Wooden Objects

Advice on condition and the conservation of historic wooden artefacts, timber panelling and other carved architectural elements. Our services include remedial conservation treatments, cleaning, pest eradication and protective coatings.

Wooden objects are found in a variety of guises in the historic environment. Some are fixed in-situ, for example: timber panelling or flooring in an historic house; others may be regarded as moveable, for example: statuary, monuments and other carved objects.

Some wooden objects are decorated with layers of gesso underlying a painted or gilded surface.

Wood is a natural organic material and is susceptible to deterioration due to variety of causes, particularly fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity. Dry air will cause timber to shrink and conversely moist air will cause timbers to swell. When moisture levels fluctuate, timbers are continually expanding and contracting causing the wood to crack and split, forcing off veneers and causing joints to fail. If the surface is decorated, layers of gesso, paint and gilding can crack and flake off from the surface.

Exposure to light: light and the ultra-violet radiation in daylight causes fading and colour changes on wooden surfaces and this type of damage is both cumulative and irreversible.

Insect pests: there are many different species of wood-boring insects that attack both softwoods and hardwoods. Damp conditions and the presence of mould growth can influence an object’s susceptibility to insect attack.

Lincoln Conservation’s understanding of the environment can address many of these issues, but we are also able to offer advice on remedial treatments after damage has occurred, particularly:

  • Conservation cleaning techniques
  • Insect pest eradication (usually by freezing techniques or advising on alternative treatments)
  • Consolidation of friable and crumbling surfaces to retain as much of the historic material as possible
  • Stain removal
  • Application of gesso and other suitable ground layers prior to repainting and/or re-gilding
  • Application of suitable protective coatings if appropriate
  • Advise on security; we have experience in “fixing” moveable objects to make them less susceptible to theft
  • Advice regarding on-going preventive conservation to minimise the risk of further decay.