Damaged Frames - Remoulding and Restoration
Every antique frame we restore has decoration. They are each unique and have ornate features and complex surfaces.
When a frame is damaged, it is natural to believe that broken or missing decoration can’t be replaced. However, we regularly re-mould such areas that have been lost. The objective in doing so is to achieve a seamless integration between the antique frame and the new moulding, so that it is impossible to notice any damage.
When a frame arrives, we make an assessment of the missing areas, the material of the frame and its distinctive decoration. The majority of the frames we work with are made from wood.
To properly replicate the pattern of the frame, a putty mixture (commonly epoxy putty), is created and applied to an intact area of the frame with similar decoration to the lost area.
Once this has properly set, another mixture comprising casting powder and water is made.
This is then left overnight. During the testing phase of re-moulding, the casting powder mix can be removed when it is more pliable to create a different shape.
A suitable and correct mould will share the specific characteristics of the existing frame, replicating the dimensions, surface patterns and complex features.
Once the mould has been created, it is ready to be set. Conservation standard glue is applied to the area where it will be affixed – hatched marks grooved into the new mould and existing frame offer extra sticking power.
If any hairline cracks are present at the join, filler can be applied where necessary.
The newly moulded section will then be matched accordingly in colour to the frame. In some cases this will require re-gilding, for other frames gilding cream or conservation paints will ensure a uniform finish.
After the remoulding and restoration is complete, the artwork can be enjoyed once again knowing that the frame can complement the painting both structurally and aesthetically.