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The goal of this project is to use cross-section microscopy analysis techniques to identify the finish histories on six different areas of the canopy and frame, as well as one knee and one hairy paw foot. This analysis will help to identify the original finish, as well as identify later coatings applied to re-saturate or alter the aged finishes.
 

Procedures  

Six wood samples with darkened finishes were provided from six different, representative areas of the bed.  All the samples included wood fibers to ensure that the complete finish stratigraphies remained intact.The samples were first examined at 30X magnification and small portions of each were removed with a scalpel and cast into polyester resin cubes for permanent mounting. The cubes were ground and polished for cross-section microscopy analysis and photography. The sample preparation methods and analytical procedures are described in the reference section of this report.
 
The cast samples were analyzed and photographed using a Nikon Eclipse 80i epifluorescence microscope equipped with an EXFO X-Cite 120 Fluorescence Illumination System fiberoptic halogen light source and a polarizing light base using SPOT Advanced software (v. 4.6) for digital image capture and Adobe Photoshop CS for digital image management. Digital images of the best representative cross-sections are included in this report. 
 
Please note that the colors in the digital images are affected by the variability of color capture and color printing.

Cross-section Microscopy Results 

The comparative finish evidence in all six samples can be best interpreted using the reflected ultraviolet (UV) light images. In these UV photomicrographs it is possible to discriminate between shellac coatings which typically autofluoresce light to bright orange, from natural plant resin varnish coatings which typically autofluoresce white to pale yellow, depending on age and oil content.Aged, oxidized shellac coatings often have a paler orange autofluorescence at the surface of the layers,and may exhibit a recognizable, regular, cracking pattern (sometimes described as “bricking”).
 
Wax layers do not fluoresce, and synthetic resin coatings often have a smooth appearance and a recognizable pale lavender or blue autofluoresence color.
 
The evidence in each of the six samples is described and illustrated in the following sections of the report.