Pembroke Table 

Private Client


After TreatmentThe Federal Pembroke table is a lightly constructed table with folding leaves designed for occasional use. Typical of this style or form, the table has two drawers. The table top and upper surfaces of the “leaves” are veneered with burled walnut and American holly stringing. The four legs are set on gilt brass castors.


Before Treatment: Damaged Table TopThe table was found to be structurally stable and the finishes, while not original, were in excellent condition. However, the table top, excluding the folding leaves, had been damaged by standing water marring the surface. The synthetic cellulose nitrate varnish, used during an earlier restoration, had lifted from the veneer and allowed water to permeate the wood. Staining or darkening of the veneer had occurred in these areas but was most obvious where the water caused staining of the light holly stringing. Separation of the varnish layer from the wood produced opaque areas which appeared lighter than the underlying walnut burl. Small areas of veneer had become loose and had lifted from the mahogany substrate.


After TreatmentThe areas of lifting veneer and stringing were readhered using hot hide glue and clamped overnight. Repeated attempts to consolidate or re-solubilized the old varnish were not successful; therefore, the non-original finish was removed using a mixture of ethanol and acetone. Where possible, the dark staining was locally reduced or lightened using controlled applications of a hydrogen peroxide poultice. A modern synthetic varnish was toned using aniline dyes to match the slightly yellowed lacquer that had been applied during the earlier re-finishing. The toned varnish was spray applied to the table top and hand rubbed to match the sheen found on the folding table leaves. All surfaces were waxed using an unbleached microcrystalline wax and buffed using soft cotton cloths. The leaves were re-attached using original hinges and hardware.

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  • B.R. Howard & Associates

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