Instructables

Antique Furniture Gingerbread Trim Repair with wood filler

Picture of Antique Furniture Gingerbread Trim Repair with wood filler
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This is a "quick tip" more than a "how to".   I was working on an antique tiger oak sideboard .  The customer only wanted me to make minor repairs, do touch up etc.  She wanted to keep it in as original shape as possible and had a very small budget .  One of the cabinet doors was missing a sizeable piece of decorative "gingerbread" trim.  It had a curving piece of oak missing and was quite noticable. 

What I used:

Card stock or stiff paper
Elmers wood filler
sandpaper
small sharp chisel
dremel
craft paint (oak wood colors)
laquer spray


Carving a delicate piece out of oak was out of the question for the time and budget available.  I had the idea to sculpt wood filler.  However, I didn't want to gob it on and needed to be neat so the surrounding area wasn't damaged etc.  I rolled up a cone from some stiff paper.  I filled the paper with a generous amount of Elmers wood filler.  I cut the tip off the cone and squeezed out the wood filler like frosting from a pastry cone.  After practicing on some scrap, I gave it a shot.  It gave me the diameter I needed and wasn't too messy.  I let it harden over nite and then carefully shaped it with a sharp chisel, dremel and sandpaper.  I used regular craft paint to try to match up the color.  The repair was top coated with some laquer spray.  Overall the effect was achieved and the customer was happy. 
You did a good job and the repair is hardly noticeable. How easy was it to shape the dried filler with the dremel tool? I have a few bits and pieces on my antique box collection that I’d like to restore, but I’m worried about damaging the wood as that would be hard to touch up properly.
Thanks for the kind words! Shaping the filler wasn't too difficult. My biggest concern was applying too much pressure and breaking the filler free from the surface and having to start over. Just go slowly, using the dremel a little at a time. Also try an emery board. It will work really well as it will let you sand in the tight areas. I've stolen a couple from my wife's vanity and they work great!

I have done another similar project recently. This project was missing sections of detail. However, on the other side of the piece were the same shapes. I pressed modeling clay against it to make an impression and then poured resin in the impression to make a duplicate piece of carving. Once the resin dried I peeled away the clay and painted the piece to match. It worked pretty well and I hope to do an Instructable on it soon.

If you decide to give the boxes a try with the filler please tack a photo on here to let us see how it goes. Thank! Clark