Conserving an Anglo-Indian Teak Table – The Pierced Panels, Part 1



Several sections of the pierced grills that served as the infill panels on each of the table sections were missing, well, three to be exact.  The original panels were made of carved teak, but I went in a different direction.  This was due to a number of factors, not the least being I did not possess any suitable teak, combined with the reality that carving the replacements would have made the project too expensive for the client.  In the end we agreed for me to cut simple fretwork replacements from spanish cedar and finish them to be harmonious with the overall appearance of the table.

I prepared some blank panels of the spanish cedar, chosen because it was softer than the teak and its tonality was amenable to the finishing.  The softness of the wood was no particular benefit to me in my own work — I was sawing it by hand with a Knew Concepts saw outfitted with a 2/0 jewelers blade so it cut like butter — but was beneficial in that any failure due to new stresses would occur in the new wood (or the interface between the old and new) and would inflict no further harm to the original material.


Placing the prepared blanks behind the intact fretwork panels allowed me to trace the pattern of that panel onto the new plain replacement wood.


For the partial panels I followed the same procedure and merely grafted the new with the old.  I glued them together with 192 gws hot animal hide glue after first cleaning the gluing surface on the remaining original material with with a mild aqueous detergent solution followed by an acetone swabbing once that was dry.


En toto I had  one arched panel to replicate with only a small original portion extant, one square panel that was mostly present, and one that was mostly absent.  This one illustrated was not what I wanted as I misaligned the top of the new piece.  Since it had not yet been glued in place I just made another one that was correct.


I reasonably short order I had new material grafted to the old material in such a manner that there was visual compatibility.