LumberJocks

Boulle Marquetry Decanter Restoration

  • Advertise with us
Project by Patricelejeune posted 04-13-2016 01:03 AM 1165 views 6 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Boulle Marquetry Decanter Restoration
Boulle Marquetry Decanter Restoration No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
Zoom Pictures

There has been a renewed interest in Boulle marquetry Napoleon III furniture in the last years.

Most of the time, unfortunately, the cost of restoration is to high for a lot of customers or even compared to the value of the piece. It is sad as those pieces need to be well maintained.

Here is a little story on restoring a 1860-1880 decanter with almost all the original Baccarat crystals.

It arrived with the usual loose and missing brass, but also it had been meanly sanded, without loosing the engraving though, and sprayed with lacquer.

First thing to do is to lift the loose brass and assess the damage.

Epoxy is not the way to reglue Boulle. It is usally used without cleaning under and therefore the brass is bulging and is extremely difficult to remove when you want to do a proper restoration

Neither is contact cement. In fact you can not imagine how many pieces we have to restore that have been “repaired” with contact cement. It is not long term efficient on any kind of veneering

After cleaning the substrate and the inside of the brass of any glue and oxydation

The pieces is remoisturized and the pieces that are not to damaged are rehydradrated new glue is inserted and pieces are reglued in a vacuum bag

Other way to reglue what can’t or is not easy to reglue in the vacuum bag is sand bags

or hard foam like in this case isolation material

The top was really in a very bad shape, especially as those pieces are made with wood that are deeped in acids and other chemicals to achieve the ebonizing

New brass pieces are engraved

Then the reopened kerfs and the engraving line are filled using the traditional pore filling methode but with soot black and charcoal to get a real nice black

You can see I was doing the black at the same time than a clock for which you can see the progress there
I am actually engraving the horn and it will be finished this week and I will post about it.

After a bit of polish the hinges and all the harware is put back on et voilĂ !!

-- Patrice lejeune





19 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile (online now)

lightweightladylefty

3124 posts in 3106 days


#1 posted 04-13-2016 01:42 AM

Patrice,

The restoration is really incredible! It seems to me that it could take more time for this restoration than the actual build 150 years ago. No wonder few people can (choose to) afford to have such beautiful pieces restored. Certainly there are very few people like you and Patrick who are capable of such extensive, high-quality repair work.

Thanks for sharing.

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Luke Addington's profile

Luke Addington

72 posts in 562 days


#2 posted 04-13-2016 05:20 AM

It looks so nice! I would love to learn how to do this properly one day. Fantastic job Patrice and thank you for posting it.

-- Luke, http://www.AddingtonFurniture.com

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7031 posts in 2191 days


#3 posted 04-13-2016 06:25 AM

Very nice Patrice. Was the tortoiseshell intact?
It looks perfect now.
You do nice work. :-)

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Kiwib0y's profile

Kiwib0y

89 posts in 416 days


#4 posted 04-13-2016 07:50 AM

It is a certainly a pleasure to see another posting. I would like to thank you for posting items like this one as I love sitting here admiring your work and the furniture you show us you work on or create.

-- "It is only a silly question if it is not asked" Don,New Zealand

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1596 posts in 2347 days


#5 posted 04-13-2016 01:50 PM

Nicely done, indeed. Your work never fails to impress. And you’ve saved a lovely piece.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Julian's profile

Julian

995 posts in 2084 days


#6 posted 04-13-2016 02:45 PM

It is amazing that you were able to make that box look like new.

-- Julian

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

22553 posts in 2260 days


#7 posted 04-13-2016 03:28 PM

Patrice, your work is extraordinary and I can’t even imagine the patience, craftsmanship, and knowledge that goes into this sort of restoration work. It must be a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to know that you are saving these beautiful pieces from deterioration for future generations to enjoy.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

2539 posts in 2577 days


#8 posted 04-13-2016 04:08 PM

That is some ridiculously nice restoration work. What glue did you end up using, if you don’t like epoxy or contact cement?

-- Allen, Colorado

View Patricelejeune's profile

Patricelejeune

364 posts in 1314 days


#9 posted 04-13-2016 04:40 PM

Thank you guys.
Restoring Boulle is very time consuming and frustrating at times, so it is nice when it is done.
Paul, There were very little missing shell. Most ot the time it is the brass that pops out. We have a small box with small pieces of shell salvaged here and there that we can use.
Bobasaurus, The traditional glue for Metal on wood is fish glue, it has more elasticity and absorbs better the conflicting expension and retractaion of the wood and the metal. Also as a protein glue, it is reversible aloowing future restoration.

-- Patrice lejeune

View DonSol's profile

DonSol

171 posts in 635 days


#10 posted 04-13-2016 05:45 PM

You do absolutely beautiful work. I have done some repair work on furniture, not marquetry, and I would see repairs that someone else did and I wonder what were they thinking.

-- Don Solomon, New Castle, IN; Quality is not an act, it is a habit. Aristotle

View Hammerthumb's profile

Hammerthumb

2504 posts in 1368 days


#11 posted 04-13-2016 08:22 PM

Patrice – I remember you showing me that decanter when I visited last year. It was in very poor condition and I was wondering when you would get a chance to work on it. I am glad you posted pictures. I have to say that I am amazed! Great work and well done!

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View mmh's profile

mmh

3661 posts in 3116 days


#12 posted 04-13-2016 11:37 PM

Incredible restoration work, and as usual so masterfully done. I can only admire the patience and the mastered techniques of your work.

It’s also amazing how such a beautiful piece of work has been abused over the years. Alas, we still have master craftsmen such as you around to revive them!

Are you teaching anyone to keep this art alive?

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View madburg's profile

madburg

140 posts in 236 days


#13 posted 04-14-2016 12:24 AM

Great to see the piece restore to its former glory. What a privilege to be able to work on such a piece. THanks for sharing it!!

So where do you get the fish glue from? Or do you make your own along with OBG? Do you use garlic as is suggested in the texts, to clean the new metal prior to gluing down? Or what else do you use to clean any new metal before gluing?

-- Madburg WA

View McFly's profile

McFly

171 posts in 421 days


#14 posted 04-14-2016 01:24 AM

Wow. Phenomenal work. A museum quality restoration!

View Dale J Struhar Sr's profile

Dale J Struhar Sr

442 posts in 2524 days


#15 posted 04-14-2016 01:32 AM

Unreal, what a fantastic job. Beautiful.

-- Dale, Ohio

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com