Wednesday, August 25, 2010

up next: a real doozy

A very dear friend of mine brought over this piece yesterday for me to work on. It is a great, classic piece. It is special to her, but she doesn't care for the finish. So, I was ready to get to work!From the front of the piece, it looks like it is in great shape. Then you shift your perspective, and see the top. Ohmygoodness. A real doozy (Sorry, B, but I have to tell it like it is!)
First up: Citristrip. I put on a good thick coat, and then went to run some errands. It seems like this stuff really likes to sit a while before you mess with it.
I did the top first, then each side, then the front, so that I could work with each surface when it was flat. The sides & front only needed one application of stripper, but the top needed three :)
This was, I believe, after the second application of stripper on the top. You can see it is getting better, but not much yet!
There, that is better! Now we're making progress. So I started to sand, first with 60 grit, then 120, then 220.
Getting there. I did have to get out the bleach on the mold/mildew eventually, or it was going to be there permanently. You can't really see it here, but one of the marks is staying for good... turned out it's a burn, and it is pretty deep. I say it adds character!

One of the drawers, before wood conditioner.
And after wood conditioner. This wood was thirsty. It looked much healthier after a good drink.

More progress. B wants it dark, as she just had her kitchen renovated and her cabinets are espresso. I did the first coat of stain this morning, and was surprised that I was able to do another coat just now. It usually doesn't dry that fast! I used Dark Walnut, but was thinking of adding in a layer of Ebony too. Does anyone have any experience mixing these?!

Look at the grain in this wood, it is gorgeous! Funny, though, how these old pieces were made. In some cases, it appears that the wood grain in one drawer is from a totally different species than the next drawer. The differences aren't obvious in a light stain, but when you start to add color, the grain really shows up.
Phew! I'm calling it a night. More to do tomorrow to get this piece back to beautiful!


  1. OMG - it looks AMAZING!!!! For the record, I'm only responsible for one of the stains - I inherited it with several already there. I am so excited and you are so freaking talented!

  2. This is really a beautiful project, Kathie! You are doing a wonderful job with it!

  3. I have written catalog copy for many, many furniture makers in North Carolina. Your experience with this piece is spot on: individual craftspeople often used the wood they found or had on hand, mixing as needed. Once furniture was mass produced, there was more consistency in the wood used on the "face" or outside of the piece, leaving subspecies like poplar and "yeller" wood for the interior.

  4. Do you actually use bleach? I have some pieces with black rings and I don't know how to treat them...

  5. I did actually use bleach!! I don't know if that is the best way to do it, but I found that it was the only way!