Thursday, March 29, 2012

Barrister's Bookcase Sampler

 We really enjoy creating beautiful wood finishes.  We see beauty in golden oak, teak, mahogany, cherry, walnut, pine,  the list goes on.  But sometimes a piece of furniture just calls to us for something more original, more unique.  Generally this 'calling' is generated by some kind of damage to the wood, but sometimes the furniture just seems to want something that will set it apart from the crowd.  When this happens, we get into 'artist' mode, as we did with this Barrister's book case.

This bookcase is going in our office so we thought it would be fun to showcase some of the more interesting techniques in our arsenal.    We started out by cleaning and scuff sanding the existing old finish on the book case.  We also needed to seal the  bookcase so that none of the existing stain color would leach through.    Then, on each of the 5 pieces of the book case we used a different milk paint,  Buttermilk, Pumpkin, Barn Red,  Federal Blue and Black.

We then applied layers of dye toners over the milk paint to create the custom color we were looking for.  We applied 5 layers of Vintage Cherry dye over the Pumpkin paint.  We applied 4 layers of Dark Brown dye over the Barn Red, and 6 layers of Merlot dye over the Federal Blue.  The Blue/Merlot combination created a really deep rich purple which is fun.   You can see the progression from milk paint to final finish coat in the sampler photo.  We made sure to mask of a section after each step so that you could all see the  stages of progress.  After all these steps were completed, the bookcase had a Satin Sheen finish sprayed over top.

We didn't leave out the base and top of the bookcase,  the black paint got a blue dye treatment which gives it a really neat iridescent look.  The top has multiple layers of toners, dyes and paint splatter to create a modern 'marble-ish' look.    Overal, we are really happy with how our office 'Sampler' came out.  We hope it inspires our customers to think creatively when it comes to their furniture.  Sometimes a piece just screams 'make me interesting', and now we can answer that call.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Wicker Glazed Transformation

It has been a while since I featured anything out of our weaving department, so I thought I would rectify that now.   We had these two nice pieces come in a short time ago, and while they did not arrive looking like a set, they left in perfect complement to each other.

They both needed repairs to the wicker on the backs and arms, and they both needed new seats.  The backs and arms required hand weaving repairs, while the seats used the application of a machine woven panel.

In addition to the wicker repairs, they also needed to be stripped.  The rocking chair had an old, worn out finish that was removed, while the bench had a bright green paint.  Bright green is definitely an interesting decorating choice, but not to our current customer's taste.

Instead she had us apply to the bare wicker a 'basil' colored milk paint.  You can see the result of this color in both of the 'before & mid' pictures.  It gives the pieces a soft milky green hue.  Milk paint has no sheen however and without something to seal it, the paint is naturally dusty and prone to stains.  Prior to applying a finish to seal it, we took one extra step.  We used a dark brown dye toner over the milk paint.  This gives a very interesting, and one-of-a-kind appearance to the set which you can see below.  The chairs, while still green, have a transparent wash of brown which settles in the crevices and enhances the curves on these pieces.  Lastly, our finisher sealed the chairs with a Satin sheen finish.  The set is now ready to grace some wrap around porch somewhere, host lemonade parties and watch the sun set.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Unique Techniques On An Old Radio Cabinet

 This beautifully designed old radio cabinet has had it's interior re-made into  a shelving unit, which is a great idea!  The exterior though needed some work.  The finish was worn, so the first thing we did was to strip that off.   This revealed beautiful veneer, but also failing glue.  That failing glue caused the veneer all over the sides to lift away from the cabinet, and the beaded trim to fall off.  So our next step was to glue the trim back in place and to carefully go underneath the veneer and re-glue that without causing any damage.  Veneer is very delicate and could easily have cracked or broken.  Once all the repairs were completed, we could do our prep-sanding and get it ready for a beautiful new finish.

The finish work on this Radio Cabinet really is interesting.  We began by applying a water based Dark Pine stain. We then hand painted all of the trim, beading, florets, and grooves on the legs with a glossy black paint.   We also did some decorative shading all the way around the cabinet top as well as the lip around the base and legs.  And finally we finished it with a gloss top coat.  There were quite a few techniques done on this cabinet and the overall appearance now has a modern look, but at the same time retains the integrity of the beautiful old styling.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A High Chair With a New Life

 This high chair withstood the use of many, many babies, but one reckless teenager falling on it just the wrong way, gave it a trip to our shop.   We began our work by stripping the old aging finish off of the high chair.  Once that finish was removed we could see what repairs needed to be done.

All of the joints needed to be re-glued (that is a lot of joints!)  and even the seams in the seat and back had to be repaired.  We repaired these seams with biscuit joints which are a sturdy but invisible way of fortifying the wood.
Once the high chair was repaired and all the prep-sanding was done, it was time to do the color work.  The color you see on the piece is a 'cognac' stain with a 'semi-gloss' finish.  We also had to do some touchup work by hand to both sides of the chair back.  The touchup blends in so well though that at this point it is almost impossible to detect where it was done.

This high chair is now ready for many more babies and many more 'first bites'.  Lets just hope no more reckless teenagers decide to use it as a landing pad!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Seth Thomas Clock Restoration

 This beautiful old Seth Thomas clock came to us needing a number of different things worked on.  The case was loose and easily came apart into multiple pieces,  the lower part of the door needed to be re-veneered, and the back panel was raw wood.
To finish the back panel, we used shellac which really let the burl shine through, and gave a beautiful contrast with the rest of the clock case.

Gluing the case together was fairly simple as we do that kind of work every day.

The tricky aspect of this job was really the re-veneer work on the door face.  What made it so tricky was the corner details.  There was an recessed area that needed to remain without veneer, but the leaflets needed to have the same grain pattern as the rest of the door.

So what we ended up doing making a tracing of the exact shape of each corner and then mask off (very very carefully!) the recessed area.  We could then glue a sheet of veneer over the door face.  Then, once the glue was set and dry our craftsman used the tracings to cut the veneer away and expose the masked off areas.  It was a tricky process, but did produce the results we were looking for.   Then the leaflets had to be carved to create depth and texture.  Finally, once the newly veneered door panel looked just how we wanted it, we stained and finished it to match the rest of the clock.

As I said, it was a tricky job.  But the end result was a beautiful clock with great detail and wonderful textural and color contrasts.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Duncan Phyfe with Water Damage

I think you may be able to see what was wrong with this table when it came in!  Major water damage to one of the drop leaves.  Plus, one of the 4 curved legs had glue failure and had fallen off.  This is a case of a very nice, high quality piece of furniture, being badly taken care of.

We began our restoration work by stripping the old damaged finish off.  This gave us a much better idea of what we were working with and what we needed to do, to give the table a uniform coloring once we were done.

The table leg repair was a simple one.  It is fairly common for Duncan Phyfe tables to sustain some kind of leg damage, and in comparison to some breaks we have seen, this was minimal.  Often the leg will actually break in half.  This is due to the fact that the grain runs across the curved leg, and so in some places is very weak.

The stain color we used on this table is a combination of Royal Oak and Brown Cherry with a pore filled Gloss finish.  Pore filling is a fairly time intensive job but when it is done, the wood becomes perfectly smooth.  This set up the wood beautifully for the Gloss finish and gave the table a very formal look.

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Veneer on a Cedar Chest

 Cedar chests have such a sentimental appeal for me.  They are something that you put cozy winter coats in, store leather baby shoes in, and that vintage dress of grandmother's.  Cedar chests seem to store memories inside.  

This Cedar chest came to us because, while the inside was doing it's job quite well, the outside had fallen into dis-repair.  The veneer was damaged, peeling, and in some places missing.  The finish was old and worn. It was straying dangerously into 'shabby' territory and needed some help coming back to 'beautiful' territory.   We began our work by stripping all of the old, worn out finish off, using our brand-new water based stripping system.   

The next step was to complete the repairs to the chest.   The entire strip of gorgeous walnut burl veneer around the base had to be replaced.  Our craftsman did a great job with that walnut, it turned out beautifully.  There were also damaged areas of veneer on the top surface that had to be secured down, and a large discolored area where the veneer had a stain which we had to hide.  Hiding discoloration is a very tricky task, but it came out looking very good on this particular piece.

Lastly, we applied a beautiful new stain and finish.  The stain on this chest is a water based Pecan with a Satin sheen over the top.  It is really a beautiful color choice for the piece.  Because it is a lighter stain, the colors in the various types of wood are really able to shine through.

I think the outside of the cedar chest is now just as beautiful as the inside, and is now once again ready to house tangible memories for years and years to come.