Spoon Rack Repair

Shreve-Spoon-Rack-b4-600x800This late 1600′s/early 1700′s spoon rack came into the shop for cosmetic work.  the piece is made from rift sawn white oak.  It has the gently dishing of a scrub plane on the back and rose head hand forged nails holding the casework together.   The case had received water damage and one of the “teeth” or separators in the upper spoon rack was missing.  Also the bottom right edge under the drawer was chipped and jagged.  The owner of the artifact wanted the water damage to be less noticeable, to install a separator in the upper spoon comb and to repair the broken bottom edge of the rack.

The water damage was sealed with conservation barrier coating made of an acrylic resin dissolved in xylene.  This finish was brushed on to “firm up” the loose fibers in the water damaged areas.  After the barrier coating dried, artist pigments were added to shellac and the areas were colored to make the damage appear less noticeable.

Pete made a new tooth for the upper spoon rack comb.  The client wanted to display her spoons and wanted a replacement divider installed.  Pete shaped a new piece, added color using shellac and artist pigments, and then glued the new divider in using hot hide glue.


As for repairing the broken edge on the bottom of the case, we could have used a plane and removed material until we had a flat surface to glue on a new wooden patch. Since removing original material was not an option, we repaired the broken edge using two part epoxy putty.


The broken edge was first brushed with hot hide glue to serve as release agent.  The hide glue ensures that the repair can be removed at a later date.  The two wooden cauls were installed on either side of the break and two part epoxy putty was pushed into the void to build up the edge.  Pete is shown shaping the edge using first a plane and then sandpaper.


The edge was faux finished to blend with the surrounding wood.


With edge repaired and the watermarks made to look better with conservation “make up”, the spoon rack is ready to go back to the owner to display her collection of early American table spoons.  This work is a good example of making a piece presentable without refinishing.