Antique headboard restoration

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GunnyGene

Hawkeye
Joined
Nov 23, 2013
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A local restorer talked me into making a new piece for a late 1600's French 4 poster bed headboard a few days ago. The bottom support board for it was totally eaten up by bugs/rot, etc. and she needs a new piece for it. The owner paid $15K for the head and matching foot board several years ago. It is heavily carved with floral designs and had a lot of gold leaf on it, some of which still remains. It will be one of the lots at a nationally broadcast antique auction at the Opryland Hotel and Resort in Nashville on 21 Nov. This auction will draw bidders from all over the world.

Stevens Auction Company is pleased to announce our commission to offer at public auction by a private collector, dresses and personal items belonging to the late pop icon and actress, Whitney Houston. The auction will also include rare art, priceless American and European antiques, as well as an extremely rare 1600 lb bronze door, quite possibly the most important antique bronze sculpture of a door ever offered at auction.

Auction info: http://www.stevensauction.com/21%20Nov%202015%20web/cover.html

Made the end tenons & cut the ends for the loose tenons to simplify installation. The tenons will be glued into the legs, then the new board will be slid up onto the protruding portions of the tenons and glued and pinned in place, since there is no other way to install it without tearing apart the entire headboard. Also cut the center mortise that the tenon on the upper main part of the head board fits into. 2 more mortises to finish up and then a little sanding, etc. Here's the original mahogany piece (on top), and the mostly complete replacement on the bottom.

I'll post a couple pics of the fully restored headboard in a few weeks. Fun to have a small part in this. :D

French%20timber%203.jpg~original
 

BucolicBuffalo

Single-Sixer
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Nov 23, 2014
Messages
261
A bug-eaten bed frame is kind of a scary thing isn't it? No one ever thinks about furniture having that problem. Just the framing and floors of houses.
 

GunnyGene

Hawkeye
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Nov 23, 2013
Messages
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BucolicBuffalo said:
A bug-eaten bed frame is kind of a scary thing isn't it? No one ever thinks about furniture having that problem. Just the framing and floors of houses.

It can be a problem, especially with air dried wood. Powder post beetles, etc. Also various types of bacteria. Nature tends towards recycling everything given enough time and the right conditions. Or to put it another way: The Universe wastes nothing. Everything is merely transformed. wink:
 

Busterswoodshop

Buckeye
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
1,073
Sounds like a fun project.
I have a couple of customers that are always buying antique furniture and bringing it to me to fix.
Sometimes they are an easy repair and sometimes they can be a nightmare.
Sometimes I think they should have taken it to the nearest dumpster.

Just curious:
What kind of wood is the original piece ?
It looks like you are replacing it with poplar.

I will be checking back to see the finished product.
 

GunnyGene

Hawkeye
Joined
Nov 23, 2013
Messages
6,397
Busterswoodshop said:
Sounds like a fun project.
I have a couple of customers that are always buying antique furniture and bringing it to me to fix.
Sometimes they are an easy repair and sometimes they can be a nightmare.
Sometimes I think they should have taken it to the nearest dumpster.

Just curious:
What kind of wood is the original piece ?
It looks like you are replacing it with poplar.

I will be checking back to see the finished product.

The original is an African mahogany. Pretty sure the replacement wood is Lauan (Philippine Mahogany), which was provided by the owner and came from another (unknown) piece of furniture - probably a fairly modern bed frame from the looks of it. Had to glue up 4 boards to get the thickness needed for the replacement. Original is/was 72 1/2"L x 2 5/8"thick x 3 5/8" wide including the original tenons. None of the dimensions on the original (mortises, tenons, etc. ) are standard as we think of standards today, which makes it somewhat of a challenge. Lot's of hand work as a result. Glue back then was strictly hide glue also, since modern glues simply hadn't been invented yet. The main parts of the headboard/footboard even have the original 300 year old hand forged nails holding some pieces on.

I've done a few restorations of various pieces (chairs, etc.), but this is by far the oldest piece I've ever worked on. Quite a treat actually. :mrgreen:
 

Busterswoodshop

Buckeye
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
1,073
Sounds like you have it figured out.
For me sometimes just getting the color and finish to match can get pretty aggravating.
 

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