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Structural Repairs

When assessing the condition of a piece of antique furniture, a careful distinction should be drawn between what are simply the natural results of normal useage, or put another way, wear and tear; and actual damage, caused by negligence of one form or another.

Aside from the obvious breakages and splits, two of the other most common ways in which the structure of furniture is adversely affected, are through the spread of woodworm and fluctuating ambient temperature. Evidence of the former can be seen in the sharply formed, almost pin-prick sized holes, clustered together often around mortis and tenon joints, severely weakening the overall solidity of a piece.

While perhaps not immediately obvious, significant changes in room temperature, such as those produced by the seasonal use of central heating, can cause the mainly hide based glues originally used, to dry-out, crack  and ultimately lead the structure, which they are supporting to loosen significantly. In the case of veneered timbers, this is seen in the manner in which they have a tendency to blister and lift from their carcases. 

Common problems

  • Breakages / splits

  • Woodworm damage

  • Burns

  • Damaged / missing spindles

  • Blistered / damaged veneers / inlays

Services / solutions

Breakages / Splits

Both horns on this Chinese water buffalo had been broken

Two unsightly splits had developed on this Regency sofa table, which were filled with beaumontage

Woodworm Damage

An entire piece of the seat on this elm Windsor chair had to be replaced as the wood had become very flaky and dry due to extensive woodworm damage



The oak drawing room door at Whitbourne Hall in Herefordshire, had been badly burned as a result of a heater being placed too close to it: the burned section had to be cut out and replaced , with part of the moulding reformed, and then coloured to match



Missing cylindrical section of this spindle on a lath back chair, replaced


Replaced section of arm support spindle compared with an original, awaiting colouring to match

Replaced sections on these two mahogany drawer knobs. Again, awaiting colouring

Veneering / Inlays

Replaced intricate marquetry foliage detail, on this longcase clock  

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