Sonia contacted Joy, our Bossy Fairy as she was looking for a dining table and chairs. Like most of our customers, it was necessary to communicate by phone and email as Sonia lives too far away from our workshops. Having discussed tables at length, Joy sent Sonia a range of photos; in one of the photos taken in our workshops, Sonia spotted another table in the background and told Joy, 'Oh my god, I need that table in my life! We had been quietly accumulating antique French Henri II -style walnut tables for some time, with a view to restoring them. However, due to our workload, our Practical Fairy hadn't got round to starting on one...
Numerous discussions then took place over a period of time over the choice of chair style. This was finally narrowed down to Admiralty flute-legged dining chairs - fortunately, we had a set of these in stock awaiting refinishing. Next, Joy suggested a number of different upholstery fabrics and Sonia chose Azima Small Medallion Geometric Brown Silver Shine. With this settled, talks moved on to the table...
With the choice settled, we started restoration on the table. We imagine that these tables have stood in storage unused for many years before making their way onto the UK antique market. If they ever had dedicated loose leaves, they lost them a long time ago. We've been told that they may never have had them and that the French used rough boards instead, covering all with cloths. Woodworm visited at some point (we understand that the French have a more casual attitude towards it.) We had examined our tables on arrival at our workshops and concluded that the woodworm was long gone. However, for peace of mind, we treated all the tables - this includes injecting solution into every exit hole with a syringe. We took the table frame apart and re-glued all joints, replacing and reinforcing some components where necessary. For Sonia's table, we decided we could supply a more authentic result by making loose leaves from the top of another antique French table (rather than making new walnut leaves) since we had another that was virtually identical in width. Sonia did not want the table's castors, so we removed these. As the table would then have been too low, we added appropriate bun feet.
We used walnut filler to repair visible damage to the tops and leaves, then sanded these back before applying 3 sprayed coats of water-based satin varnish.
The table frame and the chairs received a multi-coat paint finish as follows:
- Thorough preparation
- professionally spray painted
- two coats shellac based primer
- one coat water based acrylic resin undercoat
- three coats water based acrylic satin in Skimming Stone
- one coat water based matt varnish.
Once painting of the chairs was complete, Joy reupholstered them in the chosen fabric. We were pleased that our courier managed to deliver the set to Sonia before Christmas!
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