Our Projects - Merklen Victorian Era Plant Stand with Barley Twist Uprights

This stand was manufactured by the Merklen Brothers of NYC between 1879 and 1897 a firm well know for their signature spiral furniture. This is a highly decorative Victorian era plant stand with splayed legs, finials on all levels, reverse rail on top shelf and bronzed ball and claw feet.  This unit was literally falling apart.  Glued together originaly with hide glue it had been stored in a damp basement and the glue had broken down.  The only structural breaks were the splayed legs.  They were all broken and had been very badly reaatched at some point.

Although it doesn't show it in the photo one good gust of wind would have left us with a pile of sticks.

Here we see the cast brass ball and claw feet.  The ball is actually a seperate piece made of wood and the only ones I've ever seen made this way.  In addition they were bronzed on the upper half.

All the parts layed out for stripping and reassembly.

The center upright was a double barley twist and the four outer corner uprights were each made from eight individual pieces.

Here we see the top shelf inverted on the table.  Note the decorative reverse rail.

The bottom shelf.

All the elements of the base of the stand.

The finish has been removed.

Here we have the top shelf stripped and steel wooled and awaiting minor repairs.

Reconstruction of the base.

Partial assembly of the uprights to the base.

All the uprights have now been reinstalled and await the top.

The top has been installed and now is clamped with a level to insure that it is level and true.

Fully assembled with one minor repair to be done to the top.

A crack along the glue joint is masked with painters tape and filled with a hard edge wax.

The crack has been filled with a dark mahogany edge wax.

The tape is removed.

The wax is buffed to level and smooth it out.

Finished repair to the crack.

The stand has been sprayed with vinyl sealer which provides some degree of water resistance but more importantly when sanded out provides a buttery smooth surface for the final finish.

The finished stand.

Just wanted to express Diane's & my gratitude and admiration for the wonderful restoration you recently did on our old chair.

- M. Roche