New girl says "hi," tries to restore treasure - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-03-2011, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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New girl says "hi," tries to restore treasure


I've just been given a large Vietnamese altar cabinet, and want to restore it in as authentic a manner as is feasible. It came from a minor temple in Ninh Binh, now razed. The last few years it's been sitting out in a garden.

Looked at the sticky and have requested a couple books from the library, but have no idea how to even start this. The lacquer on top is completely alligatored ... no hope of salvaging it. The body seems to be structurally OK. (The cabinet's in 3 parts, top, main and base.)

Will post some pics over the weekend but in the meantime, any advice on how to id Asian woods, etc or resources on Asian antiques would be much appreciated. Thanks for any pointers and suggestions!
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-03-2011, 07:21 AM
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Smile Old oriental cabinets

Reading your post reminded me of a project to repair old (1800s) items refinished & shipped to the US for resale. In many cases, doors, panels ,& even table tops, were split when I first saw them. In most if not all pieces, the splits were in large panels set in a frame that was intended to float (like a panel door). The refinish process had let enough finish ooze into the grooves of the panel that no movement was possible. Result was some spectacular cracking (Loud) due to shrinkage. I repaired several tables by inserting splines in these tables. I searched for wood to match & found that camphor, ipe, cherry, ash, to have similar grain lines to offer an acceptable match or contrast for the piece. Hope this helps. Just go slow & consider the craftsman who created the item! Send pixs when you can. Gayle
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-03-2011, 07:22 AM
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Pictures would be nice.

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post #4 of 7 Old 06-03-2011, 09:20 AM
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OH, wait a minute ............Yep!.............That's what he said!

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post #5 of 7 Old 06-03-2011, 10:16 AM
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Welcome. although pictures will me nice I doubt it makes it any easier for me to help. This one sounds like I will learn something also.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-03-2011, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the welcome; I'll get some pics up over the weekend, I promise! My accomplice has some experience with carpentry and I have nearly inexhaustible patience for fiddly projects, so that should help.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-04-2011, 05:14 AM
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Looking forward to seeing it. Welcome to WWT.
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asian antiques, lacquer

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