This small pedestal table took a bit of a beating, that’s for sure; along with three companion pieces and a few other front row pews at a mid-19th century church. Mean old Mr. Gravity decided to yank on a ceiling beam that had escaped his notice for over 150 years. The photo above is how the former table looked on site when all of the pieces that could be found were gathered together. It was taken to the Preservation by Design Studio in nearby Tecumseh for an initial evaluation.
After the process I will detail here and in Part 2, we had a happy end to this catastrophe, and the oval walnut table is back at its church, serving its purpose.
How We Got There
There are basically two parts to a pedestal table; the top assembly and the base assembly. This post covers the components of the top, and Part 2 will cover the base components.
As discussed elsewhere on this blog, parts have gone missing on this project, so this meets the definition of restorationwork. But one element of the piece, the top board that has delaminated along its original glue joints, is typical of repairwork, since nothing is missing or broken, it just needs cleaning and re-gluing. Its not uncommon for restoration jobs to have elements of repair.
The Apron Assembly
On this pedestal-style of table, the apron forms a supportive and decorative element in the overall composition. The apron frame perimeter is deeply molded, and four conforming pendant-drop appliques with light gouge work hang from the bottom edge. The thickness of the frame aids in keeping the top flat, and it provides (at two opposing rabbets milled into its bottom edge) a secure framework that the pine platen is attached to. It is the pine platen that unites the two major elements of the piece; each leg is doweled into it and the platen itself is secured to the bottom of the apron frame with 8 tenacious nails. Given its structural significance, restoring it to one solid piece and reattaching it to a repaired frame was Job One.
*Illustrated Catalogue of Jordan and Moriarty (New York) courtesy Columbia University Avery Library Trade Catalogs, Call No. AT2875 J76 1880
**Illustrated Catalogue of Chas. Hollander & Sons (Baltimore, Maryland), courtesy Winterthur Museum Library, Call No. NK2265 H73a