OldTools Archive

Recent Bios FAQ

275618 Paul Gardner <yoyopg@g...> 2022‑05‑20 Re: Wood ID help needed
I'm back, and as Bill K. remarked off-list to me - I've got a lot of
"splainin to do".

per Bill G.
>I have an Italian piece I inherited from my grandmother. To me it looks to
be a white oak and it looks just like your first >picture. However, it has
been bleached w/ oxalic acid. Could your top also have been bleached before

Not sure if it was given an oxalic acid bath at some point but the show
surfaces were definitely given a gel stain treatment at some point in its
life.  It actually scrapes off fairly easily, as I'll show with a picture

Frank offers up a multitude of advice and questions:

>Can the original poster please tell us more about what the piece is?  A
table was mentioned... what size?  Dinner table >type or occasional table?
How THICK is the wood of the top?  .....  Is this a 4 legged table or a
pedestal style?  Maybe >a pix of the piece, complete, would answer these

>Italian furniture for the middle class in the 20's to 40's was pretty
ornate... and mostly made from Walnut.  Think lots of >rounded surfaces and
lots of moulding work in the structure....

The top (which is the only issue I'll be addressing) is basic frame and
panel construction with the panels offset so that they are flush with the
surface. 29.5" x 51".  At some point the panels broke (most likely due to
wood movement) because they were glued on all sides.  The glue is hide glue
which is fortunate for me.  Frank's commentary on the ornateness of Italian
middle class furniture seems entirely in line with this piece.  Obviously
not made by top notch craftsmen but definitely made in a style that aspires
to be more than it is.  The feet were added by my parents as they were
banging their knees on the aprons trying to scooch their chairs in.


Here is the top showing the extent of the damage.  On the left you can see
where (my theory) the glue joint of the panel overcame and separated both
the grain of the stile as well as the panel.  I assume there is a piece
that has been fished out but I haven't done careful measurements and I
won't know for sure until I get it apart.


here is the underside, I can definitely imagine this being given some sort
of treatment in the past but spared the more extreme coloring of the top:


Per Claudio's request, here is a shot of the limited engrain options
visible on the piece after a quick scraping with a razorblade.


With the benefit of these recent photos, I think we can safely rule out
mahogany and possibly rule in some walnut species?

Many thanks to Don, Scott, and Richard for their excellent finishing advice
and to Frank for all the information as well as his wisdom concerning
moving forward with the restoration.  All very valuable.

Hopefully somewhere in my updates will be the hidden clue as to a positive
ID, but I have taken the advice of "good enough" to heart.  Many thanks.

-Paul, back in SF

On Thu, May 19, 2022 at 10:39 AM Frank Filippone 

Recent Bios FAQ