Monday, April 30, 2012

Decorative Weaving Colors

When this cute little stool came to us it had a very similar weaving pattern, but it was so faded out that the color was hardly visible.  So we removed the old weaving and then stripped the wood down so that it was bare.  It then needed to be prep sanded and stained.   The stool has a beautiful, rich looking water based Brown Cherry Stain, with a Semi Gloss finish over the top.  Gorgeous!   Then it was time for the weaving.  While we can use almost any pattern or material at our shop, this particular client wanted to keep the weaving looking like the original.  So to do that, we used a Flat Reed as the material.  We colored some of it with a dark green dye.  Flat reed takes color very well, much better then most of the other weaving materials, which makes it ideal for a multi color pattern like this one.   Our weaver then used a herringbone pattern, weaving one direction with natural colored reed, an the other direction with the dyed reed.  The completed result is a very cool looking bench that should look beautiful and be functional for many years to come.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Refurbished Music Cabinet

 At first glance, it looks as though this music cabinet has some fancy faux finish work on the front.  But on second glance, we noticed that the door front used to have a raised trim, which at some point had fallen, or been taken off.  This left a lighter decorative area where the stain had never ben applied.  It makes for a very interesting effect.

The cabinet also had considerable damage to the top surface, to repair that damage, we stripped the old finish off and completely refinished it.  As you can see from the photo to the left, the top now looks gorgeous.  The rest of the cabinet received some minor structural repairs,  and a very thorough refurbish job.

When we refurbish a piece of furniture, we begin by cleaning the piece with a mild soapy detergent.  This gets any dirt, grime and oils off the wood.  Also, if any of the old finish is going to flake off sometime down the road, this procedure removes that weak finish.   Once the piece is clean, we can assess to see if any additional color needs to be applied where weak finish may have come off.    We then will wax and polish the entire piece.  While this is not technically difficult work to accomplish,  it is really a workout!  If you tried to tackle waxing and polishing yourself you probably wouldn't have to go to the gym that day, you would have gotten all the exercise you need while working on your furniture!   One of the nice things about refurbishing vs, refinishing is that you get a nice satiny finish, but still have the character of the dents and scrapes and history, in tact.  Not everyone wants that, but if you don't want to change the color, and you don't mind seeing 'character' then refurbishing  may be the way to go for your furniture.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Straightening Warped Wood

We have been working on a big Armoire restoration project for a little while now.   It is a very old french piece and one of the side panels has warped to the point that the armoire can't be assembled properly.  So before we move on with the project, we needed to straighten it out.    This process is done while the wood is damp, and so more pliable.  

To straighten the piece out, we laid the side panel down on our low workbench and clamped to long pieces of wood tightly down each side to create a trough.  Then, between these long 'fences'  we placed short pieces of wood horizontally.  We clamped all of this snugly down onto the workbench using several very long clamps.

The side panel will stay like this until it is completely dry.  Then we will take all the clamps off and check to see if it has straightened out.  If it has, then great!  If it has not, then we will have to re-wet the wood and go through the process again.

Just a little educational post today.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Eastlake Chair is almost Done!

Work is progressing on our Eastlake Chair-rebuild project.    In case you are curious how this chair looked when it came to us,  you can check out my earlier blog post here below. So far, we have rebuilt the broken off back leg and reshaped the worn down base caps of the front legs.    The front of the arms had gotten really bad road rash so we smoothed those down, reshaped them, and then restored the carving where it had vanished.  

The top rail of the chair has gotten the brunt of the repair work.   It was so badly damaged that we have had to do a lot of modification.  The florette on the left is an original one from the original top rail of the chair, but we moved it down to fit the modified chair back.  The florette on the right we had to re-create from scratch, so that we could have mirroring decor.  You can also see there were some chunks of wood that we had to replace under the left florette, and some re-shaping needed to be done, so that the old wood, would  work with the new design for the chair.

In this back view of the chair rail you can really see just how much re-construction work needed to be done.  We have done our best to utilize as much of the original wood from the chair, but some of the missing chunks were just so big, that we had to use new wood.   From this perspective you can see the 4 patches we have put in place, to give this  new shorter back the structure and appearance that it needs.   The repairs on this chair are almost complete.  The next step will be to stain and finish all this raw wood, to beautifully re-create the chair's original finish.   I will be sure to let you all in on how it looks when the work here is completed!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Eastlake Chair Overhaul

This gorgeous, and very old Eastlake style arm chair suffered an unfortunate accident when it came loose of it's strappings and fell off of a truck.    It experienced a 'slip and slide'.  Slip off the truck and Slide on the road.   The chair obviously needed some hospital time so it came to us for care.  After doing a thorough evaluation and consultation with the chair's owner, a plan of action was decided upon.   One option was to completely restore it to it's original condition.  This would have required extensive repairs to the entire back section as well as the legs and arms.  This would have been a big job and pretty pricy.  So it was the second option that we are going to complete.

Since the back is so badly broken, both aesthetically and structurally, we removed the back all the way down to the lower rail which was still strong.  The next step was to repair the broken areas just behind the arms where the wood had been broken off by the pavement.  We were able to re-pupose wood from the top rail of the chair (which we removed), to fill in these broken areas.  Once the epoxy glue on that repair was set and dry, the wood could be shaped to match the surrounding area.  You can see this repair in the photo below.
We also needed to replace the wood on one of the legs, which had been completely destroyed by the fall.   To repair this area, we had to use a new piece of walnut, rather than a re-purposed piece, as it was quite a big chunk that was missing.    For the leg repair,  we again epoxied on the new wood, and clamped it into place.  Once it is set and dried we will shape the piece of wood to match the other back leg.  You can see this repair in the picture below.
 We still have a lot of work to do on this chair.  Hopefully when it is done it will look just as beautiful as it did originally.  Although now it will have a new adventure attached to it's history.   The time it went for a slip and slide and ended up which a whole new look.