Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Challenges of Machine Cane Weaving

With The Spline Cut To Size And Drying To Shape
 We do quite a bit of traditional hand caned seats here at the shop but we also do a good amount of unique caning besides that.  This chair back needs two 'windows' of machine caning, giving us a unique shape to work with and also a unique weave.  The set of chairs has a 'radio net' weave which is made up of perpendicular strands of cane done in a box pattern.  The chair also has a curved back which gives us yet another challenge to work with.   

Masked Of Weaving, Before & After Staining
Curved weaving has to be put in place by someone who really knows what they are doing.  If it is not done well,  then the weaving panel can distort and either 'cup' or 'buckle' leaving a surface you would not be happy with.  In addition, the glue which holds the woven panels in place can drain out if not done well leaving patches of dry spline, allowing the machine cane to come undone.  Not good!

Another big challenge with machine woven cane is just getting the old stuff out! If it was originally put in well, then it is going to be really stuck in there.  It has to be chiseled out, which if not done by an expert hand, can chip the wood, leaving you with a much bigger problem then you started with.

Here at the shop we are fortunate enough to have an expert Furniture Weaver, and she did a beautiful job on this difficult task.

Have you ever tried machine or hand weaving before? We would love to hear how it went!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wood Stripping Art

Mantle with flaking PaintPaint BubblingStack of Bubbling BoardsElectric BubblingGreen and GoldGlass and Stripper
Puzzle BubblesCrazy FlakesSuper BubbleFloral DoorFloral Close UpMini Crackle
Amber AccentReady For My Close Up

Wood Stripping Art, a set on Flickr.
I have been putting together an album of photos called 'Wood Stripping Art' on flickr and facebook. Ok, so I know i am probably pretty 'out there' with this idea, but it seems to me that sometimes the patterns that appear when wood is being stripped look like art. Check it out and tell me, what do you think?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

70's Era Coffee Table Gets an Update

 This coffee table came to us with a lovely wood grain, but a dated 70's era finish.  Something about the shade of brown, and the slight 'distressing' marks reminds me of deep shag carpets and built in wooden screens.  The couple who owns this table wanted to brighten up their living space and brought it to us for our creative expertise.  After a few different attempts to find a look that appealed to their individual tastes, complemented the room, and looked good on the piece, we finally came up with a winning look.

 The  gentleman likes the red look in wood so we capitalized on that.  The actual wood itself is rather light when raw, so that gave us a 'bright' undertone to work with.  We began by applying a Mahogany water based stain, we then applied a Mahogany toner, a Brown Cherry toner, then an Ebony toner.  Over all of that a Satin finish completed the appearance you see here.  The couple in so happy with it that they are having a TV cabinet done to match.

What do you think? Do you like the new color?  What shade would you have chosen?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Putting a Bed Leg Back Together

This is certainly a useless leg for a headboard! The wood sheered off into multiple pieces where the bedrail should hook in.  It is a classic story of wood beating out metal when put through an endurance test.

To repair this leg, we had to piece together the original broken off wood, along with new wood where it was missing.  Those pieces of new wood had to contoured to match the shape of the original.

We also used epoxy putty filler in a similar color to the wood, as a filler where the missing wood areas were to small to fill in any other way.

Clearly this leg still needs some touchup, to beautify it and make it presentable, but we don't get to do that this time.  Our customer has decided they want to try and tackle that job themselves.  But at least we know we are turning over to them a bed leg that is as strong as it can be!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Refurbished Collapsable Parlor Organ

If you have been following this blog very long then you must have noticed my love for the unusual item.  Well lucky me, because we have a very unusual item today!  This is a collapsable Parlor Organ.  We have worked on full sized organs, but this one is pretty unique.  

It came to us needing some minor cosmetic repairs where there were chips in the veneer.  Our Color Wizard took care of those with some simple 'burn-in' type repairs.  We also had to completely replace the bellows which was a new experience for our Repairman.  After all the repairs were done to the wood and the bellows, the entire thing was refurbished.  That means, we cleaned, waxed and polished the wood surfaces.  This process gives new life to an older shabby finish, without going through the entire stripping and refinishing process.  Any 'character' remains but has a new protective coat of high quality wax over it.

I think this organ is just so cool, and looks so good.  What fun, to have a piece like this come through our shop.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Antique Bench with Woven A Seat

 This great antique bench came to us not long ago with broken weaving on the seats.  No wonder since the cane was very small for the number of holes use on the bench.  That meant the weaving was very open, and with thin cane it was to weak to support a very heavy person.  Maybe it was meant for children?   So with pieces of cane snapping and breaking through out the weaving, they took it to us for help.
We re wove it by hand, with a wider cane so that the seats would have more strength.  After weaving, Tung Oil was applied to the top and bottom of the woven sections.  This will help increase the life of the cane by giving it flexibility, resiliency, and keep it from drying out.  The Tung Oil also gives the top surface of the cane a bit of an amber color instead of the bright whitish color that it naturally comes in.

This seat is such a cool piece, the age and use shows through in the wood in ways you don't often see.  Such as the beam that runs across the front, just above the ground has been worn unevenly by peoples feet!  The middle section is still pretty thick but the side two sections have valleys worn into them.

I so enjoy when unique pieces like this come to us,  it is such fun imagining the history and finding out how it was used.  What is the most unique piece of furniture you have stumbled across?  Do you have some treasure in your own home?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stained Cedar Chest, Looking Good!!!

 I am so excited to show you this 'before and after' set of photos.  I wrote a post recently showing you all what this wood looked like after the paint was removed,  and it was pretty beautiful.  Now that this cedar chest has it's finish work done, it is a piece that is worthy of being the highlight of the room.
The chest received a water based 'medium cherry' stain which really brought out the beauty of the Cedar.  Over that we applied a water based satin finish.  The inside of this cedar chest was left unfinished so that the the aroma can still be enjoyed.  Growing up, I always wanted a cedar chest of my own (my mother had a beautiful hand made one with her name carved on the front).  I still don't have a cedar chest, but if I did, I would want it to look just like this!

 What do you think of this transformation?  Do you have a treasure of your own that is just crying for some TLC?  Bring it to us, we would love to bring it back to life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Peeling Veneer on Intricate Marquetry

 Boy do we have work to do on this table!   It holds the unique distinction of being a hand made table,  crafted by the brother of it's current owner.  The marquetry on the top is not an easy thing to do, by any means.   It is done with several different varieties of veneer intricately cut and put together in a star pattern.  Some of the veneer was flaking off when it was brought to us for repair and restoration.

Our task is to strip the old finish off,  do any repairs to the veneer needed, and then re-finish it.  We knew it was going to be a big project, but we didn't get to see just how big, until that old finish came off.

It has been put through our stripping tanks, and we now see the true state of the veneer marquetry. The veneer is peeling off badly all over the table.  Some of the veneer pieces are missing completely.  This means a lot of delicate glue work, and quite a bit of very careful, exacting  veneer cutting.  It is like trying to make a piece for a puzzle when one has been lost.  Can you imagine how hard that would be?  Fortunately, we have very skilled craftsmen here at our shop, but I do not envy them the job of fixing this table.  I will put more pictures up as the work progresses on this pice!  Do you have something with peeling veneer? Maybe a 30's era bedroom set, or a dining table that someone was not kind to?  Bring it to us, you will be amazed at what we can do!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Choice Between Two Finishes

One of the best things about having a furniture restoration business is the artistry and creativity that is involved.  These two doors belong to a TV cabinet that is being re-vamped. The owners of  this cabinet wanted something unique, not just paint, not just stain.  The plan they came up with, which we are happy to implement for them, is to use both paint and stain!

We started out by finishing this cabinet in a deep red color, which is very similar to the color it was prior to stripping.  Our customers then brought us a custom made paint they had created to match some items already in their house.  We then applied the paint to their doors in two different methods so that they could decide which  better appealed to their sense of style.  The top door is done with a 'Glaze', the bottom door is done with a 'Wash'.

Which one do you like better?

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Window With a Mistaken Identity

A strange thing happened this week in our stripping tanks.  We have some old woodwork for a house that we have been stripping the paint off of.  Two of the items were these windows, which looked like ordinary glass in a painted wood frame.   What we found out, was that one was in fact Plexi-Glass!  Coulda fooled us.

The door to the left has the real glass the way it came to us, the door to the right has the plexi-glass after it was put through our tanks and we discovered it was in fact NOT glass.    After putting it in our Methylene Chloride tank the 'glass' became discolored, stretched out, and flexible.   It has been a few days and it is still flexible in fact!  It feels like something at a creepy playhouse for kids where you have to avoid flying green gooo.

Of  course the window that was real glass went through the process just fine.

So I guess this post is another one of my cautionary tales.  You probably assume that your windows are made out of real glass, but if you have any suspicion that it might be something else, let us know so that we can handle your piece accordingly.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Beautiful Cedar hiding under Paint

At first I did not recognize this beautiful cedar chest.  I was walking through the shop the other day, and saw this trunk and thought to myself 'huh, I wonder where that 3rd cedar chest came from',  Then all of a sudden it hit me,  This beautiful chest, with the wonderful smelling cedar and the many knots in the wood had once been covered in paint! I am so excited now to see the look on the owner of this chest's face when she sees it, all stripped and sanded and pretty.  Looking at the 'before' picture below, I wonder why anyone paints such beautiful wood.  I know there is a time and place for painted wood,  such as, when there has been burn damage, or when the wood itself in completely unremarkable and boring.  But with beautiful wood like this, I think it should  never be covered in paint.  Of course, that is just my opinion.  You are entitled to think whatever you want.  Perhaps you should tell me in the comments below, just what you think of painted wood like this.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

30's Art Deco Table With A New Stain

 This lovely waterfall style 'Art Deco' table came in looking pretty, but went out looking beautiful!  When it came to us, the center leg had fallen off and needed repair so that it would be useful again. So we stripped the golden hue finish off of the table, and repaired the leg.  Then we applied a Jacobean stain to the legs and table top, and as an interesting accent we applied a Natural stain to the banding around the bottom of the table top,  the corner caps and the accent 'wing' pieces.   The entire table then got a 'gloss' finish which made the wood look wet.   It came out so beautiful.  I really love the new stain choice our customer decided on.  I think it gives a more modern sophisticated look than the old gold hue.
As you can see, the color combination we used really made the corner details stand out.  Before, the corners were pretty but not particularly noticeable.  Now with that dark color on the corner cap and wing details they are a beautiful interesting feature.  To me, it looks like a bird, with the dark head and wings.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Roll Top Desk Gets Some New Pieces.

 Work continues on a Roll Top desk which came to us in so many pieces, I playfully called it the 'Humpty Dumpty' desk.  We put the entire thing together and once we did, the discovery was  made that it was missing a few slats on the tambour unit.  The owner of the desk gave us the go ahead and we had 3 more slats custom made to fit the originals.  Now we have to cut them to length and drill holes to match the rest of the unit.  A wire runs through these holes to keep them together, instead of them all being glued to a cloth.

Another project on this Roll Top desk is that of creating new drawers for the cubbies.  There was only one drawer left.  We were able to use this original drawer to  determine what the styling of the new drawers should  be.  The 3 smaller drawer still need a handle, then all the drawers,  and the new tambour pieces, need to be stained to match the rest of the desk.  This should be an interesting task, and  the finish on the rest of the desk is pretty old an worn.

Tell us about  what projects you are working on right now.  We would love to hear!