Nona Oneill. Furniture. September 23rd , 2017.
Furniture Veneer, Inlay, Marquetry and Boulle: Their artistry fell into four main categories: veneers, strips of mahogany or walnut, waxed and polished to enrich their grain and colour; marquetry, patterns and pictorial designs built up from a variety of different woods; inlay, which achieved a similar effect using pieces of tortoiseshell, mother of pearl, ivory and ebony; and boulle, named after a French family of cabinet makers in the 17th and 18th centuries whose furniture was decorated with designs in brass, picked out in black pigment and filled in with inlay. The skills of these craftsmen linger on in many small individual firms. Many of these antique pieces fetch an unbelievably high price at auctions around the globe, especially if they are from sought after craftsmen from early Victorian periods.
Wood veneers can be difficult to match. It is possible to buy new veneer strips, but they are generally thinner than the old hand-sawn veneers and do not always match in colour. It often pays to go to an auction to look for a broken oddment of furniture that has suitable veneers. To remove a veneer from its backing, first clean off any old polish with white spirit and carefully clean the varnish or wax. Place a damp cloth over the cleaned strip and press with a fairly hot iron. Keep the cloth damp. This melts the Scotch glue holding down the veneer, which can then be peeled off. The same technique is used to raise small areas on the antique piece, but use a soldering iron instead of an iron. Wipe all traces of glue while it is still warm. Dampen the veneer and flatten it between two pieces of wood for about 24 hours before use. Do not let it dry completely, for veneers must be re-laid while still damp and pliable. The replacement veneer should be slightly thicker than the existing one, to allow for sanding. Stick the new strip down with Scotch glue and apply a weight or clamp until the glue has completely set. Wax and polish to match the existing finish.
Space and Balance. In store bought furniture you can choose a piece that fits in your space. But in a custom made furniture you can uniquely design with your space in mind and with maximum utilisation.
Finding suitable replacement materials for inlay and boulle antiques is an even greater problem. They tend to use more complex and varied materials. Antique and second-hand shops often have boxes containing suitable oddments and it is worth searching through them to find matching pieces. As a last resort, missing pieces of inlay can be built up with synthetic resins or wax, coloured to match. If boulle has lifted seriously or is bent, leave the repair to an expert restorer; but if the lifting is only slight, carefully remove the section and scrape clean all the dirt. Stick with an epoxy resin adhesive and weight it down until the glue has dried.
Yet, popular as it is, rattan garden furniture is by no means the only type of outdoor furniture available on the market. On the contrary, there are a number of different materials for outdoor furniture, both natural and synthetic, which may be good alternatives to rattan for home-owners less fond of this material. This article goes over a few of the most common.
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