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Need advice on restoring a 19th century writing slope

Budding Contributor

Need advice on restoring a 19th century writing slope

Can anyone give me some advice on how to restore this 19th century writing slope? Im not entirely sure what timber has been used but it was been veneered and that veneer has a shiny finish on it. How would I strip finish of a veneered surface given that its almost cardboard thin? Its also missing large patches of veneer. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.IMG_2534.JPGIMG_2544.JPGside view - note missing veneerside view - note missing veneerback viewback view 

Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: Need advice on restoring a 19th century writing slope

@Christian1,

 

Looks like a fantastic project. All the best with it. 

 

Let me tag a few of our experienced woodworkers in the community who might be able to kick off the restoration discussion for you. 

 

@Brad@r23on@woodalwaysworks@LePallet@kel@Poppop@Beachbox@redracer01@Mjay@ChristineL@AnitaH25@ChadBaker             

 

Good luck,

 

Jason 

 

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Budding Contributor

Re: Need advice on restoring a 19th century writing slope

Hi Christian, 

not sure what area you live in, but a gentleman at my local woodwork group was restoring one of these last year. The group is in the Blue Mountains if that is close to you? 

Mel
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Valued Contributor

Re: Need advice on restoring a 19th century writing slope

Hello @christian

This looks like a very involved project. Are you restoring for personal use or are you restoring to sell? I suggest bringing it to a professional auctioneer and have it valued and see how much it is in its original condition. I only suggest as it is an antique but it does require a make over. I suggest watching a few videos on antique furniture restoration as I mentioned it is not a straight forward affair. I also noticed that the brass inlays have have dropped off and need replacing. That will possibly require a hunt for soft brass and some artistic work on your part. It is difficult to say if the box was re-done in its past life or is still coated with the original shellac. But to put it in a nutshell, restoring this box will require some new veneer and a varnish and stain of similar color. You will have to do a shadow rubbing of the inlay near the center of the box and the key hole and cut some decorative brass to replace the original. A polish of the brass strips should bring this beauty back to life. Replacing the new modern hinge with an original looking hinge will lend authenticity to the box. Remove the new modern hinge and refill cut out with timber filler and cover with veneer. I make it sound easy but some professional antique restorers sometimes take weeks just to match veneer and they even investigate the glue used to attach the veneer. Good luck and make sure to post some pictures if you decide to give it a go!

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Budding Contributor

Re: Need advice on restoring a 19th century writing slope

Thanks for your advice about restoring this writing box. I’m just doing it as a hobby at home, and I don’t intend to sell it for profit (just something to keep me busy in the shed on the weekends). making a template with some clear plastic and a textamaking a template with some clear plastic and a textaselection of small (but sharp) filesselection of small (but sharp) filesstill need to smooth out some corners, but its almost there..still need to smooth out some corners, but its almost there..how do i fix this into the wooden recess?how do i fix this into the wooden recess?IMG_4057.JPGI’ve been able to strip off the old shellac finish using methylated spirts and fine steel wool. After some careful rubbing the raw timber veneer has been revealed underneath (looks like red cedar but I’m not sure). Think I’m going to re-stain it with Feast Watson Walnut and then finish with shellac.

I’ve been tinkering with making the replacement brass inlays as well after buying some brass sheeting online. It’s very fine work but with the help of a few small metal files its coming together nicely. Any thoughts on how to re-attach the brass inlays into the recess when I’ve finished smoothing out the decorative brass fittings? 

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Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: Need advice on restoring a 19th century writing slope

Hi @Christian1,

 

Just checking in to see how this restoration project is going. Do you still need assistance with re-attaching the brass inlays, or anything else? I would be happy to tag some members who might be able to assist, and I'm sure all members would love to see any progress you have made. 

 

Thanks for any updates you can provide.

 

Jason

 

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Budding Contributor

Re: Need advice on restoring a 19th century writing slope

Hi Jason

 

Its coming along slowly. I would appreciate it if you can tag some more people in. Need help with the re-veneering repairs.

 

Thanks

 

Christian

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Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: Need advice on restoring a 19th century writing slope

No worries @Christian1. If you could be as specific as possible about what you are having trouble with, I'm sure there are members who will be happy to help. 

 

Let me tag some members who have shared restoration projects in the past, including @ChristineL@AnitaH25@Beachbox@vickiec@Mjay@redracer01 and @Hay     

 

Jason

 

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Budding Contributor

Re: Need advice on restoring a 19th century writing slope

You really ought to do a "How To" for others with the methods you used to get the job done.

More often than not, working out how to achieve a result is not only more rewarding than how it "should" be done, it often results in a better/longer lasting outcome.

Good on you!

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