Repairing Marie Antoinette’s Desk

Repairing Marie Antoinette’s Desk

A women came to me with an interesting project recently. She had a Louie XIV writing desk that had once been in one of the homes of Maire Antoinette; how exciting!
Several of the knobs on the drawers had been broken and lost over time and needed to be replaced. To keep the integrity, and the value of the desk, the knobs had to be turned in the right wood, and had match the size and shape of the originals exactly.
Turning multiples of something and matching them all precisely requires a good eye for shape, and lots of concentration. The slightest wrong move at the lathe means a do-over. It is surprising how small and subtle the difference is between a good match and a bad match when it comes to shape. I made 5 knobs in all, and I am pleased with the job, and it was with somewhat a sense of historical awe that I did it; adding my effort to that of an unkown (to me) artisan from revolutionary France.

Here are some of the knobs all turned in Mahogany, stained and ready for lacquer.

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