We started the project by cleaning the the dirt and grime off of the old shellac finish, so that we could see what we were actually working with. The customer wanted to retain as much of the original finish as possible on the trunk. The shellac had coagulated over time and the cleaning process removed the thin areas. So what you see left is the thick areas.
We are actually the only company in California that has the permits to work on these historical finishes! So we were able to relax the old shellac and get it to spread out again which is what you see here. We then applied on top of the old finish, 3 layers of new orange shellac.
Now when the Chest came in, it had no legs or base supports of any kind. As a result of this, the 'baseboards' were sitting directly on the floor and had incurred some damage from rot. We added three 'legs' to the base and finished the entire base in a dark color which made it almost disappear when the Chest stands upright.
With the repairs done and the finish restored, we could not be happier with the final outcome of our work on this heirloom cedar chest. What a joy it is to be able to help a family retain a piece of their history. This chest is strong enough now that many more generations of this family will be able to enjoy it.