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The challenge was to get these applied carvings off intact so I can apply them to the new rail:
1. I sliced the carvings and some of the wood from the old rail off with the bandsaw
2. I put a big pot of water on the stove to boil with a fry pan splatter screen on top.
3. I set the two carvings on the splatter screen in hopes that I could soften the glue and steam the backer wood off the carvings. After gingerly and patiently sticking a sharp pocket knive between the carving and the backer wood every so often and setting them back on the steam pot for three hours . . . Success!
They need to be stripped of the old finish – but they appear to be made of Rosewood and I misidentified the backer wood previously – because of the dry rot, I thought it was a soft wood – but in fact, the backer wood was white oak
Here they are placed where they will be placed on the new rail.
-- Paul, Texas