Restoring Antique Game Tables

MPF Conservation specializes in antique furniture restoration, furniture repair, antique upholstered furniture, and traditional woodworking.  This page documents game tables.

Game tables generally come in two configurations:

  • Tables that remain open and often have a lid to protect the surface;
  • Tables that fold against a wall, some with storage, some without, and swing or fold open, such as the McLoughlin House Caribbean Mahogany Pivoting Game Table shown right.

In all cases below, we perform the following details using traditional techniques as needed:

  • Disassemble as necessary
  • Inspect parts for viability
  • Clean all parts as needed
  • Repair / re-glue / amend broken parts
  • Replicate missing parts
  • CHOOSE Finish Method below:
  • Historic varnish is amended with several coats of pure shellac and rubbed to patina or French OR
  • Historically accurate varnish coating with combinations of gums, tree resins, oils, waxes and natural earth pigments is applied  OR
  • Historic painted finish is repaired and amended as needed

Before treatment, above, and after treatment, below.

Backgammon Table circa 1960

Our clients were a married couple, both Navy medical doctors, stationed in the Philippines. They played on a small board and saw this table at the PX. It traveled with them where ever they were stationed.

On one side was the backgammon board, and on the other a chess/checkers board, rarely used. We restored the backgammon board and conserved the finish on the wooden frame.

American Mahogany Game Table circa 1820

Before treatment (shattered base and legs), above, and after treatment, below.

American Mahogany Game Table circa 1820

The family’s sentimental historic Mahogany Game Table’s base was created from one solid plank (which the column set into) with two thinner strips of joined planking on either side. It was dropped by movers and shattered, shown above.


  • Much of the historic base was repaired, but for the two completely shattered feet, which were recreated from aged mahogany stock.
  • Fresh veneer was created to infill losses.
  • Finish was matched to the historic finish, and new finish, burn-ins and infill was performed.

Follow us on the MPF Conservation Blog to be informed of our documentation of this project when posted.  

Cracked base after repair and before cosmetic work (first image), cosmetic work shown below.

Caribbean Mahogany Pivoting Game Table circa 1830

The pivoting game table is part of the McLoughlin family collection and originally lived in the dining area. Because Game Tables are so unusual I am repeating it here!

Right, Mitchell during assessment.

To read more, visit this page:

In the Maryhill Museum: Queen Marie Collection there is a table and chairs that looks quite like a game table, shown right, though it is certainly not a game table one would want to sit at all night!

Additional tables (no game tables) can be found in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Caves National Monument, McLoughlin House, Maryhill Museum, and the Amasa B. Campbell House on our Institutional pages.

If you are interested in other wooden objects, see below: