Conservation and Restoration of Fine Furniture and Objects
Empire Style American Sideboard
American Sideboard
American Sideboard after conservation

Empire Style American Sideboard - detail before conservation
Empire Style American Sideboard - detail after conservation
Detail before and after conservation

Motif before conservation
Motif after conservation
Carved motif panel detail before and after conservation; wood grain is revealed after removal of a non-original finish

Motif during conservation - after the removal of non-original finish
Detail of carved motif panel after removal of non-original finish

Consolidating lifting veneer on pilaster door
Consolidating veneer on pilaster front door

Applying Shellac
Applying shellac polish

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Empire Style American Sideboard
Circa 1810-1830, Pennsylvania or Maryland
Mahogany with Mahogany veneer, Poplar, Eastern White Pine


Though structurally sound, the sideboard arrived with its surface marred by abrasions, its edges worn, and its veneer chipped and splitting. Drawers were out of alignment and cracked from expansion and pilaster doors were loose at the hinges. Carved moldings connected to the frame wobbled with movement. Both original and non-original finish had accumulated atop the decorative carved grape leaf motif, causing its once-majestic mahogany surface and grain to become clouded in discoloration.


Bernacki & Associates began structural conservation by dissembling casing and elements. Loose veneer was consolidated throughout the entire piece and missing portions in-filled with wood species matching the original design. Carved molding was stabilized and a section of decorative trim replaced. Drawers - repaired of splits - were equally aligned and door hinges secured. Finally, the finish was conserved. Surface imperfections were retouched for a smooth exterior. Expert cleaning revealed the full, rich color of the original piece, improved upon by shellac polish. After an application of wax and thorough hand buffing, the surface gleamed with even luster, providing a perfect “finishing” touch to this exquisite piece of furniture.

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