In a previous post, I mentioned an Art Nouveau cabinet which I had bought and whose base was riddled with woodworm.
At the time I thought it was beyond economic repair. However, I decided that I had little to lose by stripping it down to get a better idea of the extent of the damage.
Prising off the plywood base, I found some mitred soft wood that was heavily damaged by woodworm (but no evidence of live larvae), with thicker laminate ply above. So the base was a sandwich of thicker ply upper, mitred soft wood, and a thin ply underside. I removed all of that, carefully peeling away the silk backing that was glued to the top of the base.
Once that was away, I could see that the hardwood of the cabinet itself was free of woodworm, as were the legs.
With hindsight, I think I could have left the thicker ply upper base and replaced the mitred soft wood and lower base panel, but it’s way too late for that now.
The edging strip to the front was sound, and very secure, so I decided to try to save that if I could. The side ones are a bit beat up, with heavy woodworm damage to one of them, but I think it is better to keep these rather than trying to fit a new strip, which would have to be mitred and stained to match. I might be able to sculpt the missing bit with wood filler. Fortunately it is on the back edge so will be less visible.
Unfortunately I damaged the back whilst removing the base, so cut that back flush. I don’t think it is going to matter too much as you won’t be able to see it when it’s against the wall. If it is an issue, then I can always make a repair strip.
Next job was to cut off the captive screws that had held the base and cabinet sides together, remove any old nails, and generally tidy it up.
For the new base, I decided to go with 18mm MDF which I used a Rosewood wood stain on. Dark Walnut would have been better, but I had the Rosewood anyway and decided to save money by using what I had. It’s not like anyone is going to see it anyway, as the only part of the base that will be visible is the underside which will be in shadow.
Don’t worry about the overspill of wood stain on the edges of the wood on this photo – I sanded that back and then applied another layer.
That’s as far as I have got so far. I intend to use dowel joints to attach the front edge bar to the MDF, and will glue & screw the legs to the MDF base. Once that is dry, I then plan to glue, screw, and dowel the base to the cabinet itself. I’ll also need to use some contact adhesive to re-attach the silk lining to the base.
Bear in mind that I have never done anything like this before, so I might be going about it all the wrong way and a solid base might be the wrong approach. We shall see!