Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fabricated Table Leaf for a Fancy Table Top

This beautiful table left our shop yesterday, after having finished it's time under our care.  Among other things, it needed a new leaf made so that it could stretch out and accommodate more people.  The table has a fancy veneered top featuring panels that radiate out from the center, and a border all around the outside.  It would have been rather costly for the owner of this table, had we attempted to do some kind of fancy marquetry to match the rest of the table.  Fortunately the table had a section right down the middle with consistent horizontal grain.  We used the same kind of veneer for the leaf and matched the horizontal grain pattern.  The leaf also needed to have 'skirts' made on the edges.

Once the leaf was fabricate we finished the entire table in a water based Brown Cherry stain with a water based Satin finish.  The table also got a 'pore fill' treatment which made the top perfectly smooth. This treatment is quite a bit of extra work and our Finisher did a great job at it.  We are so happy to see this table and it's matching hutch leave our shop with it's happy owner!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Child Sized Rolltop Desk with a Chalkboard!

This adorable child sized roll top desk just got it's repairs completed today.   I wish I had thought to take a picture before it was repaired!  But I can at least recount for you what we did to get it in it's current cute shape.  You can probably see a pale line across the top, that is where the wood was broken in two.  We could have done color work to make that line  disappear, but the owner's of this desk decided not to have us do it.  We also repaired the tambour unit,  made the chalkboard writing surface be able to slide in and out,  repaired the falling apart cubbies and put the stand back together.

This is such a cute desk.  I envy the child who gets to spend their hours playing school at such a neat little workspace.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Double Victoria Weaving Pattern

If you were to walk into our office right now you would see three chairs, all identical in build, but with three very different finishing styles.  They also have three different weaving styles on the seats.  One has a traditional '6 way' weave in the usual natural cane.  You can see what a '6 way' weave looks like in the left picture.  Another of the three chairs has the traditional '6 way' weave but there are some black painted strands woven in on the diagonals.  This gives the chair such an unusual look.

The third chair we did a completely different weave.  It is so unusual, I don't think we have done it a single time for a customer!  This weave is called a 'Double Victoria' and can be seen in the right photo.  This 'Double Victoria' doesn't create all the little octagons in the weaving but instead creates little squares filled with Xs.  I really like this different woven pattern and am hoping someone walks in, sees the chairs and decides to have their entire set woven that way!

Soon, we will also have a wall covered with small examples of each of the weaving patters that we can do.  We are about halfway done with that project so you can expect to see more posts about that soon!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Taking a Headboard Down a Size

From time to time, we have been asked to take a Full sized bed and make it into a Queen sized bed.   I actually have one of  those projects posted here on our blog.  But this time, someone brought us a Queen sized bed and want us to make it into the smaller Full sized bed.  This is a new little challenge for us to take on.  Instead of adding to the headboard we are taking away,  so we needed to find a way to do this, while still preserving the original design.

To do this, we removed the curved top section and we removed the decorated side pieces that extend down into the legs.  We then cut the center section down the needed size, moved the trim, and re-attached the decorated side pieces.

We cut the curved top section to retain the same size it had when it was larger, and then re-attached it to the rest of the headboard.  We still need to color match the raw wood areas,  and do some masking touchup to the front where we had to move the trim.  I think it is going to look pretty good when it is done!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Two Different Woven Seats On The Same Chair!

We do all kinds of weaving work here at the shop.  Sometimes a chair comes to us with one weave, but the chair's owner wants to change it to a different weave.  In this case, it was entirely possible for us to make the change.  Both the old and the new styles were fastened onto the same kind of frame, so once the old was removed, there was nothing hindering us from switching styles.

The chair came in with a Fibre Rush seat woven in an X pattern.  This is a very common style you can see on a lot of chairs.  Fibre Rush is the most in-expensive way of doing it, as the material is essentially twisted paper.  There are much more expensive (and therefore also more durable) materials that can be used in this same weaving pattern, such as Seagrass Rush, Twisted Seagrass, Wheat Wrapped Rush and Cattail, with Cattail being  by far the most expensive as it is twisted by hand.  Cattail also happens to be by far the nicest!

The chair's owner decided to go with a Flat Reed woven in a herringbone pattern.  One cool thing about how this particular chair was done,  can you tell the flat reed is not all the same size?  It gives this chair a really neat variegated look which isn't as commonly seen.   Now, they could have gone with a slightly more 'fancy' Wood Splint for this same weave, which would show a wood grain throughout.  But this 'fancy' material also has a fancy price, so most people go with the Flat Reed.

Do you like the new weave material and pattern better or the old weave material and pattern?  Do you have a chair like this at home just begging for some TLC?  Bring it to us!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Overcoming the Power of an Old Berry Stain

We have a few pieces in, from different customers, which offer us a unique challenge.  These pieces came in to be stripped of their old finish, and have a new finish applied.  All of  these items went through the stripping process, after which we discovered that part of the original staining work would linger.  You see, these pieces were colored with a dye, that could not be removed in stripping.

This dye is a Berry based stain and penetrates the wood fibers to permanently color them, as opposed to a pigment color, which we would use, that sits on top of the wood.  You can find this dye used in old furniture as well as modern, so we never know when it will pop up.

 Sometimes this kind of dye is used on a lighter colored wood, such as Poplar to make it match, say a Mahogany wood, then a pigment stain can be applied over both, and it will look like they are the same kind of wood.

In the case of this Piano Stool, we were able to remove some of the color during the prep sanding process, which left the red in the crevices.  Instead of letting this be a problem, we used the red as a natural 'highlighting', to give the stool some extra character.  Then we used a medium Cherry dye which helped to even the color out without making the stool to dark.  Of course the stool has our super earth friendly Water Based Finish over all of that!

How do you think the stool looks?  Have you ever had to deal with a dye stain like this?  If so, what did you end up doing with the new  finish?  We would love to hear, in the comments below.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Completed Work on Headboard Extension

A while back I was telling you all about a project we were working on, then I completely forgot to show you the final product!  Well here it is, a beautiful bedroom set which we refinished.  But the biggest part of this project was the bed.  It started out as a Full sized bed, and we turned it into a Queen sized bed.  Can you see from this picture what we did?

In case you can't figure it out, you can check it out in these older posts...

Now that the set is done,  I think it looks very good.  You can hardly tell that one of the dressers is not actually from the set! What do you think of the work?  Do you like the design for the headboard and footboard extensions?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Old Steamer Trunk After Complete Restoration

This old trunk came to us partially dis-assembled by it's good intentioned owner. They had wanted to fix it up themselves, but realized it was way to big of a project for them.  It still had a little bit of the green painted canvas and a few strips of metal left on the box, but other then that, it was in pieces.  They had been able to salvage almost all of the original hardware. The tin strips were rusted so they would need some work, but the cast brass edge and corner pieces were still looking gorgeous. We treated all the tin sheeting that went on the trunk with a rust arrestor. This would keep any rust damage from spreading. All the tin was then painted a shiny black.  All of the wooden slats that decorate the trunk had been marked for us so that we would know where they went once the trunk was re-assembled. This was a big help, and saved us from needing to solve many puzzles. We re-glued any cracks and breaks. Then the slats were stripped, sanded and given a beautiful new water based finish.

We also applied a new canvas cover over the box and painted it a green, very similar to the original green color.  We then put the shiny black tin strips on,  and all the renewed wooden slats.  The brass hardware looks amazing now on this trunk. We don't often get to restore a trunk from it's base, we usually try and make it look as good as possible, without taking the entire thing apart.  We are so please with how this trunk turned out though, that hopefully we will get to do more trunks in such a thorough way!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cautionary Tale Against Modern Furniture

This is yet another cautionary tale against purchasing newly made furniture.  Old furniture you can count on, when it looks like wood, it is wood.  But new furniture, a person never knows.  That is what happened to the unfortunate owner of this coffee table.  It appeared to be made out of wood, then painted  black.  It even had a noticeable wood grain. The coffee table was made with just two legs,  one on each side, and they ran the width of the table.  One of them broke off.   It was only then, that the true nature of this piece of 'wooden' furniture was truly revealed.

This 'Wood' was actually ground wood pulp which had been pressed into hard 'boards'.  The outside of the 'boards' was given a wood grain pattern.  The inside of each board is hollow and actually, (I can hardly believe I am going to say this) actually filled with strips of cardboard! CARDBOARD! I am horrified that someone out there is making this product and calling it furniture!  They are essentially selling fancy painted cardboard furniture and calling it wood.  I wonder what they would say if you asked them what type of wood was used?  Would they try and claim whatever variety was used to make the wood pulp?  

The truly sad thing about this is that an average consumer would have no idea, from looking at a piece like this (with out the break) that this was anything but wood.  They could easily believe that they were actually purchasing a sturdy, genuine wooden coffee table.  And that is where I get back to my original point.  Take buying older furniture seriously my dear readers.   It will actually last, and if some child dances on your coffee table a little to often, and a leg breaks off, at least it is made out of something that can easily be repaired,  wood!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Progress On Our Latest Faux Finish Project

Our latest Faux Finish project is coming along very well.  As with all of these projects, there is a point where I look at the piece and go, 'Um.....really? How is that going to look not weird?'  But then the work progresses and I start seeing the vision of our Faux Finish Visionaire start to come come alive.

We began by mixing our own custom creamy yellow base color, which we applied to the side panels on this cabinet, and to the frame sections on it's doors.  We also applied this color to 4 sections of a coffee table that is going to co-ordinate.  After applying the base,  The doors and the coffee table also received a coating in select areas of a Bayberry green color which you can see very well in the doors above.   The side panels have had a Red Pepper color rubbed into the cracks and crevices, followed by a Van Dyke glaze.  It looks very cool.  The coffee table and doors also have had a Van Dyke glaze overall, which give them such a neat aged look.

I have gotten past the 'that looks weird' stage, to the 'wow, that looks cool' stage and am looking forward to seeing these completed!  What do you think of these color effects?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our Color Wizard Strikes Again

Often, items come to us that are not broken, do not need to be refinished, or some other major work.  They simply have a dent, gouge, scrape or ding on their beautiful surface.  Fortunately we have the man for the job.  He is a color wizard and can make imperfections disappear.  After smoothing the dent with various fillers, the color touchup began.  Three different colors were used to achieve that red you see on the table.  Our Color Wizard used  red, a canary yellow and a white, it is amazing to me how people can see in their mind what colors make up another color.  I always end up with a whole bunch of dud colors before finding the right one.  I suppose that is what makes our Wizard so good!   Once that red is dry a rich gold will be applied over it.  You will still be able to see some red underneath, which is part of what makes the effect on this table so cool.

Do you have something with a dent that you have been wishing you could get fixed?  Well now you know where to take it.  Bring it in, we will be waiting for you!