This is a Georgian handrail in a grade 1 listed building situated in historic Queens Square, Bath.
Beginning of the process: stripping back the years of neglect to reveal the antique pine underneath. much care had to be taken with this as I was working against finished paintwork and over carpet, over five stories!
Slowly working my way down, under the watchful eye of the old fella!
And now from the bottom to the top, using an antique mahogany stain to begin to bring the handrail back to its original glory.
Stained and sealed with a shellac sealer, ready for French polishing
And, finished. The French polish was applied first using a fad, which is a piece of mutton cloth. Then, a rubber (rag and wadding) with special pale polish, pumice powder and linseed oil. Lastly, a spirit rubber to pull the polish flat.
for more pictures of this job and others like it, check out our gallery
This is an 18th century floor circa 1760 (we think) located in the main house on the Belmont Estate in North Somerset. As you can see, it had not been treated particularly well. At some point, this awful black hard wax and varnish had been applied to the boards, hiding the timber underneath...
These boards have been stripped by hand to retain the character of the wood, which is beautiful pine. It's painstaking and hard work, but I think the results speak for themselves. In the second picture you can see a small fraction of the horrible sludge I've taken off the boards.
At last! the floor is stripped and ready for stain.
Now it was time to put some life back into the floor. Originally the floor would have been stained with either rusty nails and vinegar (which would have given a grey effect), painted with lead paint, or stained with tobacco and ammonia, giving this kind of colour. Given the estates location (close to Bristol), the clients and myself thought the latter was more appropriate.
In this picture you see new boards, as some of the original had been damaged irreparably. To match these with the old I used a series of tricks to antiquate the boards, including using French polish mixed with various different colours to tie them in with the original Georgian floor boards.
Although from the opposite side, these are the same set of new boards. They have been stained with water stains, and then toned down with spirit colours mixed into the shellac.
AS seen in the picture, I had to do the floor in stages to accommodate the Bechstein grand piano! This is after being stained, new boards matched in and sealed with shellac.
Now applying the finish by hand, wax applied with wire wool and hand buffed with rag.
Close up of the finished floor. Here you can see the beautiful grain and patterns that were retained by hand stripping and not sanding.
Furniture back in, and looking like it should. A beautiful antique, pine, Georgian listed floor. Now, onto the dining room!!
This door was being done as a sample piece for a job. Here I'm midway through stripping, the top has been wire wooled, and the bottom is about to receive the same treatment. The client wanted the door to be very light, although if you look in the gallery and at a later blog, you'll see they changed their mind!
To get the door as light as possible, I used soda crystals and oxalic acid. First I applied soda mixed in boiling water to draw up the residual colour and dirt in the timber. Whilst the soda was still wet, I then applied the oxalic (also mixed in boiling water) which reacts with the soda and bleaches the wood
And this is the door ready to have some finish applied!
This is the next phase of the French polishing/lacquering process.
The door has now had a coat of shellac sealer applied with a mop, been flicked over with sandpaper, and then been bodied up with more shellac, this time using a fad (balled up mutton cloth) to apply it
And this is the finished sample door. Left side is finished in 50% lacquer, the right side in 90%. All hand finished, final coats being applied with a rubber
Engineers house is a period building on the Downs in Clifton, Bristol.
It has beautiful existing and original woodwork, but some panels had been water damaged and needed to be replaced.
In this picture I had stained part of the new panelling to match in with the existing. I also had to sand and colour the two part filler that had been put in by the painter (had I used this method I would have mixed pigment colour with the filler, as this proved tricky to colour)
In this picture you can see the panels stained, and the two part filler in the process of being coloured. The panels also require some coloured polish, and I had started to pick out damage to existing woodwork.