This is an example of a very well made piece of furniture that the customer bought 8 years earlier. They loved the design and the quality, but their taste changed from the "pickled", or whitewashed finish to a more traditional and warmer finish.
This was the finish the customer requested to match their newer furniture.
This shows some of the detail required to complete the process. The original finish had to be stripped and the grain cleaned out so that an accent glaze could be used to make the grain "pop". Additionally, the customer requested deep distress marks to match the distressing on their dining set, and the wrought iron had to be refinished from the blue-gray original color to a bronze-black color. And still, this job was about a third the cost of replacing the furniture with comparable quality.
This is the matching coffee table to the above curio cabinet.
The customer felt the glass top was too contemporary for the new color, so a new top was made of matching oak with a slate tile center to create a more classic appearance.
The matching sofa table and mirror complete the set.
"When home refinishing goes wrong"
Originally blonde oak, this is the serving buffet from a dining set inherited from this young couple's grandparents. They made a valiant attempt to refinish it to a darker color, but the project was perhaps too ambitious for a first-timer.
This shows the results of properly stripping down to bare wood, cleaning out the pores of the grain, sealing and staining, then sealing again, applying a dark glaze to accent the grain, and final finishing, followed by hand-rubbing to a soft luster.
This shot shows the original blonde oak on the skirt of the table, and the overly dark stain applied by the owner that completely concealed the wood grain.
The same procedure as that used on the serving buffet was used on the table and chairs (yet to be upholstered) to create a modern and elegant dining room set.
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Furniture Refinishing & Antique Restoration of All Sorts
"Yet more blonde conversions"
There seems to be a growing trend to take quality furniture from the days when whitewashed finishes were in style and update them to warmer, more dramatic natural wood finishes.
This shows the dramatic improvement to the warmth and character of the entire room.
Left: Matching armoire has carved appliques that are highlighted with dark glaze.
Right: Close-up of dresser and mirror show detail required for quality refinishing.
"Loving husband vaporizes night stand"
A piece of a bedroom set that was passed on from a grandmother, a husband's good intentions turned bad when he tried to help his sick wife by putting a vaporizer on the night stand next to the bed. The vaporizer leaked and damaged the finish on the top.
Stripping the top and sanding until all evidence of damage was removed, the beautiful cherrywood was exposed, but then had to be colored to match the body of the piece. Lightly sanding and touching up minor scratches on the body, followed by clear lacquer brought this piece back to looking new without the expense of a complete refinish.
This old dresser was handed down from a loved family member, but didn't fit in with existing furnishings. Also, being around 40 years old and sitting in the garage for years, it was in bad shape, with loose joints, broken drawer glides, broken feet and loose molding. The owner decided to refinish it in white with a cherry top, use it as a TV stand, and leave out 2 of the top drawers for component storage.
The front foot had a broken point that needed to be re-built. Both rear feet where broken off and had to be replaced.
The glue holding the entire chest together had crystalized and almost every joint had to be reglued.
The white finish with the rich cherry top are in high style now. The drawer pulls were refinished in white and gold, and the concept all comes together with a "beachy" theme the owner wanted, tying in beautifully with the wicker chair and the cool blue wall
"Leather top desk"
This well-used desk was never meant to have a computer constantly dragged across it, which badly damaged the leather top. Also badly scratched, and the unfinished front corner was actually broken off, here showing the beginning stages of rebuilding the corner before finishing it to match.
The mandate on this job was to make the desk presentable without a complete refinishing. The front corner was repaired, all the scratches were touched up, and the leather was recolored, including the damaged gold border. The base drawer cabinets were also badly damaged, one corner being chewed by a dog, but in the end, a "major touchup" made it look beautiful again.
"Cute puppy, bad puppy"
"Danish Modern dining set"
This was another family heirloom from the late 1950's that had seen regular use throughout it's life. The top of the table and the leaves were in particularly bad shape, with stains, wear, and cross-grain scratches. The legs of the table and the chairs had only minor damage, however, so they were able to be rejuvenated without completely stripping them, saving the owner a lot of expense. The table top and leaves needed to be completely stripped to bare wood and the scratches sanded out, but the solid wood construction made this a table worth saving.
As is typical of older furniture, one chair joint was loose and had to be re-glued. A light sanding, followed by staining and lacquering brought the chairs and table legs back to almost new, and kept this project within the owner's budget. The table top and leaves required extensive work, but the result was worth the effort. This dining set should be good for another 50 years of regular service.
"Bit of a disappointment"
When I first saw this dresser, my impression was that it was well-made, but that the manufacturer had obscured the grain of the wood by applying too much tinted lacquer, which causes the beauty of the wood to be lost as the finish becomes too opaque. That would have been good news!
In fact, although the construction was very sound, the manufacturer developed an unusual shortcut. Rather than properly sanding and preparing the wood, they left it rough and applied a white filler (something like Bondo used in auto body work), then applied a faux finish, which is why the finish had a "muddy" look. Removing this was quite time-consuming, but was definitely worth it, as the underlying wood was of good quality, and took the stain and final finish beautifully.
The final result brings this piece to what it should have been from the beginning. The owner wanted it to be the same color as it originally was, but now the beauty of the grain stands out with a truly translucent finish. Toners (tinted lacquers) were used judiciously to create the dark accents that were part of the original design, and now a moderately priced piece of furniture looks like a very high-end piece.
To the left and right you see the edges of a beautiful Ethan Allen coffee cable that have been cut away from the table. The owner breeds Golden Retrievers, and a rambunctious puppy was left unsupervised to enjoy teething activities on what turned out to be a very expensive chew toy! Below are steps involved in duplicating the factory design of the molded edges, attaching them to the table, and blending and finishing to match.
Above to the left you see the table with the chewed edges removed and ready for the new wood. Center you see the rough molding attached and ready to be sanded, sealed and blended. And to the right is the final product, a nearly invisible repair, exactly duplicating the factory design.
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