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Wooden bench repairs at London museum

Events quite literally took a ‘turn’ for the worse for a shop-fitting contractor working inside one of London’s landmark sites when a number of new hardwood benches it had fitted began to warp and split due to the tightly controlled humidity levels maintained in the building. Plastic Surgeon was on hand, however, to affect a series of colour matched repairs; carried out during a single overnight access.

WFC is a vastly experienced interiors refurbishment and fit out specialist, undertaking a complex contract within two galleries to one of the capital’s museums. While the project as a whole had gone very smoothly, and was moving into its final phases in the spring of this year, the discovery of the movement in the seasoned oak posed serious logistical problems.

Having employed Plastic Surgeon on a number of previous sites to deal with the snagging issues which inevitably arise on any construction job, WFC’s project manager viewed calling the repair specialist to address the issues as the most effective answer.

With the scope of the intervention agreed, four of Plastic Surgeon’s Finishers were allowed into the museum after it closed at to the public at 6-00 pm, and worked through till after midnight.

While the thinner of the cracks were dealt with by regulating the width of the gap with a modelling knife, then filling them with a special wax, the larger ones – opening up to 5 mm wide – were levelled using Plastic Surgeon’s two-pack fillers. Smoothed back to a smooth profile and with the wood grain painted back to conceal the repairs, the surfaces were then given two coats of lacquer to protect them.

Director of WFC, Mr Phil Waggett, commented saying: “While we always purchase conditioned oak for our projects, the internal atmosphere in the museum is unusually dry and caused some movement after we installed the bench seating. We have employed Plastic Surgeon on a number of sites, including Birmingham University, and felt the company’s finishers were best equipped to solve this problem.

Plastic Surgeon has materials and techniques which are not available to us, and can actually enable a repair to be carried out where replacement would otherwise be the only option. The standard of workmanship as well as service is very high.”

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