Decorative Finishing Papers
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher
I don't know about you but even as a very small child I can remember being
mesmerized with small wooden boxes of various sizes and shapes and wondering
what in the world was in them. And, that fascination is still as strong as ever to open the box to
see what treasures lie within. So, needless to say I own many boxes and have made and
given many as presents over the years using various veneers, exotics and whatever scraps were
lying around. I would simply glue the entire box together and then make a cut on the
to create the top which would be a perfect fit. Then I would add the hardware making any
necessary adjustments and then finish it out.
Victorian Sewing Box circa 1880 lined with tissue paper
Some of the boxes I saw were lined with cloth but the boxes that were made
in the 18th and 19th centuries were mostly lined with decorative papers that can be found at local art
supply stores. Using
I tried various types of cloth to line with but this proved to be
cumbersome and messy. At first I would cut the pieces into sections and try to make them fit in the box
while gluing but this led to much frustration because the glue was getting everywhere. And
it was because of this that I tried good old white Elmers glue and once again, a big mess.
So out of frustration I dipped my brush into some warm water and just smeared the glue in
all directions and I even coated the exposed paper with glue to even the mess out and left
for the day.
On my return the next day the box was the last thing I wanted to look at but I did
and what a surprise! Good ol' Elmers with a bit of water mixed in dried crystal clear. All of the paper was flat and all in
all it looked just great. From then on I would quickly cover the interior with Elmers, place the
pre-cuts in the box, use the same brush to push it all down and then coat the entire surface
with Elmers and a little water making sure all of the pieces were flat and secure.
Decorative papers that are softer and layered work best. And as always, practice on scrap first.
to visit the Highland Woodworking Finishing Department
Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at
. You can also visit Alan's website by
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June 6, 2018
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June 9-10, 2018
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