Here at The Center, we have the honor of treating family heirlooms of all shapes and sizes. This beautifully made Gaming table has been with the client’s family for 3 generations, and was bought while the ancestor was a student in Damascus, Syria, in 1935. Over the years, the table began to show evidence of use over the years, and was brought to us to address these issues before being passed on to the next generation.
First, the Furniture Conservators of The Center disassembled the bottom cross support in order to address the loose and broken joints. The table top was also taken off. This made it easier to fix the issues with the joints and the lifting veneers. The cross brace was originally held to the legs with just eyelets screwed to the braces. All four joints were loose; these joints were re-engineered to be supported by a wooded dowel glued into both the leg and the cross brace section.
There were also areas of loose and missing parquetry. The loose areas were flooded with hot animal glue and clamped. This process not only re-adhered the loose areas, but also reactivated the existing glue making it less likely to lift later on. The missing sections of parquetry needed to be re-fabricated. After carefully matching like species of wood, small lengths were cut to exact dimensions and glued together. Then slices were cut off much like one would cut a slice off a loaf of bread. These slices were then shaped to fit into the missing areas and glued into place.
The polished surface was rejuvenated and the new areas of parquetry were polished to match the surrounding areas. The original baize (a woolen or cotton fabric resembling felt) had tears along the folding joints of the table top, and the overall condition was somewhat deteriorated. The old baize was removed and the surface beneath was properly filled and leveled using gesso to make the new baize lay flat and smooth. The new fabric was cut to size and laid in place using the appropriate adhesive. Lastly, a protective coating of wax was applied.