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ANTIQUE FURNITURE RESTORATION DISCUSSION BOARD

Re: Repairing a cast plaster mirror frame

Posted By: James Schooley <furnitureissues@earthlink.net> (0-2pool241-249.nas2.sioux-city1.ia.us.da.qwest.net)
Date: 6/4/5 00:44

In Response To: Re: Repairing a cast plaster mirror frame (Greg Scholl)

Actually the cast plaster over wood, as is concerned here, is very common. We get them fairly often and I don't see anything else of this type frame. You can create a decent mold using materials found in a Van Dyke's catalog, vandyke's.com, for the entire job, I like the two part rubber mold material the best. I like to add some hair net material to the negative side of the mold for strength, and a little Pam will work as a release agent. Next I prep the damaged area by sanding off any loose material and adding a few small drill holes in the sub layers for the plaster to cling to when set. Next I make some nice stretches of the design mold and when fully cured, I gently saw the rough edges away and fit them together till I have a good run that covers the entire span of missing material, plaster of Paris is just fine for this and was traditional on these frames. Don't worry about little voids and chips, when all is done a plaster fill and some sanding and carving will hide all that. Next sand the back side of the positive mold sections to fit over the wood frame, leave some scrape lines. Now apply a bed of plaster of Paris on the frame where the new patch will set, having prefit the repair material and trimmed away any conflicting plaster on the original using a fine tooth razor saw like x-acto sells. Press the newly molded pieces into the plaster till they line up well and wipe away any excess plaster. Use a wetted artist brush to flow plaster into the voids and seams along the repair fit. Use tooth picks to wedge the repair up into place if needed, break these off later when all is set. Shape the wet plaster at the splice points to blend the two together, when dry you can cut and sand some more. If fresh chips should occur fill and sand as needed. Now you are ready to repaint, a raw umber glaze will help to give back some patina, and a clear coat of low sheen lacquer will keep the finish safe when cleaning and dusting. Or call a prow, this is tricky work as you can tell.

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