Mirror for Slant Top Secretaire, Part 2

You can read part 1 here.

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything with the mirror, so I had to go back over what I had actually accomplished since then. That took all of 5 minutes because all I had done was remove some loose pieces and do a bit of cleaning.

I had more time to work on the piece so I got out my super high-tech wax heater and mixed up a batch of hide glue.

This is the wax heater that I use for my hide glue. There were already holes in the lid so I use one of them for the temperature probe that I taped with duct tape so it’s at the right depth. Inside the heater is a small glass jar with hide glue granules and water. The glass jar is sitting in a water bath that is about 1/2 way up the side of the jar. This is for even heating of the hide glue.

I’ll write a separate post about how I mix and make my hide glue.

While the hide glue was heating up, I went back over the surface area for the loose pieces that needed to be reattached.

This shows how dirt and gunk (the technical term) worked their way under the loose pieces. This will make the adhesion less stable.
This shows glue along the edge, but not in the center. This might be a bad repair where the person just tried to squoosh some glue along the edge of the part without removing it to get underneath.
This one is pretty clean with no build-up of old glue.
This section has been cleaned up pretty well.
Pieces glued back on.

I also glued the top piece back together.

Broken finial (or top ornament).
I used regular wood glue on this since it is a repair of a broken piece.

One thing I wanted to touch on here is that when I’m doing repairs, I’ll use different types of adhesive or glue depending on what I’m working on. If there is a piece that is broken and needs to be put back together, then I’ll use wood glue or possibly epoxy. However, if I’m attaching parts to a frame or to other parts, or if I’m putting a joint back together (mortise and tenon, bridle joint, dovetail) then I’ll use hide glue.

Once I had all of the pieces reattached to the frame, I started working on the pieces that were missing. On this frame there were only two pieces missing, and they were both very straightforward and required very little carving.

One part that was broken and missing.
I used a tiny cleaver to rive a scrap piece of oak, so that the grain orientation matched the frame.
The tiny cleaver was probably a cheese slicer or something similar, but it’s the perfect size for riving treenails or pegs for joinery.
After shaving and sanding it down to size.
Hide glue is ready.
After some chiselling.

Once the glue had dried, I chiselled it down.

The triangular piece took a bit more fiddling but was not difficult to carve down to shape.

A small piece missing from this lion.

I started with a small rectangular piece and slowly filed away a portion just to get it to fit in that space. I made sure the grain matched the piece next to it. I knew the piece was bigger than I needed, but that was not an issue as it gave me something to hold on to while I filed it.

Shows that I’ve just started filing a corner.
The corner has been filed so it fits in the space.

Once I had the corner filed I glued the piece in place. I then began carving the piece to match.

I had also glued back together the frame itself since it was in pieces.

A piece of the frame after cleaning the joint.
A previous break that had been repaired (I think).
Even though there isn’t a lot of surface area for glue, I didn’t change this by adding a deeper channel or anything. I think this will be enough surface area for a stable glue up.

So this is where I am now. This picture doesn’t show it, but both of the new pieces have been carved and are ready for color matching. I’ll get started on that and will have it in the next post.

Mirror for Slant Top Secretaire, Part 3

You can see my previous post here.

The color matching for the pieces was pretty straightforward. The only two colors I needed were dark walnut and red mahogany, with some dark wax to blend everything. I started with a thin coat of garnet shellac before adding the color.

Shows the piece with a thin coat of garnet shellac.
Also with a thin coat of garnet shellac.
This shows both pieces with coloring. I added some dark wax after this to blend.

When I had finished this portion, I then move onto the finial, or ornament, on the top that had broken.

Shows the broken ornament.

I wasn’t sure what the original missing piece looked like, so I did a bit of research on acanthus leaf designs and found something that I thought would work in this case. I then printed it to scale and then transferred that to a piece of oak.

Shows the picture printed to scale and my initial carving.
Once I had the outline, I cut it out but left the base attached so I could more easily do the carving.
The picture shows the tools I used to do the carving and shaping.

For this part of the project, I used several of my carving chisels and gouges. I also used my floats for some fast material removal and my rasps for the finer detail removal.

Once the carving was pretty much done, I colored the piece, then cut it off and glued it onto the rest of the ornament.

Shows the piece with some color.
And attached to the rest of the ornament.

At this point, all that was left was to attach the ornament to the frame and put the glass back in.

The finished piece.
The finished piece from the other angle.

This was a pretty straightforward restoration, even though it took far too long to finish.

I can’t wait to see it on the secrataire.