Wednesday, September 30, 2020

German Display Case

    I have to say this is the most difficult, most stubborn piece I have ever worked on.  I had seen it advertised last summer and when the price dropped I arranged to purchase it.  I probably would have purchased it even if I had seen it in person, but it was more damaged than I expected.  

    This piece was supposed to be a German secretary desk.  I had seen pictures of the damage to it, and was pretty sure I could fix it.  As it turned out, I ended up removing the drop down desk front altogether.   The drop-down was attached to the desk with two pins.  The hinges that were on it to hold it up did not appear to be original as they were not attached properly and were not working.  I was unsuccessful at finding any hinges that would support the weight of the drop down and question whether it was ever really meant to be used in that way.  At some point the keys to this piece had obviously been lost, because the top of the drop-down, above the lock had been gouged in an attempt to open it.  I had originally decided to paint the drop-down because of the damage to it.  When I realized that between the damage and the difficulty finding hinges to support the weight, the piece would be better off without the desk, I removed it.  I removed the cubby holes of the desk, that look like they had been added recently anyway and painted the new display area and added Blossom Flight transfers.

      The cupboard below had it's own set of problems.  Without a working key the doors did not stay shut properly.  The door to the left has a lower latch, but without the key to lock the right sided door, it would swing open.  This is the second German piece I have had that locked, instead of having knobs that would open a door.  Without knobs and no key this can be a problem.  I ordered some keys based on measurements I took of the lock after removing it and I was happy to find that they worked!  I did use silver gilding wax on the keys, hinges, and locks, because the silver looked better with the blue painted parts of this piece.  

     The door with the leaded glass also had its lock broken at some point.  It no longer will lock, but a replacement key serves as a knob, and a magnetic catch insures that the door will stay shut.  I also had to replace part of that as the metal plate was not shaped properly to connect with the magnet.  

       Another odd problem with this was that the shelves and walls of this part of the cabinet  It was not paint that colored it green, quite honestly I scrubbed, rubbed and sanded and still could not remove it all.  In the end I had to apply multiple coats of shellac to cover it before I could stop the bleed through.  There is one transfer inside.

      Finally, the veneer on the top was in very bad condition....dry, broken and brittle and just needed to be removed. I sanded lightly, painted and added transfers

       I do believe this has turned, again, into a lovely piece of furniture.  I am glad that after weeks of frustration I was able to give this piece a chance.

Entry way table

     Wow, what a busy summer!  Our Farmer's Market, where the Rescue Rehab cabin is, opened this summer, during the Covid crisis with many concerns.  We knew that while locals might shop, we would be missing the business from the many tourists who stop at this location to mark their completion of their journey across the "Al-Can," the highway that joins the Alaska and Canada.  To our relief, many Alaskans chose to explore their state, so we were not hard hit by the lack of out of state tourists.

     First, I have to admit this little table is not "all wood."  I cannot count the number of times I have been asked, by a customer,  to paint an "all wood" piece.  I usually just paint it without revealing the truth.  Most modern furniture has at least some parts that are "wood" that consists of wood, but in glued and compressed form.  I have painted many pieces, that, like this, have wood on the essential parts, like legs, but the "aprons," are very often compressed wood.  If this piece were solid, all wood, I wouldn't have painted it and it would have been refinished and sold at a higher price point.

      After prepping, this piece was painted in Dixie Belle Fluff, which is an off-white color.  I used portions of Rose Celebration transfer by Prima, taking the design down the front and onto the drawer.  The knobs are painted gold, and the piece was top-coated in Polycrylic.

      I imagine this as a perfect piece in an entry way, where mail can be stored and essentials like keys be placed for quick access when rushing out the door.  But of course it would look lovely in several other applications also.  This is headed to Fairbanks for the Vintage Faire this weekend.