Wood Panelling Restoration – 1920s Country Manor, Sussex

Drastic restoration of sandblasted panelling

Vincent Reed was called to a 1920s Country Manor to save entrance hall oak panelling that had been sandblasted and crudely finished.

Sandblasting is a modern technique for removing layers of paint or varnish that can be disastrous for antique woodwork. Oak is particularly susceptible to damage from this method.

Rescuing heritage panelling

Oak is made up of hard wood on the grain and soft wood between the grain. When sandblasted the hard oak remains but the soft oak either side is ripped out. The result is a rough and churned piece of wood.

This is what Vincent Reed saw when he was asked to look at antique oak wood panelled walls that had been sandblasted to remove paint and varnish.  After sandblasting the antique panels had been finished with Danish oil that had made the rough grain swell up. The result – a sticky, horrible and dull mess. And probably one of the most distressing sights of Vincent’s professional career.

Vincent and his team first had to remove the new varnish and paint with a cabinet scrape. They then sanded it down gently with sanding blocks, and redid the profiles using shoulder and moulding plains.

The next part of the process was to resurface the wood; taking it back to a flat surface before building it up to a polished patina. The full process took eight weeks to complete. The final result restored the entrance hall to its former glory, a huge relief for the owners.