My wife's cousin's husband (I am living in the South where everybody is
related to everybody - give them time they will figure out how.:-) )
presented me with an oval frame that contained a plaster bas-relief of
Christ being taken down from the Cross. From the looks of it, I would
say it dated from the early 1900's
The good news is, he gave it to me. The bad news is, it needs a bit of
repair and he wants to see it when the repairs are completed.
The frame is black, with maybe a light coat of plaster over the wood and
a gold cove on the opening side of the frame. Good news is, it is in
pretty good condition. The bad news is, there are a few places where the
plaster has chipped off. How is the best way to go about doing a repair
I had originally thought the finish was "jappaned" but it may just be
black paint over the plaster. The same for the gold.
Bottom line, it is not an expensive frame, but I would like to do it
No clue on how to do it right... But I will offer free advice.
Unless you know it to be a dime-store piece of junk, always do it right.
You never know what you might ruin trying to restore or repair it if you do
...Like the guy who wire brushed off all the rust on an old metal piece of
art work I recently saw - along with all the light engraving that made it
valuable. Went from a $3000 piece to a $200 piece in half an hour... :(
FIRST, get a quickie appraisal -- e.g., Antiques Roadshow type. If it's
not worth significant money go ahead w/ the repair attempt. But, if it
_is_ worth money, either have a professional restorer do the work, or don't
do anything to it -- odds are high that casual repair attempts will greatily
diminish the value.
That said, 'it depends' on what the places are that are chipped off.
repair material is going to be patching plaster, or plaster of paris,
depending on which is closer to whats already there.
For simple areas, just carefully fill to match the surrounding area.
For more complex areas, one takes mold of a 'similar' area, and uses that
to form the cavity fill, in place.
Existing surface treatment is almost sure to be simple enamel paint, see
the scale models section of any decent hobby store for a wide selection
This is an art to do this - people repair opera houses and movie houses
by fixing plaster.....
See if you can make a form that matches the shape with the breakout.
Once it fits tight - it is a task unless you have access to an end relief
Make a thick batch of plaster - creamy and firm. Then with the form -
load up a glob just before the chop out and slide the form over the glob
and move it across and into the hole. It might take several passes and
the last one or two will become hard to move - it is drying out.
If you are in a big city, there might be a plaster professional that does
period rooms and such - he could do it or give instruction.
I saw this done on one of the DYI shows. Check out their website.
Might have been it on another show.
Dr. Deb wrote:
Depends on the size of the chips. If large, the suggestions fo making a
mold would be apropos. If just tiny-small chips I'd use drywall mud on my
finger to overfill slightly. When dry, use a small, damp but not wet sponge
to smooth down to the same level as surrounding areas. When painted, the
repair will be invisible and as permanent as if you used plaster.
I seriously doubt it is jappaned. Even if so, doing it is probably beyond
what you would want to do. I'd use a black acrylic artist type paint and a
small, fine brush but any black paint of the correct density and sheen would
do. If the areas to be painted are small, stippling it on with the point of
the brush will give you more control than "painting" it on.
The gold could be gold leaf but I doubt that too. There are, of course,
gilt paints...problem is getting the right color. There are also waxes -
sold by framing supply places - in many colors. They are used to hide nail
holes, imperfectly joined miters, dings, etc. The advantage of the waxes is
that they can be easily removed with naptha (lighter fluid) if not right;
multiple colors can also be blended together. Apply with finger or swab
(cloth around toothpick), use a swab to remove "over spray".
There may well be a coat of varnish over all on the original.
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