For many years the decoratively-veneered demilune pier table, made in Baltimore about 1790, was displayed in the Billiard Room at the Winterthur Museum. At some point, however, while not on display, exposure to moisture caused its veneers to lift as much as one-half inch. This year the damaged table became a treatment project for Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC) Fellow Leila Sabouni, an objects major with a minor in wooden artifacts and three years’ experience in furniture conservation. The veneer-patterned top on the Winterthur table is arrayed like a fan, with blades made of red-colored mahogany, lunettes made of black walnut, and crossbanding along the edge made of once-bright yellow satinwood. Over the years the varnish has darkened and the veneers have dulled, but when new, the colorful table top would undoubtedly have caught the eye of passersby.
To re-adhere the veneer back into place, Leila injected hide glue between the veneer and mahogany substrate or, when possible, reactivated the original hide glue by injecting small amounts of water and warming the area. She then clamped the veneer pieces to the substrate after inserting a flat piece of warmed pink rubber over silicone release Mylar between the clamp and veneer. This protected the veneer and also helped to warm the glue. The curved crossbanding along the table’s edge was missing in many locations. Leila was able to cut new veneers from a satinwood board with a grain pattern similar to the original crossbanding.