Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Animal Print Chairs' moving along

I posted a short while ago about dining room set we had been working on, which was getting a 'animal print finish'. That is not a technical term by the way, that is just my personal name for the really cool crackling going on. It looks like animal print to me, since the old original finish has separated into this giraffe like look. The customer wanted to retain some of the charm of the original finish and we have done our best. The end result is a very cool pattern. We have now proceeded on this set to the final stage. The caned seats have been put in place, and we are ready for the customer to have one more look. There will be one, final slightly glossy, but very smooth layer of finish applied, and then voila! done. I think this set is just so neat, and I will be sure to show you a picture of the entire set, table included, before it leaves our shop!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Expert Wood Stripping!

I am pretty sure that the process of stripping paint or stain/finish off of wood is not the most exciting thing to post about, but lets face it, it is a pretty critical step in giving an old piece of furniture new life. With a bad stripping job, you are left with stain still in the wood which means you do not have the freedom to choose your own color. Or you can end up with a splotchy look where the finish did not come off evenly. A bad stripping job can also leave the restorer with tons of extra sanding work, and no one wants extra sanding work! The good thing is, we do an amazing job here at the shop. I know I am somewhat biased, but that is why I am going to let these pictures be proof for me. This table came to us with a significant layer of paint on it. It looks like someone was going for shabby chic, but just ended up with messy. So we stripped this paint off in our fancy immersion stripping system, and the wood came out clean!
In fact, I think this wood almost looks new. It is certainly ready for some (minimal) sanding, and a beautiful new finish which will let it's lovely wood grain shine!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Child's Seagrass Rocker

This tiny rocker is just the right size for rocking baby dolls to sleep. Unfortunately the seagrass weaving is coming undone all over the chair and if it was sat on (even by a pint sized person) the seat would fall right through. So we are going to re-weave the entire rocker! I will be putting pictures up for you to see and the project gets under way. I remember having a small rocker like this when I was a child. Mine was much more simple then this one though, and was not woven. This rocker is very unique and worth preserving!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Epoxied Chair Seat

This cute country style kitchen chair was cracking along every seam, and also within each piece of wood! It certainly wasn't safe for sitting on in that condition. So as part of our restoration process we filled all the seams and cracks with epoxy. It looks pretty messy right now, but after we sand and prep the chair, all that glue residue will disappear and will only remain in the cracks and seams. Epoxy is an incredibly strong glue so this chair seat shouldn't come apart, or even wiggle for many years to come.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dressing up some Chairs!

Recently, a set of chairs came in to our shop with a finish that had crackled and separated so that it almost looked like animal print. The owners liked the interesting design and wanted to preserve it, but also wanted the set to have a more uniform look and to be better protected in the areas where the old finish was gone. We like to make our customers happy, so we started to concoct a plan which would achieve the perfect look for them. We started with a dark stain to fill in the areas missing finish, such as the arms, and fronts of the seats. And then applied a blonde shellac with a pale brown tint added to it. We still need to make a woven caned seat for these chairs and then apply another layer of shellac, but with what we have done so far, they are not only unique, but beautiful!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Double Blind Cane Chair

This has got to be one of the most challenging cane projects we ever get in. This beautiful French Style arm chair has a very fine cane so there are lots of little strands to weave. But in addition to that, the chair is old enough that the holes the cane goes in are not evenly spaced! And some of the holes do not go all the way through so we have to do something called 'blind cane' which is a tricky process. To further complecate the style of this weaving, the entire back has two layers of cane, one facing the inside and one facing the outside of the chair! This time we only have to repair the seat. Lucky for the owners because otherwise, they would have had a much, much more difficult project on their hands.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

19th Century Chair, Repaired!

Just another lovely example of what the renewalists at our shop can do. Here this late 19th century chair was crippled by a broken leg. Now after the attentions of our talented shop men, it is not only put back together, but sturdy enough to withstand another century of being sat on. I wonder what the owner of this beautiful chair will choose for the upholstery. What would you choose?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wicker Baby Bassinet ready for pick up!

We had a 'Wicker Bassinet Week' here recently it seems, as several of them all came into our shop at the same time, all with important dates to be done by. This is the last of the bunch to be completed and also the most unique. It came into our shop very wobbly and would not have been able to support a new baby's weight. It was painted with a lead paint which was flaking off, and
under that, some of the cane was coming loose. The bassinet has these lovely wooden swirls all around it, but they were loosing their shape and bending inward. Well, as of this morning, it is ready to be picked up. I would love to show you all the photos of the work we did on this piece, but it would end up as a very long blog posting! So you can check out the photos detailing all the work we did on flickr, and here is that address...

I really like being able to show you work like this that we have done. I am confident that we can repair just about anything, and here is just another example to support that. Do you have something you think is impossible to be repaired? Bring it to us!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Portugal 'Revolution' Trunk is good as new!

Some time ago we had his wonderful trunk come in to our shop for repair. I have talked about this trunk pretty often so you may have heard of it. But it is now ready for pickup so I wanted to show you all the finished work.

But first let me tell you it's really cool story, as told to us by the current owner. According to the story, years ago, the owner's grandparents were living in Portugal during a time of revolution.
Her grandfather was in some kind of trouble and unable to leave the country, but he still wanted safety for his wife and children. So, the wife and children boarded a ship for America, without even a goodbye from the father. Three days later the family heard a knocking coming from inside this trunk. They opened it to find the father hiding inside! Now I don't know about you, but I look at this trunk and wonder how on earth a grown man fit inside, and lasted for thee days! This trunk even has a tray which makes the space even smaller. It just shows what a person will do for his freedom. To me, that is an inspiring story, and I am so glad we got to restore this heirloom for the family.
Here the trunk is, all cleaned up and oiled, with new leather and new latches, ready to be the beautiful center of attention it deserves to be. Do you have an old trunk? Whether or not it has an amazing story, as this one does, we would love to restore that trunk for you, and get it ready to be a part of your own stories .

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Old Desk gets New Clothing!

This old desk actually belonged to the Renewalist's Grandmother and who knows how much beyond that it has been in the family. It is going to one of the granddaughters who is going into her senior year of highschool this fall. But we couldn't allow ourselves to give it to her in the dilapidated state it was in. The old finish was badly damaged with scratches and gouges all over. One of the claw feet was broken right off! So we stripped that ugly finish off, sanded, glued, and repaired it's injuries, and then gave it a nice new finish. I am pretty sure that now in its beautiful brightened state it is ready for being used by a senior, who is looking at a even brighter future!