The owner of this occasional table, Marita Sullivan, has always had an eye for unique things. When she recently remodeled her home, she was looking for intersting pieces. She purchased this table last year at auction, and after realizing that areas of inlay were missing, brought it to The Center.
The beautifully inlayed table with abalone shell, designed and crafted in the Asian style was in a poor state when it arrived at The Center. Much of the inlay was loose with many areas of loss, and four of the twelve decorative cross rails were missing. The marble top was also badly cracked.
The treatment for this table presented some unusual problems. Top among these problems was replacing the large lost sections of abalone inlay. Due to the curved nature of the shell, harvesting large flat sections to replace the loss areas of the table from a mostly curved natural shape of the shell was challenging.
Once the loose shell was secured and the surface of the table cleaned, rubbings were taken of the missing sections of abalone. These rubbings served as templates from which the new inlays could be fabricated from the shells and neatly fitted in their proper locations.
The next problem this table presented was replacing the missing decorative cross rails. This meant sourcing an appropriate wood, as a wood matching the color and grain structure of the original was not readily available. The replacement rails were fabricated from Cherry wood, as this most closely matched the original in grain structure.
Due to the very complex construction technique used to fabricate the table, the marble top could not be removed for proper treatment without completely disassembling the table. This treatment was thought too invasive, and the marble top was left in situ.
After the new cross rails had been shaped and fitted to the table, the rails needed abalone inlay to be placed and the raw wood colored to match the original components in both hue and luster. The cracks in the table were filled and toned to minimize their appearance. Lastly, the table was given a protective coat of wax. The table has since been returned to the owner and looks beautiful in her newly remodeled home.