I have been saving this brown frame since 1977 (the year my friends moved to California and I took up residence in their apartment).
It’s beautifully carved wood. At one time the corners had been gessoed.
After I removed the broken corners I realized that most of the gold leaf had worn off over the years.
Using my mother’s go-to technique for cleaning old wood, I used mineral spirits on a rag and began to wipe the surface dirt from the frame.
Aha! The gold leaf was still there, just covered by decades of DIRT. After just one layer of cleaning in the above photo there is a distinctive difference between the dirty frame (on the left) and the clean frame (on the right). After going over the entire frame about six times with mineral spirits and changing to clean rags, it began to look downright “Belle Époque”.
I knew I couldn’t repair the corners like new so I worked up a not-quite-perfect but close-enough-for jazz method with materials I have on hand.
I mixed gold Florentine wax (which had almost dried to a solid) with clear Bri-wax.
I rubbed this paste onto the corners with a latex-gloved finger.
After letting it dry a bit I buffed the corners and the entire frame with a soft cotton rag.
Et voila, a beautiful frame for a new project in the kitchen.
Lately I’ve been using a lot of old things that I’ve held onto for eons. How about you?