Sunday, June 25, 2017

Beautiful Buffet

   If you have ever read this blog then you probably have the impression that I love Mid-Century Mahogany furniture, and you would be spot on.  It is so pretty and elegant.  It can always be given a modern twist with accessories and I think the pieces are far more beautiful when they have not been painted.  In order to paint it properly, there are also extra steps that need to be taken so unless I am doing  custom work, refinishing is always my choice for mahogany.
    This buffet had some damage and was in need
a good cleaning.
    After the buffet was cleaned and sanded, I applied Minwax Polyshades.
I used several coats of Minwax fast drying Polyurathane for extra protection.
The handles needed some cleaning up also but I try not to remove all of the patina.  I am really not interested in making these pieces look new.  I want them to look good, but not erase their history. 
    This beauty is on hold and pending

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Blue and white bench

   Ok another before picture fail.  But can we talk...microfiber?  How about beige microfiber?  Honestly, I really don't like the stuff.  I don't like the way it feels, spots and collects hair...eeek.  This bench was well made and just needed an update.  I love the combo of the white and blue fabric with the european feedsack fabric❤
    Of course all re-upholstery, or what I refer to as "expensive wrestling matches" with large pieces of furniture, begin with the requisite removal of about 3 billion staples.  I also removed the legs, sanded, chalk painted and waxed them.  All of the padding and foam was in great shape and re-usable.  The frame was nice sturdy wood.  I used the pretty blue and white fabric on the arms and apron.  I backed the fabric on the arms with a heavier canvas type material for re-enforcement.  The feed sack fabric is 60-100 year old european handwoven fabric.  I love the look and feel of this!  One of the challenges on this piece getting the fabric folded nicely on the arms.  I covered button blanks with the blue and white fabric and sewed them on with waxed upholstery thread.  I wish I had done a couple of things differently, but over all I am happy with it.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Piece I almost passed up

    I did not get any before pictures of this nice piece...again.  I nearly passed it by.  Usually pieces that are similar to this are not made of wood and not very well made.  This is nicer, made of wood and quite a bit heavier than I expected.  The finish was a bit worn and the knob was a dated white floral porcelain knob.  I wanted to give this a more stately,  distinguished look.  The finish was freshened up with Minwax Polyshades in my favorite mahogany of course!  Two coats of a top coat for protection and a new knob and this piece is ready for a new home.  This could be used as a telephone stand, an entry way piece, with a lamp and a basket for your keys, or a table to hold a special statue, or even your silver tea set!  This will be at the cabin tomorrow!

Friday, May 26, 2017

New Look for a Rocking Chair

    As the summer gets busier I seem to get worse at taking before pictures.  This is a platform rocker, some people call it a cricket rocker.  It was most likely made by a company in Indiana, named Tell City Chair Company.  The company went through a couple of name and location changes, but remained in the same area which was actually named after the company eventually.  It closed its doors in 2011, after 147 years.  This particular type of chair was made from the 1940's to the 70's.  Many people remember having them in their homes, but the fabrics and colors used would not be popular these days.
    This chair had been painted green, while its original state would have been a clear finish over the maple wood.  I wanted a brighter finish, so after stripping, painted it white with a matte finish over it.  I covered new cushions with this handwoven European grain sack fabric.  It is an oatmeal like color with two aubergine stripes.  I am fascinated by these fabrics, which are between 60-100 years old.
    Before the skirt


Monday, May 15, 2017

French Provincial For a Princess

    When I am this quiet on the blog, you can count on the fact that I am super busy!  My cabin at the Farmer's Market opens on Wednesday.  I have a lot done, but will be there tomorrow finishing everything up.  I replaced the too large front counter with a display case that fits the space better, will allow for a display area for special items, and still have essential storage space.  Now, on to this cute set that will be at the cabin on opening day.
     This desk is typical 1950's-60's French Provincial, that had an original color scheme of gold and white.  As with all of the pieces of this era that I have worked on, it is not all wood, so it takes more than usual prep time, to get a lasting finish.  Someone had painted it I had that to deal with also.  I forgot to get a picture...but I can was bad.  I chose to paint this in Blush Pink and Linen White from Rustoleum Chalked Paint.  Cute butterfly stencils decorate the top.  The chair is an ice cream parlor type painted in Linen White.  Both pieces were sealed with Rustoleum Matte Finish.
The seat has been reupholstered in a canvas type material and stenciled with rosebuds and roses.  If you are in the area the Market will open Wednesday, May 17th from 10-5.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Waterfall Night Stand

I was contacted and asked if I could repair this piece.  Once I had a chance to look it over, I realized that it actually had once been one side of a vanity.  Its pealing veneer and a one inch square hole on one of the sides was a give away.  The veneer is quite a bit worse than the picture shows.  Some was very brittle, some was barely hanging on, and some was covered in glue.
    The before pictures were taken by the owner.  The after pictures were taken here and show my constant struggle with lighting.  This piece has not turned red despite my picture!  I cleaned the piece and sanded where I would need to adhere veneer and patch.  I had hoped to find veneer that was a close match to what was already on this and was not successful.  I used what was usable on the piece, took some from my stash, and patched other places.  I reglued what was usable back onto the piece, then soaked the veneer I would add to make it pliable.  Next step was to glue it on and weight it.
When all pieces were dry I sanded and filled in the gaps with plastic wood.  There were a lot of gaps!  There was also the hole to fill.  Since the plastic wood is white, I used small amounts of brown paint and stain to try to blend the areas of repair.  A couple of coats of Polyshades followed.

Lots of glare in this picture.
    I hope the owner will be happy....I am happy that this piece is now usable!
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Barley Twist and Hand woven European Grainsack Chair

   Any time an antique piece of furniture is painted there are many naysayers who are horrified.  I believe this chair is from the turn of the century.  It does have screws in the braces underneath but I do not think they are original to the chair.  Everywhere else the chair has pegs holding it together.  This originally had a caned seat and back.  This is where we get into whether to try to restore a piece or would it be acceptable to change it.  This is the condition of the caning and finish.

    Hours and hours of stripping and sanding revealed a still uneven tone to the wood and very deep grain.  I would have preferred to restore this piece but it was just not possible to do so and also have a chair that most people would want in their home.  I have seen some people with strong negative reactions to antiques.  They had a relative that had a houseful, and many times the furniture was dark, dirty, and untouched for fear that it would damage the value.  I found refinishing addressed with reactions from some of the experts from Antique Roadshow
To be honest it does not cover painting the piece.  Most of us, though, will never encounter a craftsman made piece that is several hundred years old.  The question is whether to let a very nice piece of furniture continue to rot away in a barn, or whether to turn it into something someone would want.  This chair was painted with Rustoleum Chalked Paint in Linen.  I replaced the cane with upholstery webbing, and foam.  I wanted this to be a statement type piece.  I used handwoven linen European grain sack fabric, 60 to 100 years old upholster it with.   I made double welted piping to trim the seat but used a different type of trim for the seat back, because the double welt was too bulky.  I feel like this lovely old Barley Twist chair has a crisp, clean, pretty new look.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

French Provincial Cabinet

      I acquired this about three years ago.  Typical for the time period and type, this reproduction French Provincial piece, made sometime between 1950-late 1970's, is not all wood.  It ended up at the back of my storage area until I decided to give it a make-over.   Dark and light gray chalk paints were used to update it, and then silver was used for accents.   I found some wonderful graphics on Etsy, at a shop named GraphicsMarketplace.  There were so many to choose from I had a problem narrowing it down.  A total of five were chosen and I transfered the graphics to the cabinet.
A clear matte finish has been added, and these cute knobs finish it off.  The measurements are 30 inches across the front, 31 1/2 tall and about 17 inches deep and this piece will be available for delivery next week.  It has a few bumps and bruises, but it is a lovely piece that could be an entry way piece, coffee station, or serve a variety of other purposes.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Dragonfly....Eastlake Settee

    I picked up this Eastlake style bench last summer.  The fabric was faded.  The frame was slightly wobbly and much of the webbing underneath was coming off.  Sadly at some point someone had replaced the underpinning, but used bent over nails to fix it.....yikes!  Bed pillows had also been stuffed  inside of it.  I was told by the owner that it had originally come from Michigan.  That is probably correct, as most Eastlake style furniture came from the Midwest and Eastern United States, and was made during the latter half of the 1800's and into the very early 1900's.  I have no doubt this piece falls well within that time frame.
    Charles Locke Eastlake an English writer and architect wrote a book, extolling the virtues of lighter, simpler furniture for the home.  Preferred woods were oak and walnut.  Oils were used to finish the wood rather than heavy laquers, and low-relief carvings, incised lines, glued on moldings, geometric ornaments, and flat easily cleaned surfaces are hallmarks of Eastlake style.

    I did a lot of research before and during the process of working on this piece.  After stripping the frame down all holes were filled, proper metal and wooden chair brackets were added for stability.
I replaced the old webbing with new webbing.  They ran out of black striped and I had to use red striped also.  I stapled, folded the ends over, more staples, and then 3 tacks on each end, which is what is recommended.
    This tool was absolutely essential in getting the webbing firmly stretched in place, I couldn't have done without it but it is sooooooo sharp!
    I re-used the springs.  Not sure whether they were original, since they were slightly different in size.  They were the same type though.  I had been prepared to sew the springs individually to the webbing, but they  were within an enclosed frame, so I sewed the frame of both to the webbing instead to keep them in place.  I placed foam between them to fill the gap and ran webbing over the top of the back and front to even out the edges of the springs.
    The springs were covered with drop cloth material, stapled to the frame and then covered with new foam.  I did not want the seat to be overstuffed, that wouldn't be traditional. 
    I chose cotton rather than dacron for over the foam.  I just don't like the way the dacron feels.  I must have forgotten to take pictures of the cushions on the inside of the seat back.  They were in excellent condition, so I was able to reuse them.  I used the same waxed button thread to affix them to the webbing.  Then covered them with the cotton.
    On the back side of the seat back, no padding was needed, so the webbing was covered with cotton and then the fabric.
    At this point I refreshed the wood and fixed a pretty serious cosmetic flaw on the frame.  I chose not to refinish the entire frame.  While the peg that held the top rail to the back of the frame  was still in place, there was a gap and a crack that ran down it.  If not fixed it would, without a doubt become a structural problem.  I was able to glue and epoxy it using some of the original pieces.  Since the epoxy is supposed to hold up under over 3500 psi, I feel like it will hold well.  After the epoxy dried, it had to be sanded and stained to match and blend in.  The front is where the original damage was the most obvious and this is how it looks now.  There was about a half an inch gap up at the top left where the peg was visible.

    I fell in love with this beautiful fabric at the store.  I actually way over bought, so I'm thinking there is a dragonfly chair in the future.  I was hoping to find a fabric that would bridge the gap between what someone might have chosen 100 years ago and something that would be appealing to someone now.
    One of my biggest challenges, besides the strain on my arms and neck(I see a pneumatic staple gun in my future....goodbye trusty Arrow, lol), was trimming the fabric that was a little messy from not cutting close enough to the edge.  While applying the gimp I did not have the little bar that pushes fabric under it and I should have had that.
    I had two really big goals with this project.  I wanted to fix the frame so that it would be sturdy  and I wanted the fabric to line up well.  I was obsessed with not having wonky dragonflies, lol.  I think I was able to accomplish these goals!  This is available for a short time, but if not sold, will be tagged, wrapped and stored for the Bubbling Brook Vintage Market in Wasilla this summer.

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