It must be Memorial Day Weekend!

Two projects that have been on the docket for a couple of years now were taken care of today.  First, we took care of the garbage cans.

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We didn’t like the look of them sitting in the drive way so we made a little pad for them to sit on on the side of the house.

The plan.  Take a portion of the side garden (that we have to tackle eventually any ways) and put them there.

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Originally we were going to pore a cement pad on the side of the house, but the bricks work just fine, and best part is they are easy to pick up and move if we ever have too.

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You can still see them but it looks a lot neater.

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Next was the vegetable garden.  We have wanted one of these for a number of years, in fact I built the raised bed about 3 years ago and it has been moved from place to place around the yard since then!

We finally settled for a spot next to the deck.

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29 cubic feet of dirt later and presto!  Vegetable garden!  We are now the proud parents of 4 tomato plants, 3 squash plant, 3 zucchini plants and 3 jalapeno plants!

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Channeling our inner Downton

Happy Easter!  Once again we are hosting a holiday with a traditional sit down dinner which means out come the fine china and silverware.  So if we are going to set the table for our guests we might as well set it correctly…  It takes about two hours to set our table.  Our 1940′s dining room set is designed to seat six with the leaf in but we put an extension on the end (which I have to rebuild better…but that is another project for another day…) to seat the eight to ten that we are expecting.

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The tools of the trade: Scrap paper for doing math, and tape measures (yes multiple).   Ideally we would have a butlers stick; a 24 inch long device used to lay out a single place setting, but we cheat with a folding wooden ruler.

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40 minutes in and the plates are all positioned perfectly with a little over the required 24 inches from center to center.

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Next come the utensils and crystal, we are only having two courses at the table so no need for spoons as the desert course is buffet and casual.  We also put out less crystal this year to save valuable table space, we decided to do family style serving this year rather than turning the kitchen into a buffet.

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All set and ready for guests!

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Vintage Light Restoration

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There are a number of projects sitting in the queue and this was a simple one that I’ve been meaning to do on a snow day.  The lights are a pair of 1940’s (or earlier) buffet lights that used to be on the dining room breakfront before we got it.  I don’t ever remember them being on but they were always plugged in with light bulbs at the ready.

I remembered that they were pretty beat up and that I didn’t want to trust the wiring so I ordered some 18 Gauge Rayon wire and two vintage plugs from Sundial Wire.  The hardest part was picking the color.  I wanted to stay as original as possible, but what was the original color?  The rayon was brown now, so was it originally gold?  Cream? The on/off switch was brown so maybe the wire had been brown all along?  It couldn’t be gold, all the accent metals were silver.  I knew I wanted the wire to not attract attention so I crossed my fingers and went with white.

Below is a photo of the lamps direct from storage, it looks kind of like a DIYer Christmas present…

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Looking a little dingy and beat up, a couple of the crystals have fallen off.

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Disassembly begins!  It went quicker than I thought.  Everything is held together by a simple nut on the bottom, kinda scary actually!

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Everyone into the bath!  All the crystal and most of the metal end up in the sink with some Oxi Clean.  It is amazing what this stuff does to dirty and dingy crystal!

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The rewiring is done, Sorry no action shots.  A funny thing happened when I took the wiring off, turns out the original wire was white!  A portion had been protected for all these years in the threaded pipe.  I didn’t replace the sockets, they were in near perfect condition so I just cleaned them up.

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 An hour later, everything is sparkly clean!

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Finally assembly and their new home!

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Enjoying the Study

WP_20140203_007Another beautiful day, another excuse to light the electric fireplace! Especially when it looks like this outside…

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Table Restoration:: Part 1

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It has been a while since I posted any updates to the house project so you will have to excuse the fall photos in a February post.

There really was no restoration plan when we picked them up; we knew they matched what we were looking for and the price was unbelievable.  I knew that there was structural damage to one of the tables (not sure how bad), random cosmetic damages, chips, cracks to all 3 and the drawers were warped and damaged.  I wasn’t sure if we could salvage the finish or if we would have to strip them down and start over.

Upon closer inspection, as they sat awkwardly in the corner of the study, we discovered that in several areas the finish was gone and raw wood was showing. That pretty much solidified the plan, we were stripping them to bare wood and starting over…

The photo below is of the pieces in the back yard on a tarp with the first coat of stripper.

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This was our first experience with using stripper, it was exciting and terrifying all at once…

After several coats of stripper we did some disassembly to the pieces and switched to sanders. This photo is out of order, but it was the only one we could find showing what we took apart.

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We started with 120 grit sandpaper on the random orbit sander to get the rest of the finish off and to take off material from the tops to deal with some relatively deep scratches. After everything was sanded we switched to 220 to get rid of the scratches left from the 120 grit.  Finally we sanded everything with 320 in anticipation of staining.  This process also gave us an excuse to fill a bunch of knot holes and random dings in the surface.

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For the table tops we used router with a new profile to clean up the edges a bit.  You will also see that we have now moved to the workshop, the original plan was to have them ready by Christmas, but allas we couldn’t meet that deadline and the basement is warmer than the garage…

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The Coffee table had a leaf pattern lightly engraved on the side.  I wasn’t crazy about the design because it looked relatively cheap and took away from the overall clean line Queen Anne look of the piece.  Cleaning it up wasn’t any easier and some of the wood began to break off as we cleaned it.  The solution was to get a new piece to cover it, something a bit more decorative.  We found these Cherry Foster Centers online for cheap and they just about covered the old design.

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The only problem was that the new pieces didn’t quite cover the old outlines.  Nothing a little filler couldn’t solve.

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After staining, and the fact that top of the coffee table hangs over the details none of the filler will be noticeable.

Everything sanded and ready for staining.

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Next post we will cover the staining.

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Worlds best flea market buy?

Question: What do you get at a flea market for $15.00?

Answer: A coffee table and end table project!

Yes three matching Bassett furniture pieces with Queen Anne style legs stained in a dark cherry.  They need some TLC for sure, one end table needs to be taken apart and completely reglued, and the other is missing hardware and looks like someone started to strip the drawer down.

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All together they all need a good washing, new hardware, and a new clear coat.  Not a bad winter project!

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