Restoration of the Abe Lincoln Enclosure at the Jackson Central Library

Restoration of the Abe Lincoln Enclosure at the Jackson Central Library

B&C Woodworks is proud to announce the completion of the Abe Lincoln restoration project for the Jackson Public Library. The project was complex and challenging, but we were able to restore the wood while maintaining its antique look.

The Abe Lincoln statue is a replica of a larger statue in Chicago. There are not that many replicas left and the Jackson Public Library is fortunate to have one of these replicas.

The pedestal was made in 1916 to feature the Lincoln statue. It is constructed with Circassian Walnut with a bookmatched veneer in the center part of the pedestal. The condition of the piece had unfortunately deteriorated over the years. The veneer was dry and had cracked in several places. The original shellac finish was faded. Due to constant sun exposure, the color had all but eroded on one side. There was also paint overspray that covered 2 sides of the pedestal. 

Unfortunately, an excessive use of wood polishing products were used. This had created a thick residue on the exterior of the wood, making the restoration even more of a challenge. 

Abe had little to no protection either. The stand did not have a top, leaving him open to being touched by people passing by.

We first cleaned surfaces with a mild soap solution, removing years of dirt, wax, and cleaning product residue. 

The bottom of the pedestal had suffered some damage. Due to its condition, we stripped the bottom to bare wood. 

Afterwards, we lightly sanded the old finish and applied a coat of boiled linseed oil as a preconditioner. 

The next step was the application of 3 different colored oil based stains. These stains were applied over 10 days to match the existing color. 

We let the stain dry for 30 days. 

Once the stain was dry, we began the process of sealing the wood. We started by sealing the entire pedestal with a clear no-wax shellac. Then, we mixed garnet shellac in alcohol to prepare the finishing coats. 

For the bottom portion and one side of the veneer, we applied gel stains to bring the color of the wood to a uniform tone. We used graining tools and dry brush techniques ensure everything was even. 

Additional shellac coats were applied every 3 days for 21 days. To create the glossy finish, we wet sanded between the last 3 coats with 600 grit sandpaper. 

To help keep Abe safe from the elements, we worked with another glass company to create an enclosure. We constructed the top of the enclosure from American Walnut. We replicated the trim details from the existing pedestal and milled the new walnut to fabricate the top enclosure above the glass. 

Lighting was then added on the underside of the top to accentuate the Lincoln statue. 



MLIVE was kind enough to feature our work in one of their articles on the Abe Restoration. Our work was even mentioned on JTV on the Bart Hawley Show! (B and C Woodworks is mentioned at the 5:54 minute mark.) 

We are proud to have worked on this project and we are grateful to the Jackson Public Library for their trust in our abilities. We hope to continue to serve the community in the future!


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