Wooden Panel Damage

Supports for oil paintings on damaged or warped wooden panels.

Cradles / Cradling

It's truly amazing to imagine how earlier generations of craftsmen were able to create such beautifully flat and elegant panels for artists to paint upon, with such limited resources, and relatively crude tools.

As an organic material, timber is vulnerable to the elements in quite specific ways. Both water and heat, can in their way be detrimental to a panels well being. Simple changes in room temperature can induce quite dramatic changes in the shape of a panel. It can bend or bow away from the rebate of the picture frame that holds it. It is literally the DNA memory of a thin, flat piece of wood, trying to return to its original ‘tree trunk configuration’. This stress is always inherent, and should the panel also split, perhaps through a natural ‘fault’ in the wood, or an accident, the problem of the bending phenomena is compounded.

A whole range of wooden cradles have been designed to be fixed and glued to the reverse of panel’s that have ‘warped,’ and, by degree, straighten, strengthen, and consolidate them back to their original flat plane. The cradle itself, is made up of interweaving slats of timber, matched sympathetically to the type of wood used for the original panel. The aim is to redistribute the tensions that are forcing the natural inclinations of the wood to bend. They are usually very successful.

Butterfly Wedges

When an oil painting panel has only split a small distance across its surface, small butterfly shaped pieces of wood can be unobtrusively spliced and glued into the back surface.

This reduces the stress and prevents the split developing further.          

The butterfly method is considerably cheaper than cradling, and can in certain circumstances be used to treat a panel that has completely split into two pieces. Obviously this procedure is not as strong or flexible as a cradle, and cannot be guaranteed to last quite as long.

After completing any consolidation, restoration to any damage to the actual painting, can then be addressed.


Canvas paintings that are glued to board

Quite often we receive paintings originally executed on a canvas, that for various reasons, have been removed from the stretcher, and glued to wooden supports, such as oak, plywood or hardboard panels. Some have been adhered together with glues easily removed with basic solvents. However, some have not. Commercially, professional galleries will request that the painting be re-attached to a canvas. We offer the highly skilled and delicate expertise to remove paintings from the most intractable glues, by sanding back the wooden support to the gesso base and transferring to a new canvas.

This is a highly skilled and time consuming process that definitely gives added value to certain 'premium paintings'.