Thursday, December 24, 2009
I started by boiling the hardware in a solution of water and dishwashing liquid for about an hour or so. I have this technique is even more effective if you soak the hardware longer, but I am not that patient.
Next, I used a little bit of Zip strip to get any stubborn bits of paint, and cleaned the surfaces with furniture refinisher. Unfortunately, the hardware really didn't have a nice patina underneath the paint, It actually looked like someone had stripped the hardware previously and removed the tarnish in the recessed areas of the pattern.
To restore the hardware, I used Brass Darkening Solution (bought at Rockler for under $5). This stuff works on nickel and steel in addition to brass. Once the nickel was sufficiently darkened, I used Maas polish to even out the finish, leaving the recessed areas dark.
It actually turned out better than I expected and the nickel hardware really stands out on the white doors.
After that, I decided to try the brass darkening solution on one of the unlacquered brass switchplate covers in the dining room. While you can still tell it isn't original, I like the darkened look better, and it definitely beats the hole in the wall that was there before.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
The woodwork was painted at one time. It looks like someone tried stripping it, but gave up. Given how sloppy it looks up close, I am amazed I didn't notice this before. Check out the sweet mid 80's track lighting. Honestly, these are the world's dimmest lights. Given that I don't have any art on the wall, the only thing they light is a 4 foot section of plaster with a nice big crack in it.
I really think this is going to look great when it is done. I would just like to skip the many steps it takes to get there. The dining room took me a ridiculous 8 months, so I have to do better than that this time.
Friday, September 11, 2009
We also added a vintage map of our neighborhood to the wall. Actually using the picture moulding as opposed to the 30 nail holes I patched in the wall worked out very nicely. The map is from Althea Maps and Prints which can be found in the Coe and Channell Antique shop at 2727 Hennepin Ave S. The frame was custom made by Dard Hunter Studios.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Bank of windows
Another close up
Unfortunately, there is a little bit of bad news. We still need to repaint the dining room and I have the entire living room left to refinish. It better take less than 10 months this time. I am going to work on some other projects before I get up the motivation to go after that one. Here is what the refinished woodwork looks like next to the living room woodwork.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
When I took the hardware off the windows, I was surprised to find the original finish. This is the color I am trying to match. In the course of stripping the woodwork, I realized it was previously painted, then stripped, bleached, and refinished (poorly, I might add). Somehow, through all of that, it appears the window hardware was never removed.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
In the living and dining rooms, we are lucky enough to have the original quartersawn oak woodwork and unpainted, wood burning fireplace. We are unlucky enough that the woodwork has been painted, stripped, and poorly refinished over the course of 85 years. See my previous posts for more fun with woodwork.
Several of the rooms still have their original, bare bulb light fixtures. From the tiny chip in the picture below, you can see that these are brass underneath. I am betting there is some polychrome coloring as well. Stripping the paint off these will be the subject of a future post. The popcorn ceiling pictured below will be dealt with at some point as well.Working on the side entry is another project I have in the works. You can see where I have picked off some of the paint near the lock. The old linoleum floor has oak underneath, but I am worried that it might be in pretty poor shape from all the water that has gotten tracked in on people's shoes over the years. I am also in need of two new storm doors. The current aluminum ones are terrible. I have been checking every salvage store for a vintage one, but I am thinking I may need to go the reproduction route. Any suggestions on a good place to find an authentic looking wood storm door? Creating a full bathroom upstairs is another long term goal. The room pictured below is the nursery off our master bedroom. Our bungalow has a lot of headroom upstairs and this room is actually the rear dormer. Right now I think the trickiest part is going to be fitting a shower stall in this room somehow given the angled ceilings.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Just after the popcorn texture was removed.
Same corner after
Close up before
Once I was ready to actually refinish, I used the following process.
- Applied Transtint Golden Brown dye stain. Diluted according to the directions with equal parts denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner.
- Brushed on 2 coats of Zinsser Amber Shellac. I read a lot of different things about making your own shellac from flakes versus using the premade stuff. The amber Zinsser stuff contains wax which supposedly makes the finish less transparent. The bigger issue is finding premade stuff that is actually fresh. The date of manufacture is printed on the top of the cans. Based on books I have read, I try to make sure the shellac is less than 6 months old. This usually means going on a wild goose chase to find the freshest stuff.
- Applied Old Masters dark walnut gel stain. I spent a disturbing amount of time and money trying to find the right glaze. In my opinion, Old Masters dark walnut looks like a mix of Van Dyke Brown and Black. It has a fairly long drying time. Basically, I painted the gel stain on section of molding at a time, and then wiped off as much excess as I could. Abbott Paint in St. Paul and Lathrop Paint in Minneapolis carry Old Masters.
- Applied one layer of shellac to seal in the glaze.
- Applied a final coat of dark brown Briwax to give the molding a satin finish.
In the end, I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg and I have all the remaining woodwork in the dining and living rooms left to do.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Non-tree obscured view
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The picture below shows the various tools I used to remove the paint. I really liked using Soygel because it was really good at removing the final layer of wax and glaze without affecting the original color of the wood itself. I would apply a coat of soygel, let it sit for about 1.5 hours, then I would scrub it with the red bristled stripping brush. I would then wait another hour or so and start removing the residue with the black hard rubber potter's rib. The pottery tools in the upper right corner of the picture were great for getting into tough to reach spots. The blue brush is actually a denture brush that came in really handy for getting into corners. Once I got almost all the residue off, I used furniture refinisher to get anything that was left.
Now if I could just decide on a final finish.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I used the following process to refinish it. I decided not to use an initial dye on the wood since I liked the dark orangish color it already was. I started by cleaning it up with "furniture restorer", followed by 2 coats of shellac. I just use Zinsser Amber Shellac and mix it with an equal amount of denatured alcohol. The 50/50 mix keeps the coats thin. I then used a gel stain as a glaze. This time I used Old Masters brand dark walnut. Basically, I just paint it on, wait a few minutes, and then wipe off all the excess with t-shirt material rags. I follow that up with another coat of shellac. Lastly, I applied dark brown Briwax and buffed it with a t-shirt type rag. Obviously, I am no expert on mission style finishes, but I think it turned out pretty good.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
My wife has also been looking for a desk chair, so I convinced her to let me find an antique quartersawn oak one so I could practice my finishing skills. Being incredibly cheap, I bought the swivel chair pictured below on Craigslist. It needs a little rehab as you can see, but I think it will look great when all is said and done.
I really don't know much about the history of this chair, other than the label that says "Sperry Office Furniture, St Paul" on the back of the seat. Has anyone heard of, or know anything about this company? Please comment if you have.