Wood Carving

From missing mouldings to bunches of grapes & everything in between

Melissa Ridpath – 16th January 2015

We had our walnut 4 poster bed shipped all the way from the US. It's been in our family since at least the 1850s and when it was unpacked, I nearly cried to see how much of the carving had been smashed off or was missing altogether. After Noah put it back together piece-by-piece and with patience, skill and care and I can't thank them enough.

Hand carving in our own workshop

Woodcarving is amongst the more artistic of restoration practices - which we carry out using a set of very old carving chisels that used to belong to my grandfather, along with many others gathered over decades.

Commonly carried out in lime, because of its almost grainless composition, we are practiced at replacing small and large areas of missing or damaged carving to anything from picture frames to paneled doors and can do so in any of a variety of timbers.

We do, of course, use the closest appropriate timber to match what we're restoring and as always, try to use old timber salvaged from other pieces of furniture that we've squirrelled away over the years.

The Wood Carving Process

The nature of the wood being carved limits the scope of the carver in that wood is not equally strong in all directions: it is an anisotropic material. It is best wherever possible to carve with the grain and so when planning a carving, it's always best to arrange the areas of it that are most delicate and likely to break to flow in line with the grain.

The two most common timbers used for carving are lime and tupelo, both of which are hardwoods with tight, bland grain making them easy to work. Chestnut, oak, walnut, mahogany and teak are most commonly to be found in furniture carvings, whilst the finest work is often to be carried out in maple, apple, pear, box, plum and sycamore. Carving that is going to be used as the base of a gilded frame is usually made from pine as it's soft and inexpensive and will be covered with gesso.

Workshop Opening Hours

PAYING US A VISIT TO DISCUSS A POTENTIAL RESTORATION PROJECT

If you want to pop-in to discuss a potential repair, rather than emailing with photos or telephoning, then please stick to weekdays as our restorers only work Monday to Friday and our general shop staff are not restoration experts.

DROPPING OFF FOR REPAIR OR COLLECTING COMPLETED ITEMS

If we've already given you an estimate for the repair or restoration of your furniture and asked you to bring it into the workshop, you can do so from our Islington workshop, 7 days a week, Monday - Saturday 10-6 and Sundays 11-5. Similarly, if we've completed the restoration and told you it's ready, you can also collect during these times, without appointment.

IMPORTANT - You can't leave items without our having already given you a price and scheduled your work, as our workshop has limited storage space - so please don't bring things in on spec and hope to be able to leave them. You'll get turned away and then be cross with us - and we don't want that ;)

Need a piece of missing or damaged carving repaired?

We can help - ask for a free estimate now!

Start off by emailing us some photos, as we can usually provide an estimate from them - and after that, if you would prefer to arrange for us to visit your home or office you can contact us;

Click below or send photos to • [email protected],

by 'phone on • +44 (0) 20 7359 4281,

or in person by visiting our workshop at • 121-122 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QP

Email Us

Still unsure?

Not sure if it's something we would restore?

Don't feel embarrassed to ask. If you're not sure what you've got, can't identify the wood, don't recognise the age or period -

don’t worry, that's our job, not yours and we're very good at it too! We're here to provide you with free, honest advice.

We'll tell you what it is, where it's from and whether or not it's worth restoring. We really can restore most things -

you'd be surprised at the state of things we've been able to rescue.

Click the Email Us button on the left for a free estimate or read more by clicking the button below.

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