material to repair wooden embellishment on chairs

lazydaisynotFebruary 5, 2013

I made a stupid Craigslist error, purchasing a pair of chairs without asking for detailed information about damage. Turns out these lovely old walnut (?) chairs have damage to the carved embellished detailing. I will need to recreate portions of two of them: floral/leaf designs, about 1 x 2 inches in size and projecting perhaps 1/4 inch. I'll be making the floral part only, not an entire rectangle. My plan is to use paint and/or stains to make the piece match the existing wood and glue it on. I certainly can't carve it out of wood. I'm assuming some sort of moldable, hard-drying clay-like material would be best. Any suggestions regarding which material would be best for this purpose? The color doesn't matter. Thank you for any suggestions you may have.

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This would probably work for you :

Here is a link that might be useful: Smooth On site

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:19PM
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Thank you for the idea, ingeorgia. I will need to make several small pieces, I think, shaped with my fingers and small tools. I'll investigate this option more to see whether it would work.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:24PM
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That sounds like neat stuff if you can find it. If not, I would think that most filler would work; you can get wood fillers in wood colour too. Or, if you want to make the pieces off the chairs and then glue them on, maybe polymer clay?

Are there intact carvings that you can make a mold from?

You're pretty intrepid to take this on!

Karin L

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:57PM
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Thank you very much for the ideas, Karin.

We ended up finding a different solution. Each of the two chairs had a different area of damage to the embellishments. We removed an embellishment from one chair and cut it (with a utility knife) to get the missing piece to drop into the other one. It worked nicely. These are really pretty chairs, but I think the seller was intentionally tricky in her listing. But now repaired with glue and tightened up, oiled, seat reupholstered and with the detail restored, we now have one great chair. We haven't decided yet what to do with the other one, which is a matching but very small and low rocker.

Thanks to both of you for your input!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:14AM
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I would make a silicone mold of the pieces you need, taken from the opposite side of the design The product can be bought at Michaels or any craft store. When the mold has solidified, you would use plaster or a resin or replicate what you need.

You might need to do a little sanding to get the right size, but all in all, using a mold would be much easier than trying to free-hand the design.

Here's a video that might be useful.

Here is a link that might be useful: video

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:38PM
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Another product that's got good reviews/results and would work for both large and small jobs is Abatron. I'll add the link.
Best of luck,

Here is a link that might be useful: Abatron website

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:04PM
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