Special ‘Bronze Signature’ Restoration:
This set came to me from the collection of Chuck Grau, the well-known American collector/expert of Soviet and Russian chess sets.
The problem was a tackiness that covered the surface of both sides. For the black pieces this was remedied by removing a top layer of oil-based paint which had been placed over a layer of water-based paint, hence the stickiness. The finish was then replicated and aged to match the original patina of the pieces.
The light side was more tricky as we wanted to retain as much as possible the original condition of the pieces and make a few minor repairs along the way. In order to do this, I used a transparent fixative to rid the pieces of their tacky condition, applying several thin coats until the pieces felt playable. This resulted in a matte finish, which was then painstakingly restored using a mixture of clear shellac and various matte, satin, and high sheen varnishes in various combinations until the aged patina was brought back to life.
As mentioned, repairs were minimal. Some loose weights were secured, new pads added and antiqued, and some minor touch-ups were needed to the knight’s muzzles which had previously been repaired.
The project was completed over the Christmas holidays of 2022.
Check out Chuck Grau’s website, www.sovietchesssets.com for more info on these GM classics and much more to boot!