Stripping and Repairs



All components required stripping of paints and varnishes applied over the years.

Wooden Components

Separated pieces have been glued back. Stripping of central support wheel revealed numerous old repairs and damages. Some repairs were made with plaster or other traditional fill; some with synthetics (Bondo auto body filler). When repairs are complete this will be gessoed and water gilded.

The support wheel required hand stripping of remaining gesso. Once this was accomplished, wooden blocks were glued on. These will be carved to conform to the structure. Remaining losses will be repaired with a restoration quality synthetic (Abatron). Some will be inserted in screw holes which have become stripped out over the years.

Center support


Mystery Material

Mystery filler (probably Bondo)


Mystery Material

Mystery filler


Missing wood

Typical loss and various paint/fills


Missing wood


Wood Inserts

Wood blocks attached for carving.

Finally, gessoed and sanded.



Additional wood components have had gold paint removed. This now confirms that they were not water gilded originally, but new gesso and water gilding in select areas will be possible.




Metal components

Preliminary stripping of metal arm supports reveal white metal structure. There are remaining areas after stripping that have a gilt finish that does not respond to stripping (although the subsequent paint layers did).

While this gilt finish or plating did not disguise molding/finishing marks on the casting, it may have been felt that it would not make a difference given the distance from which the chandelier would be viewed.

The substance covering this has numerous losses, yet the remaining material is tenacious.



Stripped support


As additional components are stripped, clues are sought as to original surface treatment/gilding methods.

On the curved shield, the back side appears to have been silver gilt, in order to save expense on a side that would not be readily seen. The silver would have had a tinted shellac or varnish.

It is harder to determine whether there was a gesso layer under the gilding. On the curved shields it appears there was, but gesso was applied over the gilt finish on the support arm curves, yet not on the remainder of the support arm scroll work.


Silver remnants

gilt remnants

gilt remnants on shield


Once items were stripped, gesso applied where appropriate. Number of coats vary by item and material type, but it's a day when you don't get to do much of anything else that day.

Gesso being applied


Some metal components will be oil gilded. These are not gessoed, but will receive a painted base coat simulating the colors of bole, for example these bobeches (the bolts are being used to provide a means of handling these)

Painted bobeches


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Metal Components

Wood Components





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Last Update May 31, 2020