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Oak Rocking Chair

Object Description: Rocking Chair, pierced splat back, cane seat. 19th / 20th century. Primary wood: Oak (Quercus spp.) Coating: Shellac

Condition Before Treatment

Structural: Both proper left feet had broken tenons which had been previously inappropriately repaired with metal "T" brackets and multiple screws from beneath. These repairs had since failed. Splat back had suffered severe shrinkage and warpage causing it to fracture in four places. Both arms had loose joinery. Cane seat had failed completely.

Surface: All the finish was severely soiled and had lost optical saturation. Back splat coating had turned irreversibly dark, obscuring grain beneath. Finish was missing on arms and front edge of seat.

Treatment Performed

Structural: Both arms were disassembled, cleaned, and reglued. Both proper left feet were released from "T" brackets and screws were removed. They were then cut, planed and scarf jointed with new wood. Scarf joints were adhered with hot hide glue. The grafts were then shaped and new tenons cut to fit mortises. Crest rail was removed for back splat repair. The four warped fracture lines of the splat were cut out and fitted with oak grafts. Grafts were glued with hot hide glue and then shaped with chisels, files, and sandpaper. After surface treatment, a new cane seat was hand woven.

Surface: Entirety of piece was cleaned with an aqueous surfactant solution followed by a petroleum distillate cleaning. Paint flecking was then removed with an aromatic hydrocarbon. All areas of color loss were restored with oil-based pigmented stain and/or dewaxed shellac and earth pigments. Degraded coating on the front of the splat was carefully removed with swabs of lacquer thinner and then stained with oil-based pigmented stain. A shellac finish was applied to splat. All of the coating was re-saturated by application of dewaxed shellac. After curing, finish was hand rubbed to sheen with Liberon #0000 steel wool and Wool Lube.

BEFORE                           AFTER


BROKEN FOOT                                                       NEW GRAFT


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