will forgive me, I tell one more secrtes that he will create ten to fifteen layers of shellac polish until the surface is perfect. Thus prepared commode goes for fourteen days to rest, during which time the polishing so-called expires, it means that larger pores eat up shellac polish. Surface is not uniformly smooth and glossy. It is therefore necessary to wait and again rub in additional layers of shellac polish. The restorer is repeated as many times as necessary depending on the structure. At the end of this process on the wood surface excess oil that spread by the polish, which is a modern replacement for the Vienna lime. But now we are almost at the end of our work. Then we assemble fittings that we obviously unmount before renovation. So we should all, therefore, not quite, because the restorer now sits all what he was doing nicely describe. He makes pictures of each phase of recovery.  And he gives advice on how to deal with new commode.