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ANTIQUE CONSERVATION, NYC

 

Conservation of antique, period furniture should stabilize it

For current use, and for future generations. The interests of a museum are different than for residential users.  Museum conservation requires the furniture stand up under its own weight, and not deteriorate from infestation of powder post beetles, rot, sunlight or other lighting, humidity changes, or other degenerative causes.  Home or residential users also need conservation to provide stability and functionality, to survive the antique furniture’s intended use:



  • •  The furniture frame and joinery, whether mortise-and-tenon, dovetailed or doweled, should be solid and strong under load, and support users or objects stored inside.



  • •  Chairs or sofas should be secure for people to sit in them, with casters operable and in good condition. Non-invasive reupholstery techniques are available.



  • •  Of drawers must run smoothly and easily with drawers fully loaded.



  • •  Doors on cabinets, must be hung correctly, hinges must work as intended and  not subject  the furniture carcase to damage from loosenes.



  • •  Carvings or moldings should be secure and intact.


Stickley Arts & Crafts Rocker, with broken rocker and back before repair Stickley Rocker- Arts & Crafts Period with Broken Back

Stickley Arts & Crafts Rocker, with broken rocker and back before repair

Stickley Rocker- Arts & Crafts Period with Broken Back



Stickley Bros. Arts & Crafts Rocker with Repaired Original Back, before refinishing Stickley Arts & Crafts Rocker, disassembled to repair each broken element, and rebuild entirely

Stickley Bros. Arts & Crafts Rocker with Repaired Original Back, before refinishing

Stickley Arts & Crafts Rocker, disassembled to repair each broken element, and rebuild entirely



Conservation of French Polish and Other Clear Finishes

Table or other furniture finishes that are damaged should be conserved to appear original, conserving the patina consistent with the clients goals.

French Polishing should match original for the period furniture.  High-style French Empire or Rococo pieces will have a “mirror”polish, much glossier and perfect than is appropriate for most English George I, George II, or George III furniture.

Dark rings from water-related  bacterial discoloration should be removed as non-invasively as possible, chemically bleaching, without altering the adjacent wood, or requiring sanding which would destroy the original patina that is present when the dark ring is removed.

Other finishes should also be kept consistent with the original, with the use of oil or copal varnishes, and wax.  We custom produce varnishes to match as needed.

 

Dutchman Inlays and Marquetry

Veneer or marquetry should be intact, and loose veneer readhered, and not fall off when the furniture is routinely cleaned or used.

Inlays of solid wood or veneer should match the original, in thickness, cut, and grain pattern of the wood. Dutchman inlays are done consistent with the original joinery and construction of the furniture.

Wood “dry-rotted” by powder post beetles, may be cut out in structurally critical areas, that may have already broken in use, such as at the junction of chair rails and stiles, and Dutchman inlays inserted, and carved or veneered to match original profiles.

 

Decorative Finishes- Milk Paint, Japanning, Oriental Lacquer, Gilding, and Other

Stabilization of decorative finishes, such as milk paint or other paint, Japanning, pietre dure or stone inlays, Oriental Lacquer or Coromandel, gesso or composition molded elements, loose gilt finishes readhered, or re-gilt.

Milk paint should have similar formulation to original.

Gilding should use gold leaf, or other leaf of the same composition and application as the original.  Water gilt gold leaf and oil gilt gold leaf must be done the same as originally applied, and glazed to match.  Burnishing of water gilding should also mimick the original

Japanning should be done with the same base of clay and whiting or other ingredients as used in the original furniture decorative finish.

Oriental Lacquer varnishes prepared with copal varnish and pigments matching original ingredients, for the same consistency and appearance as the original screen or decorative object.

 

Powder Post Beetle or other infestations - Treatment

Removal of active infestations, such as powder post beetles.  Infestations may be eliminated rapidly by traditionally used methylene bromide gas, or by the slow-working, non-polluting anoxic treatment with high concentration of carbon dioxide gas in a tent for a month. The use of carbon dioxide is a green treatment that does not use ozone-damaging methylene bromide, and is the recommended treatment method (although modern fumigation processes do re-cycle methylene bromide and avoid atmospheric release).

 

Caning, Rush, Splint, Bamboo, Rattan, Wicker, and Cord- Match Original

Caning should be replaced to match original, with cane width, weave, and attachment matching the way it was installed originally.

Rush, splint, bamboo, wicker, and cord should all match original materials and weaving patterns.

 

Period Antique Glass, Salvaged from Historic Buildings available in Large Sizes

Secretary bookcases or desks should have glass replacements if needed, using period antique glass.  We inventory period antique glass in larger sizes than manufactured or distributed by any Restoration Glass company.  We can quickly furnish replacement glass appropriate to any period.

Three dimensional “slumped” glass available.  We fabricate forms and can fabricate three dimensional sheets of period glass to match .

 

Glass slumped in kiln to replicate original glass from breakfront  

Glass slumped in kiln to replicate original glass from breakfront

 



For Kittinger Breakfront, glass baked in kiln to achieve 3D shape

Glass slumped in kiln to replicate original glass from breakfront  

Glass slumped in kiln to replicate original glass from breakfront

 



Pietre Dure, or Stone Veneer Repairs

Pietre Dure can develop problems with the cement holding the stone veneers to the stone substrate. In this case a recently made slate table base was veneered with floral stone veneers. The cement was unstable, and over 15 years the pietre dure veneers loosened. We had to lift the loose veneer out of the top, reattach the loose stone veneers, and replace the missing decoratively colored cement to match the original, adjacent colored cement, and grind, hone, and polish the table top.

 

Modern Pietre Dure Stone Marquetry Table with stones popping out and loosening Removing stone inlays and recreating pattern for replacement

Modern Pietre Dure Stone Marquetry Table with stones popping out and loosening

Removing stone inlays and recreating pattern for replacement



Colored cement must be replicated too to repair stone marquetry table Process of removing stones partially loose is painstaking to avoid damage

Colored cement must be replicated too to repair stone marquetry table

Process of removing stones partially loose is painstaking to avoid damage



Stone marquetry after repair Stone marquetry (pietre dure) table after repairs- table is smooth, inlays stabilized

Stone marquetry after repair

Stone marquetry (pietre dure) table after repairs- table is smooth, inlays stabilized



The means of accomplishing conservation is important. Many appreciate that repairs can be done properly, or inappropriately, which can damage the antique and compromise its strength or aesthetics.  To attain impeccable, meticulous results, we employ the finest European craftsmen; cabinetmakers, carvers, upholsterers,  artists,  even metal machinists. They respect the integrity and know the importance of maintaining the original design when repairing your furniture or architectural woodwork.

 

Client objectives vary, many will want more restoration work than just stabilization through conservation. A thorough discussion of condition, usage, and goals for each piece is important to attain the expected conservation or restoration results.  Our European craftsmen are attentive to client needs, and have high standards for conservation work.  Our work is done inconspicuously, materials are kept consistent.  Standards for reversibility discussed with the client and identified at the outset.

 

Our mission is to conserve or restore your furniture, to the level where a stranger cannot tell that conservation, or restoration was done.

 

Pickups & Delivery by our truck throughout metropolitan NY, NJ, PA, and CT-

Olek Lejbzon & Co. was established in 1950, and has repaired furniture in the metropolitan NY area including NY, NJ, CT, and PA, with our own pickup and delivery service available in this region. 

 

We arrange pickup and delivery promptly throughout metropolitan NY, including NY and NYC, NJ, PA, and  CT at modest cost.  We can arrange for pickup and delivery of furniture throughout the United States east of the Mississippi, as well as all of Louisiana and eastern Texas with a recommended common carrier, TSC Moving (Hallandale, FL),   They are very reliable, and surprisingly economical for long-distance moves. Fine furniture deserves the best care, and is worth the trip.  With the advent of the internet, our business has expanded internationally, and our esteemed clients can ship furniture or decorative objects to our 25,000 sq. ft. atelier in the old Ballantine Brewery at 425 Ferry St., Newark, NJ

 

Pickups & Delivery by our truck throughout metropolitan NY, NJ, PA, and CT-

Pickups of entire assembled Eames Lounge Chair may be inexpensively arranged throughout the Midwest and Eastern US, from Texas to Chicago, Florida to Boston

 

We arrange pickup and delivery promptly throughout metropolitan NY, including NY and NYC, NJ, PA, and  at CT at modest cost.  We can arrange for pickup and delivery of furniture throughout the United States east of the Mississippi, as well as all of Louisiana and eastern Texas with a recommended common carrier, TSC Moving (Hallandale, FL), www.tscmoving.com  They are very reliable, and surprisingly economical for long-distance moves. Fine furniture deserves the best care, and is worth the trip.




 

 

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