Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Table Leaf with Plasticizer Damage

 This leaf belongs to a beautiful table that has suffered 'plasticizer' damage.  You can see from the photo that it has a strange 'oily' appearance in the finish.  This happened because the owner of the table put a plastic 'table cloth' over it to protect it, and then left in on for a while.  

The problem is that most finishes have a plasticizing agent in their chemical composition to keep the finish from becoming brittle and shattering when dry.  When the plastic cover was used on the table there was a chemical reaction and it actually broke down the finish.  This can create either the weird oily looking surface that you see here, or it can actually melt the surface so that you can pick the finish off with our finger nail.
Usually the only way to fix plasticizer damage is to completely strip and refinish the table.  But before we took that step we tried a less extensive procedure, just in case.  In this situation it was enough.  We began by removing the top layers of the table's finish where the damage was.  We then stabilized the finish and top coated it with a new water base topcoat in a 'Matte' sheen.  Our client is very happy with the results and has also learned a little lesson about plastic and chemistry.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Danish Box Weave Folding Chair

This low folding chair is woven with a 'Danish Box Weave' pattern.  Clearly it had suffered some significant damage to the seat.  Maybe someone tried to use it as a stepping stool?  Just for future reference, woven furniture should never be used under foot!  It is sturdy enough to sit on, but when you have your entire weight on one small (foot sized) area of the weaving,  especially if the fibers are old and brittle, then those fibers can break.  Once one strand breaks,  the surrounding area becomes weaker and other strands nearby tend to start breaking.  Then you have a problem!  And then you need to do what this client did and bring that chair in to us.

We re-wove the seat of this chair using traditional danish weave materials.  This material is called 'danish cord' and is actually made out of paper!  The cord is waxed so it has something of a protective coating, but if it is really soaked then those fibers become weak, just like regular paper.  As long as you keep furniture woven with danish cord inside, then it should last you for years and years to come.  If you look closely at the 'finished' side of the top picture you can see that the back of the chair is darker then the seat.  This is because, like all weaving materials, it darkens over time.  Eventually you will not notice that the seat and back are different shades. 
 Hopefully at that point no one breaks the weaving in the back, because then we would have to start all over!

Monday, August 20, 2012

'Touch & Top' Job For an Old Finish

I know I just put up a post about a coffee table, but this is a completely different kind of job,  so bear with me on this.

This time we didn't strip and refinish the coffee table, but instead performed a 'touch and top' job.  This means we went in and touched up all the scrapes and scars by hand.  This is the kind of work that needs an artist, someone who can match and blend color and grain patterns so that the touchup repair disappears.

After the touchup work was done, we top-coated with a clear water based finish that will protect not just our repairs, but the rest of the finish as well.  This top coat gives a new lustrous sheen to the coffee table and almost looks like we refinished it.

If you have something lying around your house that is showing some ware and tear, but you don't want to change the color/finish, we can still make it look a lot better for you by performing similar work.  Bring that piece in to us and we can go over your options.

Update on Coffee Padouk Table

I wrote about this interesting coffee table and the wood it is made out of in an earlier post and I thought you might all like an update. You can read the earlier post here... The work on this coffee table has been completed and it looks beautiful!

We used a Teak stain which is dark brown in color.  The red still shows through clearly, but the brown of the teak mellows it out and gives it a richer quality.  A Satin sheen finish was applied over the top which gives a subtle luster but isn't excessively reflective.  What a lovely completed look for this very interesting wood.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lovely Cedar Chest, Restored

Before Any Work

After Stripping & Sanding

Work Completed

This lovely Cedar Chest is being passed down from Grandmother to Granddaughter as a graduation present.  With the changing of hands came a changing of finish.  We were happy to take part in this change and to help keep a family heirloom in good condition.  Their were only minor repairs that needed to be done, the most significant work we did was to strip and refinish the piece.  The inside of the cedar chest was left bare so that the aroma of the cedar could permeate the interior of the chest. For the exterior, our client made a beautiful choice in stain colors and finish sheen.  She went with a 'Pecan' stain with a 'Satin' finish over the top.  This choice really allows the cedar's natural color to shine through, and enhances all the knots and grain.  The Satin finish gives it a 'homey' feel, rather then a brand new, glossy appearance.  Cedar chests are such a piece of Amerciana history,  and this chest is definitely a part of this family's history.  I hope it can be passed on and enjoyed for many more generations to come.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Glockenspeil with an Invisible Repair

This is a 'Glockenspeil'  that came into our shop after a chunk of wood was broken off of it's front corner.  The wood was completely gone, all the way down the corner, which presented an interesting challenge for us.   The grain on the face runs vertically while the grain on the sides runs horizontally.  To fix the instrument, we epoxied on a piece of oak that was larger then we needed.  This allowed us to then trim it to a perfect fit.   We then had to do the color matching work, which was the most difficult aspect of this job.

 It is such a challenge because you have so many different factors to deal with.  You have to consider the ambient lighting that you are doing the work in.  Lighting effects how you see color, whether you are outdoors, indoors, have flourecents etc.    You also have to consider that different people see color in different ways, so what may look good to your eye, may stand out like a sore thumb to someone else.  The colors in the wood are also a factor.  Wood is not a solid color,  it has an 'overall color' but that is made up of under tones, highlights, wood grain etc.  There can even be different colors just within the grain pattern!  And finally, you have to consider the finish that has been applied previously.  You don't know what the exact formula they used so you have to make judgement calls about how to mix finish to re-create that.

Add to all those challenges the fact that the wood grain runs two different directions.  So now, on top of all your standard considerations,  one side is going to have to have it's grain pattern painted on by hand.  Regardless of all these challenges,  the job came out beautifully.  Looking at it now, unless you knew it had been broken before, you would never see the repair.   And that is what we aim for, a repair you don't even know is there.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fancy Jewelry Box

 I am sure this has to be one of the smallest pieces of furniture we have worked on.   It is a little jewelry box, designed to look like a chest of drawers.  Our client wanted to refinish the outside, while preserving the cloth covered inside.  We were able to do exactly that for her.  The inside was masked off and then we stripped the box by hand.

Hand stripping allowed us to get the outside very clean, while avoiding the masked off area.  This is  very sensitive work.  We then did our regular prep sanding.  At this point the client came in and chose her stain color and finish sheen.
 The box was finished in a 'Pecan' stain.  This color really gave beautiful contrast between the wood and the veneer marquetry, and  allowed the veneer to look it's best.  Over the stain we applied a 'Satin' sheen finish.  Once these coats were dry, all the hardware was put back on and voila!  You can see the beautiful completed effect below.  Lovely right?
'All Done!'