Sunday, October 27, 2013

Upholstery "Project of the Month"

Here's one of the most jaw-dropping upholstery projects we worked on recently, which I thought you guys and gals would enjoy.

This is a gorgeous Victorian carved mahogany "tub chair". I would date it to around 1870-1880, but it's hard to say for sure.

The chair arrived to us in a grubby old floral pattern, and the piping/edging was missing. The chair had breaks to both front arms, and it needed a lot of work.

This post will just be a super quick preview with a few photos, but if you want to see the full restoration with nearly 60 photos, go here:

Here's the before:

A few "during":

And after:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New (Old) Sofa!

I scored a pretty nice old sofa this week. I saw it on Kijiji (our Craigslist) late last week, and I debated whether or not I should go have a look at it. Based on the photo, my boss said it didn't look too promising. I ended up going to see it on Sunday, and it was just what I wanted:

- Good solid frame
- Springs (Coils rather than no-sag/zig-zag)*
- Nice Size

* The way to tell if a sofa or chair has coil springs is simply to feel the bottom (underside). If it's hard/stiff (rather than just a loose dust cover) then it's webbing and coils.

I made arrangements with the lady to pick it up on Monday evening. I went after work with my mom to get it. It was only 30$, and I think it was money well-spent.

The fabric that's currently on it is very good quality (and matches the living room colour scheme), but I'll probably be redoing it (in the next year).

The frame is loose (you can pick it up and twist the sofa), and the legs have been sanded down to bare wood. There's also some bumpiness to the springs/seat, so it will definitely need work. In the meantime, it's perfectly usable, and I love it! I plan to add 2 throw pillows to it.

The legs were originally a dark brown mahogany colour, and will eventually be redone in that colour.

The best part is that I can now finally get rid of these two "temporary" sofa chairs that I've had for over a decade*. They were comfy, and I had planned to reupholster them, but the foam in them needs replacing, and the frames aren't that great, plus I really don't like them that much, so it's finally time to say goodbye. They're currently at the road for tomorrow morning's pickup.

* I honestly can't remember how long I've had them, but I've had them since at least 1998.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Varnish Update

Alright, so far, so good. Several things are now varnished and DONE, but there's still a few things left to do, still.

First, the two built-ins are varnished, and have the shelf hardware installed. Second, the body of the bookcase is varnished, as are the backboards, which are installed, and the doors. What's left on the bookcase are the shelves (they have 1 coat so far), and I still need to make the knobs for the upper doors, a shelf for the upper case, and the top crest. The backboard (ply) is cut, but I want to paint it teal, and I need to decide on a shade.

I also need to pick up some glass for the upper doors.

Here are some photos (minus the upstairs built-in, which I forgot):

I had originally wanted to have the cherry stained a deeper red/mahogany colour, but it would have required a lot more work (stripping and sanding additional sections), and in the end, I'm quite happy with just the clear varnish.

The office built-in (same room). Same story here. I had thought about staining the Fir plywood a shade darker, but it came out perfect with just a clear varnish on it.

These next ones show the pieces in context within the room.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

High on Fumes

I've started on some extensive varnishing around the house, namely the two built-ins, and the bookcase (which is in the garage to help minimize the fumes).

I generally use Satin Varathane for most of my finishing projects, and I thin it for the first coat (as suggested) 10%, but I either use mineral spirits (aka paint thinner), or turpentine. I generally prefer the smell of the turpentine, but MAN, the fumes are strong this time.

I had been torn with whether to stain the Fir on the built-ins, use a tinted varnish, or just use clear (plain). I ended up just going with plain varnish and I'm SO GLAD I did.

The Office built-in in particular turned out a beautiful shade of orange, and I'm actually surprised with how dark the final colour will be. It's going to look great, but like I said: I'm really glad I didn't add stain. Hopefully the orange tone will match the refinished birch floors when I eventually do those.

The built-in in the upstairs hallway is a bit lighter, since it gets very little sunlight, but it looks pretty good too.

I still have a lot of varnishing left to do. I only did the bottoms on the bookcase, since I need to do those first before I can flip them and do the rest, so I still have the bulk of the two cases to do the first coat, then all the doors, shelves, and back boards (I'm doing just the cases for now, and when those are done, I'll do the shelves and back).

Pics soon-ish.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Small Cherry Bookcase Update

For those of you who have been following the progress on the cherry bookcase project (which has been dragging for months), I made some progress on it today.

Not a whole lot to share, but I spent a good 3-4 hours working on it this weekend. I milled all the tongue and groove back boards yesterday, and I cut, routed, and sanded the 4 bottom shelves.

Tongue and groove back boards:


Hopefully, I can get this project done before the cold weather rolls in (in the next month or so), but I won't hold my breath. All that's really left to do is the top shelf, and the top decorations, but I might just go ahead and varnish/assemble the whole thing as-is, since I really want to set it up and use it for all my books that are still in storage.