Sometimes we are granted the delight of working on very rare and expensive antiques. This is a 1890 Swiss Music Box. Because of the historic and value of the object, the treatment protocol was a strict conservation. All treatment was documented and reversible to maintain its value.
The objects European Elm Burl wood had lost its luster, there were structural cracks in the veneer, and the hardware looked worn.
This was a substrate crack that affected the veneer structure.
All of the ebonized areas were worn and had some minor damage.
A Smithsonian Institution solvent was applied by hand to the cracks to disguise them.
Soft edging sticks were used on the worn Ebony edges to bring back color.
The Smithsonian Institution solvent was applied to the discolored Ebony to revive the sheen. The legs were then paste waxed to even out the luster.
The brass hardware was cleaned and shined with Jeweler’s Rouge.
We have accomplished craftsmen who are expert in the 500 year old tradition of French Polishing fine antiques. This photo shows the initial process of “filling the pores” of the wood until it is glass smooth.
The process of French Polish entails rubbing in hundreds of thin coats of shellac to an ultra high sheen until the top of the furniture is so smooth it is reflective.