Case Studies

Projects worth showing off
Monday, 13 October 2014 21:05

Reglazing a veneer frame with a gold slip

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This is a project that often appears with our customers: a picture with broken glass. It may well happen during moving home or possibly during decorating or maybe just time has had too much of a negative effect on the picture wire. In other words the wire snapped and the picture fell off the wall! I really like doing these projects as there is a real chance to use acid free or conservation methods and products to help preserve the picture for generations to come.

Note the wire and how it has snapped. This is often because of the pressure on one point of the wire on the wall hook. The other concern is also what was below the picture frame when the wire snapped such as furniture or in one unfortunate customer's case, herself! Fortunately it just missed her when it crashed down. 

The glass will more than likely break into several pieces at the point where the frame hit something solid. 

It is also interesting to see vertical brown lines on this print which are burn marks from air bombardment. The brown lines appear where there are gaps in older wooden backings as can be seen in the first photo. 

Care must be taken when transporting the picture frame with broken glass pieces in it as these pieces can easily damage the picture inside. It is best to keep the picture frame horizontal during transit so the glass does not slide about and scratch the surface of the picture any more than may have already happened. 

Once the glass has been removed the gold slip will require attention where the broken glass has chipped the plaster covered in gold leaf from the wooden profile. 

Next all the loose old backing paper needs to be removed from the frame so the new backing paper will have a clean surface to adhere to. 

This may reveal more than you bargained for, in this case woodworm. The holes are old and thankfully the woodworm have well and truly flown. However it may be a sign that woodworm could well be present near to where the frame was hanging. Check your wooden furniture for small holes or dust below the holes for newer "guests".

Next the veneer surface can be gently cleaned with warm soapy water. This will remove most dirt and grime such as cigarette or chimney smoke. The veneer will need to be re-polished to regain its original glossy look. 

Once a new piece of glass is cut to fit the frame, the picture can be re-fitted into the old frame. Here a new acid free backing was chosen and the old wooden slat backing discarded. However we could have fitted the old backing on top of the new acid free backing to maintain the provenance of the picture whilst protecting the back of the print with the new acid free backing. Note the use of circular felt pads or bumpers, on the bottom corners of the frame to keep a small distance from the wall so that air can flow around the picture and keep a slight distance from any possible dampness in the wall. 

The picture is now ready to return to its original hanging place.