Two Mason Monterey Wood Boxes + Replicas

Two historic Mason Monterey Wood boxes were conserved by MPF Conservation. MPFC recommended they be moved to the Museum Collection instead of being used used again in the Chateau lobby at the Oregon Caves NM (NPS).

After a good deal of research and discussions with various collectors and resellers, MPFC concluded these functional decorative wood boxes are quite rare. Of course, they do not have to be used as wood boxes, but can be used as toy boxes or as a place to store shoes by the front door.

Above, the historic Straw Yellow Floral Woodbox. Below, the historic Straw Ivory Floral Woodbox;
note the different patterns and the buildup of smokey color.

This Straw Ivory Wood Box had a split seat, which we repaired before it went into the Museum Collection.

One wood box was to be replicated for use back on the floor. Try as we might, we did not find the formula to craquelure the oil paint before this was created. So we recreated it through another technique. (MPFC has now discovered Mason’s craquelure technique.)

Patterns were taken of both wood boxes, and replicas were cut and built (not shown)

A thin base coat of straw ivory was applied, above, then we troweled the texture onto the surface of the new wood boxes in order to create texture.

After the base coat cured, the decorative floral pattern and squiggles were applied, with drying time between three applications of color, shown above and below. MPFC determined the Mason Monterey patterns were sometimes created using fingertips (finger-painting), so we did the same.

The top glaze was applied.

For some reason almost all our digital images came out leaning orange, however, in actual time the color was not orange at all.

The one below does not appear quite as orange. The replicate box color, right, is very close to the tone of the historic box on the left, and of course looked very much like the historic box appeared when new. As the new box weathers several decades next to the large fireplace at the Chateau it is likely you will see wood grain and other anomalies that create the patina.

MPFC was contracted for one new wood box, but made a Straw Yellow Wood Box for ourselves (left) which will eventually be donated to the NPS as a gift, and has made a couple more for clients who wanted one.

Ours sits in our entry and is used for changing from street shoes to studio shoes.