Conservation and Restoration of Fine Furniture and Objects
Conservation Revisited:
Chippendale Dining Chairs Over Time
Chippendale chair reproduced at Bernacki & Associates, Inc.

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After over 25 years in service, many antiques have passed through our studios at Bernacki & Associates. Recently, a client allowed us to re-experience a project from over a decade ago and evaluate the effect of time on our treatment.

The project involved reproducing six XVIIIth century Chippendale dining chairs. Treatment involved much research, selection of comparable mahogany wood, and a fabrication process utilizing the same techniques as the Chippendale era. After reproducing hand-carved elements of the graceful splat openwork, motifs, and joinery, the chairs were skillfully assembled and upholstered with horsehair foundation.

In remaining honest to design, one key feature was recreation of a historically-accurate finish, intended to mature in a manner similar to the original. After over ten years, we can verify that the technique was mastered. Proper application of shellac and wax produced a finish that, as the years pass, continues to “develop” its own patina. We’re proud to confirm that, with traditional methods, these chairs are standing the test of time.

Read the full version of “Conservation Revisited” on the Conservation & Design International Website

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