Saturday, March 29, 2014

RCA Vintner

A couple of weeks back a man came to look at my pallet wood dresser. Dan wanted to use it as a wine cabinet. No way it was going to work. The part where I re-worked the missing drawer was not high enough to stack or lay bottles down. And the piece was too tall. I gave him a tour of my  garage used furniture warehouse. In one of my trips over to my friend, Ken's house, I picked up an old, vintage, probably 1940's television set that might be just the ticket. It looked like this....

The curved TV screen had been replaced with a piece of plate glass that was embedded with a hard putty-like substance similar to the plastic used in football player's mouth guards. From the bedding material stuffed in the corners, and the chopped away insides, it was obvious someone had used it as an aquarium, not for an aquatic species, maybe geckos or sugar gliders. Or snakes.

Dan was intrigued and I offered to gut it and see if it was worthy of re-purposing it for a totally different use. It had some pitting, peeling and veneer issues, but great 'bones'. Little did I know when I started it that I would have to remake the entire cabinet. Usually, it is a matter of painting the "outside" of something and calling it good. On this piece, I had to build the entire "inside" with wood because now its underpinnings would be showing.

I ended up removing the top veneer which was ripped and peeling. Underneath, it had a lath type quality that would take a combination of stain and paint nicely.

After I abused my hands prying this glass out, I had to reinforce the top perimeter for re-setting the top, and back all the areas that were getting new planked beadboard. There are pieces of pine, cedar, oak, maple, ash-it's a virtual forest in there.

Dan wanted a shelf put in the lower section that formerly was just a grid with fabric that held speakers. And, he wanted it cut wider than the top. The tough part was that the front of the cabinet was rounded so any trim I added, I would have to score the back of and bend, or salvage from the cut-off pieces. Nightmareville. I literally dreamed of this piece every night.

I gingerly removed the mitered casing around the screen area (and it was intact) to strip and re-use. My carpenter abilities are greatly lacking, even with the new saw Peter and Andrew got me for Christmas. Seriously, that was the greatest present I would never buy myself. I use it a hundred times a day.

Still looking like "what was she thinking!" I added screen trim along the bottom to give it more character.

Yes, this is my dining room. Don't even think of calling Adult Protective Services on me, I have toooools, and I can fake using them! Every piece had to be glued, clamped and screwed. Because I had so few good clamps, I could only do one side at a time and then wait for it to cure. I ended up buying a bunch of cheap, plastic clamps from the big box, to speed up the process. Mistake, they ended up snapping and flying around the room. Right out of an I Love Lucy episode. Between drying time, I rolled in my computer chair from project to project, sanding, painting, glazing, drawing, napping, (who put that it in there?)

Some areas that were rotted out, I replaced the wood. In other areas, I used my go-to, Bondo (for cars). It dries quick and hard as a rock. The secret is to putty knife it as smooth as possible.

I was hoping to save the logo and the knobs, otherwise, it really wouldn't be worth it to resurrect this piece.

This is where all the tubes were. I cut filler wood for the large areas and Bondo'd the rest. Then cut ReStore luan to fit over top. 

The planking beadboard panels are much easier to work with than the pre-painted sheet, and I just used what I had on hand, a bulk ReStore purchase when I didn't have a notion of what I would use them for. Score!

I don't ever remember turning a project  over and over, so much, to work on every angle. Here is a view of the framing out the bottom cut-out. I scored the back of the trim with a jigsaw so that it would bend. Every time, I expected to hear, "SNAP".

Dan wanted it to be a green blue, and I wish I had made a whole gallon. I LOVE this color. I have hundreds of containers of paint. Seriously. It felt like cooking. Add some of this, some of that, more of this, a touch of....

This photo cannot accurately reflect the true color, which is exquisite. Later, I sanded, glazed and poly'd it. I  knew that by adding the polyurethane, instead of waxing it,  it would give it the yellowish hue he wanted, to appear more green. By now I had no ____ing energy. [supply your own verb]

This view shows that pallet wood flooring I used for the bottom shelf and how the edges look trimmed out.

Now, it's taking on some character. Sometimes, I get up in the middle of the night and go look at it. It reminds me of an antique Chevy truck. Awesome.

These old tools are just weighing down the edges of the top so I can judge whether there is too much or not enough color. I had to apply a color to the top as all the acetone in the world was not removing some industrial glue that held the old veneer on.

I felt as though I were 'wrastling' an alligator trying to get this top on. I need to invent something that vacuum packs a piece until the glue dries. Hold it here to clamp, it moves. Clamp there, and it snaps. Drill there and oops....

 The knobs were damaged before I took them off. Someone had hot-glued them on and the number dial was split. I used a combination of Gorilla glue, wood glue, hot glue, finger nail polish and polyurethane to re-attach, so be forewarned about trying to change the channel. I pointed it to the No.4 for "D" and that is permanent. While I was cleaning (sleep walking in) my garage this morning,, I found another front section of one of the knobs and was able to pry/gouge/dig out the old glue and reattach. It makes the piece more symmetrical.

In order to expedite attaching the backing while waiting for the glue to cure, I cut the bead board planks and marked them first, so I could paint and distress beforehand. It's awfully hard reaching inside a narrow area to paint and sand. They are tongue and groove and a little pre-drilling keeps the nails from splitting the pine boards. I should be using a brad nailer, but the cable for it is hooked up to my heating system in the basement. [Don't ask.] All I had to purchase was a few pieces of trim wood and corner brackets to attach the top. One thing I discovered when I reinforced the top perimeter. I should have used wider wood. It was strong enough, but didn't give me placement for screws on the corner cleats. When I was contemplating the dilemma, I was turning over a small hinge in my hand. Eureka! Use hinges on all sides and it will connect and brace the pieces to each other and NOT OPEN. Genius. 

The only cost for this project was some trim wood (about $15.00) and 4 sets of hinges ($10.00). All other supplies were on hand.



My reclamation project went from a throw-away vintage RCA Victor television... 

to a usable home for a vintner's spirits. 


This posting was linked to Stephanie Lynn's Sunday Showcase Party No. 240.

By Stephanie Lynn


Becky at Beyond the Picket Fence

Beyond The Picket Fence


Gail Wilson at My Repurposed Life


As always,
La Verne

PS  No grapes were harmed during the filming of this tutorial. The wine bottles were borrowed, and full glass was filled with red and blue food coloring, and water.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The French or The British?

A couple of half finished projects have been clogging up my dining room walkway so I decided to finish them up, photograph them and move them to the Great Hall.

The first, is a small bedside table my friend Ken gave me. He should be my brother-he takes that good care of me. Naturally, I was on another planet when I should have taken the Before picture. So this is the During photo. [See in the left hand corner the little garden scoot? It is amazing how handy that thing is for entertaining kids, hauling groceries, moving furniture...]

After distressing, glazing and a matte poly, this little piece is looking pretty FRENCH.

Would look nice next to a bed or even in a Country French Living Room. 

No longer available.


This square table came to me by way of my friend, Debbie. It immediately screamed UNION JACK. I hadn't done a square one, only rectangular ones and dresser fronts. I think now I can do them in my sleep. There is a definite pattern, not just haphazard stripes. It is a combination of the Cross of St. Patrick, the Cross of St. Andrew and the Cross of St. George. 

The table itself is very sturdy. I could probably tap dance on it. Haven't done the shuffle step since I was 8.

Here is a view of it before distressing...

And, fini. This table could take a ton of kid abuse. Daughter, Bethany, was kidding her half British nephew about "storing" this table in his bedroom with all my other Union Jack pieces.

So, British or French, which piece do you like better?

Next week, I will be finishing up an American Girl (like) doll clothes storage tower, Before:

which will be donated to the Brunswick Relay for Life fundraiser (on April 5th), on behalf of daughter-in-law, Jen's mother, Sandi. Be sure and check back to see it completed. 


Also, in the next day or two, I will be posting the RCA Victor Vintage television that I have turned into a wine cabinet. Here is a Before preview:

You won't believe it is the same piece of furniture.

I really don't have a Great Hall; I have a Great Room and several halls. They are all the same...full of furniture in various stages of completion. One more coat of poly, then off to bed.

Angels on your pillow,
La Verne

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Puppy's got a Yin-yin" and other dog stories

I woke up early this morning with the memory of my 4 year-old self. I was running to put on my tennis shoes so I could kick the sheriff who was putting our badly mangled dog in his cruiser. "Puppy" had tangled with a wolf in the Minnesota foothills. The sheriff was taking our dog "to the farm". A 4 year-old doesn't know that "to the farm" and "buying the farm" are synonymous with "pushing daisies." The only other reminiscence of that dog was when he brought us some sort of large feathered bird which we thought was an Indian. Decades ago, it was not unusual to see fully regaled Native Americans in feathers near the Reservations. Hence "Puppy got a Yin-yin" seemed illogically logical to us.

I have been dog sitting  a Chiweenie (chihuahua/dachshund) for the past two weeks. If you knew me, you would not ask me to watch your canine. Ever. Other than that early experience, and a two week period when the neighbors gave us a Cock-a-poo in the '70's (involved mayonnaise, throwing up in the car, and scratching a Cadillac), I have no experience with animals. Give me a child, a sick adult, or a dying grandmother, and I will sign on for a lifetime; give me something that barks, craps on my carpet, or wakes me at 5:15 to go potty, and I will say, "you have the wrong girl". I don't do stairs, (but I did 8 times a day). I don't shop, (but when she chewed through her harness, I went to 3 stores to find a new one. She slipped out of that, so I finally braided some t-shirt cords into a collar).  I change diapers, (but when something purposely rolls in shit and requires a bath-the remnants should not look like I shaved a gorilla). It was supposed to be a one week commitment, but turned into two. I was anxious to see her go. She was anxious to leave. The End.


Projects this week:  A Union Jack coffee table, and a 1940's Vintage RCA television into a wine cabinet.

As ever,
La Verne

Friday, March 14, 2014

Quilting with wood

One of my all time passions from my "past" life has been quilting. There was no Ten Step withdrawal program for it, but I was definitely a "fabri-holic". I could not pass a fabric store without stopping in. My van made frequent trips out of my way to go to JoAnn and Minnesota Fabrics. I made pilgrimages to Amish country and only left the dry goods stores when darkness fell and I could no longer see in the light-less buildings. But as fingers and knees fail, and I can no longer get on the floor to baste the top to the batting, and other interests take over. I feel the loss.

Enter woodworking. For the past year, I have been "doing over" furniture. Mostly repairing and painting. Some stripping and refinishing, but that is less in vogue. My friend, Ken, gave me a small bedside table a few months ago. It had a cracked top that I thought I could mend, but it had other plans and when I glued and clamped it, warped badly. Scrap the plans I originally had for it (saving for a future project), but the old passion stirred and I decided to quilt with wood.

I had painted and cut up a lot of my plaster lath boards for a beach look on a piece I was working on for one of my daughter's friends; but the idea was nixed, and I was left with what a jeweler might consider junk, if they had smashed a large diamond to smithereens. [Picture teary eye'd me] I do like lemonade, so I resurrected those pieces and started to fit them into a puzzle the size of the table top. [Helpful hint: Don't ever fit the pieces to the actual 'under-board' you will use, because no matter how many pictures are taken, something is lost in the transfer.] As I wood glued the bottom board, I always wait for it to get a bit 'tacky' before placing the wood pieces, so they don't shift. This leaves little actual working time. Field conditions prevailed and I quickly cut and pieced so that I would not have to re-do the entire top. I'm pretty happy with the results.

I decided that my usual posting place of my brick wall was much too busy for this piece.

Lath board has such character

The night stand itself turned out pretty nice. I just used an OOP's paint I had and lightly distressed. All the materials I used in this project were on hand. The table was gifted to me, the lath boards Bethany and I gathered in the rain from a house in Cleveland, even the Minwax Poly Acrylic was sent as a replacement for product failure. Oh, I paid .50 for the OOP's paint.

I am seriously loving this piece, and there are no little threads that get stuck in the vacuum cleaner.
It will find a home at my sister's house at the end of May.

I am linking up with Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Friday, Stephanie Lynn's Under the Table and Dreaming, and Beyond the Picket Fence, in which Becky featured in the March 27, 2014 post.   

As ever,
same quilter La Verne (just different medium)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Put a little spice in your life

My friend Kat called the other day. She is running out of room in her kitchen cupboards and wondered if I had a spice rack in my stash. "Not per se, but I have shelves that may work as a spice rack." She and Stevan were on their way to the neighborhood, so I scrambled into the garage looking for it. One day, I will write a post just on the contents of my garage. I remembered that my friend Ken had found a dated 3 board shelf on his curb travels and gifted me with it. Initially, it was plain, unpainted pine.

After a chalky Oop's paint and distressing.

 Kat helped me get a bundle of beadboard ($7.00 from Habitat-only used 1 panel, so, $1.25) down from the garage attic, and I fitted it tongue and groove on the back side of the shelf. The compressor cord for Andrew's brad nailer is down the basement holding my hydroponic heat piping together, so I had to use tiny nails. I had a plastic jar full that I got from Habitat for 10 cents. Prorated, I used about 2 cents worth.

I cut tiny backing pieces and wood glued them on the inside edges, painted some old plaster lath boards from my friend, Lynn, and clamped away. 

The purpose of the lath board was to 'gate' the spices. My go to glaze on this project was Howard Restore a Finish, and finished with Minwax' s Wipe on Poly. No sense waxing as this cabinet will take a lot of abuse.

Close-up of the lath. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE lath. More than jewelry or a new car. 

I had considered these old wire hangers to attach for hanging towels, but found something better.

These photos do not show up well, but these are slices of a branch of an olive tree that my friend David found and cut for me. I baked the juice out of them and then I painted them to match the lath and drilled out the back. In my craft box I found and stained some small thread spools. These are not attached yet, but were sent home with Kat to acclimate to the idea.  I will add a photo when they are.

I grabbed some spices out of my cupboard for the photo shoot. Probably my favorite spice is Old Bay.

It's Friday, no crabs to put it on, but it tastes okay in tuna fish also. 

Total cost of the recycled shelf into a spice rack project was $1.27. But the contribution of friends? Priceless!

As ever, 
La Verne