Restoration of a cabinet from the Wilhelminian period


Ash, just like oak, is a coarse-pored wood. In addition to shellac, oils or waxes can also be used to seal the surface. With the right oil, you can give the wood a wonderful natural character.
As a purely natural product, oil is not only environmentally friendly, but also feels very good on the wood and gives it a beautiful silky matt sheen.

Jamming doors and drawers - what to do?

The linen cupboard presented here from the early Wilhelminian period had a very badly battered lacquer surface when it came to us in the workshop. The cracked and brittle lacquer surface indicated that the lacquer had been applied on top of a previously existing surface sealing of oil or wax and thus could not "adhere" properly. In addition, a stain had probably been added to the varnish to give the ash wood a cherry colour.

The fittings of the cabinet were no longer original and also did not match the style of the piece of furniture. The drawers no longer ran "smoothly", the cupboard doors jammed and no longer closed well.

Overall, the cabinet looked worn and in need of restoration.


In consultation with the customer, we decided to say goodbye to the old varnish and the unnatural cherry wood colour.
Of course, it is okay to adapt the colour of wood to one's own preferences by staining it. But the colour used here seemed completely unnatural, and there were other pieces of ash furniture in the household that had not been changed in colour.

Lacquer or oil?

After all the fittings had been removed and the cabinet had been dismantled into its individual parts, the first step in the restoration was to remove the old varnish. If possible, we try to remove varnish with alcohol, brushes and fine steel wool. If this is not possible, sanding is necessary. This is also the case here. The smooth surfaces can be sanded with sandpaper, for carved elements the brass brush is used.
Inside, the surface is also sanded and prepared for oil application. (Sometimes drawers or shelves are lined with wallpaper or fabric. Depending on the customer's wishes, we can remove this or keep it and preserve it).

We then made the drawers common again. To do this, the worn undersides of the runners are first cut straight and replaced with fresh wood (in this case beech wood). The opposite side is also straightened and replaced if necessary.

We have turned the rosette fittings. Stylistically, these fittings fit into the Louis-Philippe era, but were also popular in the early Wilhelminian period.
We have copied the keys that are not available.

Oiling wood - what is the right way?

The oil to seal the surface is applied in three to four steps. We dilute the oil with alcohol to achieve a higher viscosity for the first oil application. This way, it penetrates deeper into the wood and the alcohol evaporates. For the following coats we use the oil undiluted.

The oil brings out the grain of the wood again. Now you can see again how carefully the carpenter worked about 150 years ago. The ash veneer was laid "mirrored". In the photos you can see that the beater strip acts as an axis of symmetry. To the left and right of it, the timbers are arranged almost in mirror image.


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We would also be happy to restore your antique piece of furniture!

Simply contact us via e-mail, SMS or WhatsApp. If you send us some photos of the object to be restored, we can usually give you the approximate restoration costs based on the pictures.

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