Full Chisel Blog

March 20, 2009

Warning, some modern tools were used…

in the restoration of this small Victorian Shelf.  I did after all have to make some plywood!  The fretwork in the sides of this shelf unit was damaged and originally made out of 3 pieces of one eight inch birch, laid in alternate layers making an overall finished thickness of 3/8″.


I selected a piece of white birch and crosscut a small piece the correct size, then ripped it into thirds.  Well they were too thick, so I planed them, it wasn’t pretty, then toothed the pieces to prepare them for hide glue.


I warned you.  I borrowed a few clamps from my neighbor and glued and clamped the pieces together.


The drawing shows what I need to make in terms of the lacuna in the original, I made extra.


This is the edge of the plywood that I needed for this restoration project.


I did use another neighbor’s scroll saw, yes a noisy power tool, just like how the original was made.  However I didn’t need to pierce any pieces as there was open access to every entry point.


Now this picture may make it all very clear.  I fit the missing piece in such a way as to remove the least amount of the original, and still make a substantial structural repair and when it is done not be visible.

I will glue it in place, fill any voids and finish with pigmented shellac.  I have a few other chips to repair before I do any finishing.  But I thought I would post this as it sits today.



  1. As the owner of the shelf piece, I (as always) amazed at your work. As a Charter Member of the All-Thumbs Club, I thank you, indeed. Sir George

    Comment by George Stapleford — March 20, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  2. Stephen,

    What do you use for pigment in your shellac?


    Comment by Ken Pollard — March 21, 2009 @ 8:36 am

  3. Sir George,

    My attempt to keep the owner’s name a secret, failed. And thank you for your comments.


    I use dry powdered pigments, most are traditional except I use black iron oxide instead of lamp black (too blue), I also exchange zinc oxide for white lead, then yellow ocher, Spanish brown (red iron oxide) and burnt umber. I seldom need green but I do have a wee bottle of Prussian Blue (ferro ferrocyanide), sounds bad but isn’t. I use this for that nice mantle blue and with yellow ocher for green. They are all finely powdered and they are available at any good pottery/ceramic supplier and they are dirt cheap. Oh wait, they are dirt.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — March 21, 2009 @ 10:32 am

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