Boulle repair and replacement
From stabilising the original surface to the replacement of damaged and missing turtle shell sections with a technique of hand made and patinated veneers of semi translucent cow horn. To the full intricate cutting, engraving and sizing of missing inlayed metals such as brass, silver or pewter to complete a rich inlaid masterpiece.
I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to have restored many valuable items of boulle furniture over the years, ranging from rare one off 18th Century items to more typical models that were popular in the 19th Century.
Most common damage to Boulle work surfaces is a direct result of the expansion and contraction of substrate timbers or due to damaged and loose joints in the furniture frame. In nearly all cases, restoration starts with the wooden carcass beneath the applied decorative surface.
Repair and replacement of Boulle work surfaces involves many stages: from stabilising the original surface; to the replacement of damaged turtle shell sections (with handmade and patinated veneers of semi translucent cow horn); and the intricate cutting, engraving and sizing of missing areas of inlayed metals such as brass, silver or pewter.
Fine adjustments are made to both the brass and shell edges so the section will once again fit neatly back into place. Traditional cold fish glue is always used to achieve a good bond between the surfaces.
The final detail to the design is hand engraved into the surface. These newly engraved areas are then highlighted and filled with a dark earth pigment paste and flattened to complete.
One of the hardest skills of boulle work restoration to master are the final, subtle stages of finishing. Knowing just how to revive the original boulle and match in the newly made sections is a fine balance. Far too often I have see all of the original character and patina completely stripped from the once mellow and balanced appearance of a piece, resulting in a totally over restored finish.
Real care has to be taken in reviving the sheen to the integrated brass and shell which generally involves a great deal of hand burnishing using traditional fine grades of cutting papers then pumices and lubricants to archive the perfect result. The entire item is then sealed with a finely applied layer of shellac which is then finished with a light burnished wax.
Services I provide...
25 years of experience working in fine antique furniture restoration...
I have restored thousands of items back to their best condition and have a reputation for outstanding quality. From my full equipped, secure and insured premises I provide a highly personalised service to all my clients.