Monday, August 20, 2018

Gossip Bench

Do you recognize this type of bench?  Did your mom or grandma have one?  These were very popular back in the day.  Your telephone sat on the little table, and you could sit and chat.  You might have a pad of paper and a pen handy there too, for any notes you might want to take.  This bench is a nice one, made by Ethan Allen Furniture Co. and is all maple.  It is structurally sound and sturdy.  There are some cosmetic imperfections, which have had some filling done.  It is not a perfect fix,  I believe a puppy did some teething on it.  The finish is not mirror perfect, because of years outside in the weather.  It is a cute, sturdy, and handy piece.  It would be perfect in an entry way, where you could sit and put on your shoes.  It could also be a cute place to charge your cell phone, near an outlet.  Throw a quilt across it and put it near a sunny window.  It should not be out in the weather, but could be used on a protected, covered porch.  One more clear coat and it should be ready to bring to the cabin on Wednesday.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Repainting a dresser.....again!

   I can't believe how fast this summer has flown by.  I have been so busy at the Rescue Rehab cabin and finding new items for  it, it seems like I have barely blinked and the summer is winding down.
    My latest large furniture make-over has been done and I am just now getting a chance to do a blog post about it.  I painted this dresser once before.  I was sure it had only been about a year ago, but when I went through my blog, I found out it was actually about 3 years ago.  I was shocked, to say the least, that it had been that long ago.  This mahogany dresser was painted white and the new owner wanted it mint green, so I stripped and painted it mint green three years ago.
    Fast forward nearly three years and a new owner's daughter chose a  bolder look for the dresser.  Now, I've said it in the past, I do not enjoy removing one of my paint, it really is a lot of work.  When I paint a piece, I paint it to last and if it is mahogany, which bleeds through, or a piece with a questionable history, I use stain blocker, then paint, then topcoat.  This piece took a LOT of stripper and more elbow grease before it was ready for its new paint.  After stain blocker, paint, topcoat, faux distressing and stained top, I had some unexpected crackling, which I've never had, but the paint was still solidly on and the new owner did not mind it, since it added to the distressed look.  I've never had this happen before and not sure what caused it.  I would have loved to have brought back the mahogany finish, but the customer only wanted that on the top.  Since the owner was moving we opted to just leave these knobs on for now and she will replace them later.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Beachy Step Stool

I picked this cute step stool a couple of years ago.     It was a very plain light green, almost yellow. There was a  bit of time while waiting for the paint to dry on a custom dresser , so I decided to make this  stool a little more appealing.  Pretty light blue then dry brushing it a bit with a darker blue and a top coat and it is much cuter than it was before.  The color makes it pop and it looks great with a few pieces placed on top of it.  The colors remind me of a day at the beach.  It is ready for a new home and is currently at the cabin.

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Rescued Table

    When this table was offered to me, nearly 60% of the oak veneer was missing, peeling, or bubbling up on the top and 50% gone on the right side apron.  The legs had some splits on the outer surface, which is not uncommon.  They did not go far into the surface, so they were not a structural problem.  This piece was made by the Gregory Furniture Company during the heyday of wooden furniture manufacturing.  The company existed from about 1906, until 1945 when it was sold.  This table probably dates from the late 30's or early 40's, so in technical terms not an antique, but most likely near 80 years old.
    I somehow missed getting a picture of the top, but this is the side, where some of the bottom veneer was also damaged.  You can see here too, that the decorative pieces are damaged.  There are two pieces of this decorative scroll type work on each side.  The other pieces are cracked, but these are completely gone. The remaining residue made me suspect that these were made of some type of molded glue or paste and the water damage literally melted them. 
    The veneer on the top and one side were really quite beyond compare.  It is possible to re-veneer a piece like this, but it can be quite costly.  So, the decision to make was whether to paint it or refinish it.  Since most of the piece was in good shape, and the secondary wood under the veneer was rustic, but in reasonable shape I decided to refinish this piece rather than paint it.  There was some damage to the secondary wood on top, but it is just enough to give it a little character.  I filled in several surface cracks on the legs and feet, re-stained the wood, and added a top coat.
    Despite years of abuse this is a wonderful piece.  It is an "almost antique" for someone who might love older furniture but find most out of their price range.  Sturdy and built well enough to last another 80 years, dimension are: 30 in tall, 42 in across front and 26 back to front. This would make a great "minimalist" desk, entry way table, library table, or if protected, even a little breakfast nook table.
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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Butler's Tray

    When I spotted this tray at a sale at what was once a homestead I immediately made a bee line for it.  I am a sucker for silver plate anyway, despite the fact that many younger customers have no patience for polishing it. 
   It is massive....30 in x 20 in. and very heavy.....I was shocked at how heavy it was.  But honestly, isn't it gorgeous??!!  It was love at first sight.  When I turned it over, though, I was sad to see that 2 of the feet had broken, I decided that I could do something with into my pile it went.  Fast forward a few weeks and a customer contacted me inquiring about serving pieces and unique items to serve meals to her guests on.
    Let me add here this lifetime Alaskan families' website.  They are true Alaskans, with amazing history and they have a unique niche farm/ranch, that offers a one-of-a-kind experience.
    I had an idea about making this beautiful piece useful again, but wasn't sure whether it would work.  I got out my husband's sawzall, and I was able to cleanly saw off the two remaining feet.
    I used 60 grit sandpaper on my sander to sand the legs down evenly.  Now, I want to point out that although they are even, and fairly smooth,  they could probably do some damage to a wooden table that wasn't protected.  I did a quick once over with some toothpaste, because I had no silver polish.  I think this will be such a wonderful statement piece, and I can see it with a huge buffalo or elk roast and surrounded by Alaskan grown potatoes.  I am so glad I took a chance that I could give this tray new life, and will not hesitate to pick up another, should I ever come across one again!

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Opening Day at the Rescue Rehab Cabin

   May 19th marked the opening day of Farmer's Market season at the Highway's End Farmer's Market.  Winds were strong as they swept into Delta from the glacier and down the river.  Keeping up with dusting off the blowing silt was quite impossible.  We had a moderate turn out, but it was a good day for the Rescue Rehab cabin.  We also hosted a bake sale for the kids from Delta Dance and Performing Arts, who are working to pay for their recital. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A. Brandt Ranch Oak Update

    German immigrant August Brandt originally started the A Brandt Furniture Co. in 1900 in Fort Worth, Texas.  It wasn't until 1938 that his son, Paul began to manufacture "Ranch Oak" which became extremely popular.  In 1986 the Brandt family sold the company and within two years, it went out of business.  This particular table  is dated 1965 on the bottom, and since the Brandt company contracted to furnish military housing with furniture, this piece probably came from one of the nearby bases.  I have to admit.....I do not care for Ranch Oak.  Possibly because in our early days in Alaska we drove to bases in Anchorage that were liquidating their furniture and we bought quite a few pieces, because it was affordable and not what most of the people at the sales were going for.  Dealers would get there very early, come with helpers, and quickly go through the warehouse grabbing the tickets off of all the mahogany pieces......thus began my mahogany envy and dislike of Ranch Oak, lol.
    All of that aside, you cannot beat the sturdy, all oak construction of these pieces.  This is all wood, sturdy oak, so aside from small imperfections, you could not find a better piece.  You can still see some of the deep grain of the wood in places. 
    Here the table is sanded and you can see the construction of the top and legs, and that they are pegged in place.  The legs come right up through the top of the lower half of the table.  They must have been split, to widen  so that they don't come out.  They resemble the top of a screw(remember this, lol!).  The top pegs are just round, with no split.
    After sanding  I used a blocker, then painted with a cream colored paint.  I accented the table by painting the pegs a pretty rose gold.  The top pegs remind me of rivets and the bottom pegs remind me of large screws.
    A search of A Brandt furniture reveals that some people collect these pieces and recently a set sold on Ebay for $159.   So, some may not agree with painting them.  In this market, I felt that painting would be appealing to more people.  I think it's important to remember, too, that under the paint, it is still a solid oak  piece!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fresh look for tables

    One of my customers, that I have done several pieces for contacted me to see if I could change the look of some tables for her.  I only have a before picture of the end tables, but they match the coffee table.  They are very heavy and very sturdy.
    The first thing I did was sand them down.  They were quite a bit more orangey looking than  you can tell here.  I have gotten to the point where after doing a few repairs on a piece, I get the best results using a stain blocker before painting.  Too many times unseen stains can bleed through the paint and this prevents that.  I used a cream colored paint on the tops and a pretty teal on the body of the tables.  After that I did a wash of cream over the teal, lightly distressed the tables in some spots and then top-coated them.  I do take quite a while when finishing projects, but I do believe that attention to detail and extra care give me very good results.  Light colored pieces, especially, get many coats with at least a day between each, and I feel that gives a finished look that will last.
These will be delivered soon.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Fraternal Twin Nightstands, Miss 1955 and Miss 1961

   I managed to find these mahogany nightstands at two different sales while I was out picking last year.  These are beautiful timeless, classic pieces that are getting harder and harder to find in my area.  The one on the left was made in 1955 by the Drexel company.  Drexel is well known for its quality furniture.  The one on the right was made on 1961 by the Joern Company.  I had to look this company up, as it was unfamiliar to me.  They were also known for high quality furniture, but not too many pieces are found, because they turned their attention to medical furniture.
While the one on the right needed cleaning sanding and refinishing, the one on the left needed more extensive work.  While it had no structural damage (in fact the drawers and the slides are in amazingly good structural condition), it had some pretty serious cosmetic damage.  I'm not quite sure why someone would drill a hole in the top of a nightstand????  There was also a chunk missing on the top.  I filled using wood epoxy, repaired and sanded the damaged spots.  While you can still see where the damage was, I am pretty happy with how the repairs turned out.
Before, pretty rough, scratched, etc.

Damage and fixes
   In choosing the stain to use on the nightstands, I had to take into account that the Drexel nightstand was naturally a bit darker, so I chose darker  Bombay mahogany stain.  It really wasn't possible to make the darker one lighter by using the regular mahogany.  Therefore, there is a bit of a color difference between the two.  These are beautiful heirloom-type pieces and they are looking for a new home.
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Saturday, January 27, 2018

End table

  Hi all.  Hope that everyone reading this is well!  We have been fighting and fighting a cough that just will not go away this winter.  It has slowed my progress on projects a bit, which is frustrating.  Luckily I have been knitting again, which keeps me busy while I wait for the paint/stain, to dry, or am just coughing too hard to do anything else.  Now that there are only 4 kids at home(TEENAGERS.....EEK),  I do have fewer demands and have a little bit more time for things I want to do.
    Anyway, the latest project is this sweet little table.  I think these are great pieces and so very handy.  I have had others in the past.  I had to do a bit of repair on this, but it is very sturdy and would be an asset to anyone's home.  It was sanded, repaired, and refinished in Bombay Mahogany stain and then top coated.  There are two shades of Mahogany that I use and this one is the darker of the two.  I really like both and this just happened to be what I had on hand.  This piece is dated 1958 and is another of the pieces that was used extensively on military bases.  They are beautiful refinished, sturdy and so useful.
    Positioned between two chairs or at the end of a couch, they can also be pulled in front of a chair for card and board games, serving beverages, etc.  This has a hard formica type top which is easy to clean and maintain.  The measurements on this piece are:  Between 23-24  in tall, 24-25 long, 16 1/2 inches wide, when the "wings" are extended, though it is 24-25 inches long.  This piece is available.
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Monday, January 8, 2018

Modern Rocking Chair

    This project is quite different than anything I have done before.  I bought it last winter, after it was offered to me.  I was pretty busy at the time.  I honestly did not look at it very closely and it has been stored away since then.  While re-arranging my work space I had a chance to look at it more closely and I decided to tackle it. 
    This chair was made in Indonesia, out of teak, and I discovered that it was originally quite expensive.  I did some research on teak wood, since I had never worked on it before.  Teak is commonly used for outdoor furniture, and this piece had been out in the weather.  Left unfinished teak will eventually turn to a weathered gray.  There are treatments specifically for teak, but when left out in the weather it should not be treated with the typical varnishes.  Teak wood retains its natural oils and if out in the weather with a varnished finish, it can eventually develop mold.  This is because the oil will push the varnish up and allow moisture to get under varnish where the mold will settle and grow.  While teak is excellent for outdoor furniture it needs some maintenance.
    This piece had no mold but a lot of water spotting.  I cleaned it and sanded it.  I used Watco Danish Oil to restore the beautiful luster and finish to the wood.  While this finish does have some varnish, the oil helps it penetrate into the wood, and as long as it is in a protected area, all it will need is an occasional re-application to retain its beautiful look.
    This is a large, roomy chair, that would look wonderful near a fireplace with a buffalo plaid blanket!  It is large enough for an adult to comfortably hold a child in.  It stands 45 inches from the floor to the top of the back.  The seat is 19 1/2 inches from the floor.  The seat dimensions are 23 inches across and 20 1/2 front to back.
    This is a sturdy comfortable chair that would accommodate anyone!