Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wood Stripping! (where magic begins)

One area of craftsmanship that does not get enough credit at the shop is our amazing wood stripping work. Whether we are stripping off old finish, or an ugly paint, we can get the job done. We can even strip off those 15 layers of paint on your old woodwork at home! We were brought this green chest of drawers recently for re-finishing. I don't blame the owner at all, this particular green is not my favorite. But we got that paint off and now the beautiful wood grain is showing. Just a bit of sanding and this chest of drawers will be ready for a beautiful new water-based finish.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Green and Gold modern Cabinet with a new top

When this modern cabinet came to us earlier this summer, it had damage from water on the top. The green and gold speckled finish bubbled and peeled of right smack in the center of the top. The owners decided to have us strip the top of the cabinet and then paint it black. Unfortunately, once the owners saw the black top they realized it just didn't look quite how they imagined. So we worked with them to find a better solution for their piece. The result of that was a decision to give the cabinet a greenish finish. The new color is a nice satiny green, without the gold flecks. We just called the owners today so that the piece can be picked up. We hope they are much happier with the new top. It was certainly a good challenge for us to come up with just the perfect shade for them!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Leather Clad Trunk

We here at the shop love working on trunks. Each one that comes in is different, and so each project gets it's own unique set of steps and uses unique skills. This one is a leather clad trunk. Many of the trunks we get are cloth covered, or wood covered, but this one was leather, which is an added bit of fun for us. We cleaned it, oiled it, replaced broken handles and hardware and Ta Da! A trunk fit for display in any room of it's owner's house. Do you have a trunk at your home? We would love to take a look at it for you and help decide how best to make it's own unique beauty come out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Puzzle piece Furniture!

Sometimes bringing an item of furniture back to life is a little bit like putting together a puzzle. We recently received this 'mystery' item for our expert Craftsman to work his magic on. It is in just about as many pieces and furniture can be in! I love puzzles so for me this seems like an awesome project. Others may look at it and groan inside. But regardless of how you feel about puzzles, this project is going to be a big one. With lots of puzzle solving skills required. Can you guess what kind of furniture this is?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Empire Revival Mirror, with the work completed

This stately mirror came to us some time ago in very sad repair. During a family move, it had fallen off of the back of a truck. The original mirror broke and the wooden frame became scuffed all over, lost 1 leg, the corners came apart, and there were minor repairs to do throughout. We have done our best to put this mirror back to rights. We were even able to leave the original finish in place! To do this, we had to color match all the repaired areas, and areas that had become scuffed from the fall. Then we applied one layer of finish to the entire piece to even everything out and give it a nice luster.

You can actually see a timeline of the repairs we did to this piece via our flickr photo stream, the link is listed right here....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Re-Built Chair Frame, October 14th

I have posted pictures of this chair previously. Twice actually, HERE you can see it being dis-assembled and HERE you can see some of the dowels for this chair seat being re-shaped . All 4 corners of this chair seat came apart almost in shreds when it was dis-assembled. We have had to thoroughly glue the corners just to make the chair sit able again. Also, at some point, someone cut away the inside of the chair, where any upholstery or caning would have been attached. I have no idea why someone would have done that, it seems pretty silly to me. But you can see all the lighter colored wood we have added to the chair seat. There is still quite a bit of work to be done, but I thought this was an interesting step in the process to show you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Secretarat, getting a new sheen

We are mid way through a staining job on a beautiful secretariat. It features intricate carving all over and this lovely shell design you see in the photo above. When it first came in the finish was failing and the wood almost had a raw look to it. The piece had lost all of it's luster or sheen and the stain had been reduced to an un-even redish tone. After stripping it, doing repairs, and prepping it, we are now giving it a beautiful color and a glossy sheen. This Secretariat will look so good when it is finished!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Customizing a dowel to fit an antique chair

We have been working on a beautiful old set of chairs this week. They all going to be refurbished, but the arm chair was in such wobbly condition that we had to take it completely apart and re-glue it. Today we discovered that the dowels were originally hand made in a very odd size. We can not order them in that size so we had two options. Either re-drill the dowel holes, or customize some dowels. Our Repair Craftsman had a stroke of genius and make a new tool to fix the problem.

He drilled a hole it a piece of metal to the same diameter as the old, hand made dowels and clamped it to a work bench.

He hammered a new dowel through the hole. This shaved off the un wanted wood and sized the new dowel down.

Here you can see the original size of a new dowel and the smaller size of the altered dowel. Now we can use these altered dowels in the old chair, without having to change the chair at all. I think this is such a good solution!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Making Nicks and Dings Disappear

Here we have a small repair, which really makes a big difference to the overall appearance of this table. It can be so frustrating to have a beautiful piece of furniture with a ding, nick, or bashed area such as this. We are happy to work on all kinds of projects here at the shop including minor beauty issues such as this. So instead of just staring at that ding, every time you walk by your furniture, bring it to us, we will make it disappear!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Many Hands, Many Projects

What a busy day we have had here at the shop. Business seems to be picking up again which makes me very happy. I love hearing all the sounds of work going on, and seeing so many projects progressing.
Today our furniture weaver is working on creating a new splint seat for a very old chair. The original chair was made of hand cut wood splint and each piece was a different width. It seems the original weaver wasn't very good at measuring and wove the seat with whatever size pieces they happened to make. We are trying to re-create that look, and to do that, we are using 4 different widths of pre-cut splint. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Our repair man just got started on a brand new project today, which will probably take some time to complete. This very pretty set of 4 chairs came in needing a lot of repair, and then a restoration job. Today they are being dis-assembled so that we can start the extensive repairs.

We are so happy to be able to bring on a new Craftsman! We are able to once again have an worker completely devoted to 'prep work'. This is all the things that happen after a piece of furniture is stripped that go into getting it ready for finishing. He is doing a terrific job. Today he is sanding a table to get it ready for finishing. This table has a very unique leg design, I will be sure to show you once it is all done.

Some time ago we got in a very interesting project, of customizing the dashboards for two Bentlys. Our Master Craftsman was having a hard time getting to the project because he was trying to do his own job plus complete the work of 2 emloyees. Now that we have been able to take on more staff, we have are able to give this project the attention that it deserves. The dashboards are coming along very well, and I will be sure to show you the finished work!

Do you have a project for us to work on? Something you have been wishing to get done but keep forgetting? Or maybe you started a project and found out it was much bigger then you thought it would be? Bring it to us!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Corner Display with a broken Spindle

This project ended up quite a bit trickier then it first looked. When the item came it, we knew it had one broken spindle. We needed to carefully un-screw all the spindles so that the broken one could be glued, then put back in place. What we found out though was that several of the spindles were actually cracked and that by un-screwing them, those cracks became breaks. So all of a sudden, what started out as a little project, became a big project. We got it done today, and here is the finished result. I'd say that spindle looks just about as good as ever. What a pretty corner accent piece this is.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Renewalist, Learning New Skills

So, a few months ago I decided to learn some of the tricks of the trade, instead of just talk about them here. I found a little table that I though I could spruce up and have made it my first project. The 'real' workers have been very patient with me as I complete each step (and try to stay out of their way). Today I used a power saw for the first time. It was a little scary at first, but after the first cut I felt like a pro. After the 10th cut, I think I could cut just about anything! Ok, so maybe that is a little over confident. I also started working on the trim pieces today. The table has this beautiful beading but some of it has fallen apart. I wanted to preserve as much of the old beading as possible, which meant the new had to blend with the old.
The old beading has a very different shape then the new though. The old beading (far right) has an almost tubular shape, while the new beading (far left) is very round. So I took the new beading and sanded all the edges off to create a more tubular look (center). I think it turned out pretty well. It will need a special stain to bring it to the same color as the old beading, but then I think you wont even notice the difference. Next task, pick out a pretty veneer!