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Subject: Casting techniques for wooden carving

Casting techniques for wooden carving

From: Ian Fraser <ian.fraser727>
Date: Sunday, April 9, 2006
Frank Hassard <f.hassard [at] tiscali__co__uk> writes

>I am working on a reproduction Chippendale cabriole leg chair
>(c.1860) carved in mahogany. One of the ear-pieces to the top of the
>proper right side is missing. ...
>... I think it may be possible to cast a new one from one of the
>existing ear-pieces (and then tailor it to suit). However, I do not
>have much experience with such techniques. I understand that there
>are concerns with some of the epoxy systems regarding
>discolouration, texture etc. Could someone give me some advice on
>how to get the best results and which materials/techniques are
>presently favoured (and ethically acceptable)? ...

The best solution is to replace like with like in this instance.
Wood's durability is of course well known, and it will behave the
same way as the original material. If you do not have the
skill/capability/proficiency to carve the replacement I suggest that
you work on developing this skill. The result, in the end, will be
better, plus the time invested in developing the skill will pay
dividends in future projects. I can advise on wood bleaching and
colouring techniques that will mimic the faded mahogany appearance.

There are quite a number of good carving books around; check out
Taunton Press books (Fine Woodworking). The best thing is just to
try it, and from my personal experience the foremost tool in carving
is a sharp pencil. Next is to know how to sharpen the different
shape chisels. Drawing skills first, however!

Ian Fraser
Furniture Conservator
Leeds Museums and Galleries
Temple Newsam House
Leeds LS15 0AE

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:51
                  Distributed: Friday, April 21, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-51-012
Received on Sunday, 9 April, 2006

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