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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The $32,000.00 Hat Rack

Yep!, That's right!  You can buy this combination hat rack and umbrella stand for only $32k.  Just one of the many fine pieces of furniture at the ICA show in Charlotte today.  I really loved this one.  It was made by special comission.  It is one of a kind and was handmade in America in the tradition of Black Forest pieces being made in Europe during the 1850s.  The immense elk antlers are real.  Each antler tip is capped with a carved wooden acorn.  The elk head is hand carved from wood.  The whole thing is over 7ft high.  It is a genuine showstopper.  Thought you all might want to see what a $32,000.00 hat rack looked like.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We Made It To The ICA Antique Show!

Well, it's almost 8pm and I am at the hotel.  Wow, a reallly long couple of days.  Lee Ann and I spent yesterday preparing last minute items for the show.  I managed to put together a couple of chalkboards made from antique picture frames.  I also did the faux finish on the vintage jewelery cabinet, that I am posting a tutorial on.   We did not get a chance to upholster it, but it seemed too nice not to bring it.  I will be posting pictures of it tomorrow. Tomorrow should be an interesting day.  This particular show features an early buyer viewing option.  Buyers can, for an elevated ticket price,  come to the show a day earlier than the general admission public to scope out the show.  We do not expect a ton of customer traffic tomorrow, but the word is that the ones that do show up are often serious buyers, who are there for a reason.  Many times these customers include interior deigners and their clients, who are armed with color swatches, fabric samples, and checkbooks. 

We finally finished loading the 2 trucks last night around 11pm.  Then we were up at 4:30am to throw our luggage and computer in with us and head off  to Charlotte!

We started unloading about 10am.  After working all day long trying to set up, we are still not completely done, but close enough to earn dinner at Denny's. 

There are a lot of stories, or maybe urban legends about clients spending obscene amounts of money at these shows.  I heard one such story a few months ago in Atlanta.  It was about a woman who walked into the show on the very last day with her interior designer and checkbook in hand.  Many of the antique dealers who were showing there had already packed up their trucks to go home.  This woman ended up spending roughly $40,000.00 in about 30 minutes from the dealers who decided to stick around the last few hours of the show.  You just never know what is going to happen.  Tomorrow could easily be a day like that.  Personally I would be tickled if I sold a few picture frames, and maybe a chalkboard.  I will let you all know tomorrow night how it went and will post some pictures.
Time to get some rest.


Monday, March 29, 2010

The Greentiques Solution Update

First of all I really need to thank everyone who has visited The Greentiques Solution lately.  Considering that my little blog is barely a month old, it has been really exciting for me to see so many visitors, comments, followers and contest entries.  Your support has been amazing.  Thank you.

Next, Classy Chassy won the Earth Hour Giveaway.  For those of you that entered and didn't win, don't depsair because your comment also automatically entered you in my March Oven Key Giveaway.  So you still have a chance.  By the way,  Classy Chassy has a great blog of her own called Expressly Corgi.  Stop by and visit her.  Here is the addy. 

Also, today I am preparing for the Spring Classic ICA Show.  Lee Ann and I will be setting up a booth there in the big circus tent.  The show goes from March 31-April 4.  I will be attempting to post from this great antique and collectibles extravaganza.  This will be a fun one.  I plan on taking lots of pictures so stop by periodically and take a look.

Keep up the good work!


And The Winner Of The Earth Hour Giveaway Is.......

Classy Chassy!  Here is her contest winning comment on her Earth Hour plans.

"I found your blog at Cozy Little House - and joined as a follower. Love your ideas for repurposing, and I do that myself quite a bit!

Of course I would like to enter your contest, and for the Earth Hour Event, Mr. Wonderful and I will be having a quiet dinner alone, candles lit, our hand-crank radio playing soft romantic music from a classical radio station as we share some home made dessert wine we received as a gift from my brother in law! Can hardly wait! We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on the 22nd, and it's been a wonderful romance all week long! "

Classy will be receiving one of my handmade fleur di lis oven keys in the mail.  All she has to do now is tell me what kind of wood she prefers and where to send it. I will make one custom for her to go with the cabinets in her kitchen.  Now she will be able to pull out her hot oven rack with this fun key, instead of searching for potholders.
Congratulations Classy Chassy and thank you for entering!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Meet My Friend - Cozy Little House

This post is about one of my recently found blogs, Cozy Little House.  I am not sure how we happened upon each other, but I am really glad we did.  This is truely a very kind and talented lady, with a love for flowers, poetry, quilting, photography and her beloved pets.

Her dogs names are Charlie and Abi, and these are a couple of real cuties.  Poor Charlie though has not been feeling well lately, so you might want to send him a little Get Well Soon coment.

I love the photography in this blog!  She has quite the eye for it.  Her nature shots are stunning.  Her blog gives you the feel of Easter and Springtime.  It is clean, uncluttered, and a piece pf little eye candy.  Please take the time to stop by and enjoy Cozy Little House. 
Here is the link.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tonight Is Earth Hour-Be Sure To Enter The Giveaway!

Some of you may have missed my post about my  Earth Hour Giveaway Contest. It is a great excuse to serve your dinner by candlelight tonight, or do something special for yourself.  Fun stuff!  Earth Hour 2010 is tonight at 8:30, so you need to enter soon.

Click on this post link for contest details.  Entering is really, really easy.

Good luck in the contest and have a great time tonight.

How To Refinish a Table - Part 5 - The First Clear Coat

Part 4 was about applying stain.  Today we will finally do a clear coat, but it may not be the kind of clear coat you were thinking of.  The first coat on this table will be a spray coat of clear shellac.  Here's why...Silicone based waxes have become quite popular in recent years and contamination from silicone can cause havoc in a finish.  I posted a little bit about this very subject in my "Tip of the Week".  I am not going to take any chances of having blemishes in the finish from silicone contamination.  I have found that the easiest way to avoid problems is just to go ahead and spray a coat or 2 of shellac on the table before I apply my polyurethane.  The shellac will act as a barrier between the silicone and the poly.

Before I apply the shellac, I need to do some last minute prep work.  I need to make sure the stain is absolutely even.  Color has to be consistent.  No blotches.  No sticky spots.  No dust. It must be completely dry.  To be honest, I am never completely satisfied at this point, so I have learned a little trick. 

I simply wipe the surface down with a paper towel, dampened with mineral spirits.  Doing this may lighten the stain slightly, but I gladly trade the little bit of color for the benefits of doing this.  It will give me absoloutely even color and eliminate most of any dust that has accumulated while the stain was drying.

  This table had the original "speckled" stain that was so common for a while.  It had little tiny black paint specks underneath the clear coat.  The owner of the table wanted me to duplicate it. So I need to add some specks before the shellac goes on.  It is pretty easy. I just use a very small amount of black acryilic paint, a little water, and a small, stiff, artists brush.  I mix the water and the paint to make it a little soupy.  Then I dip the brush in the paint, and pull back the bristles with my thumb and release them to create sort of a misty spray.  It seems to work better if I hold the brush up fairly high and don't load the brush with too much paint.  Take your time and get your specks consitsent across the entire table.  Then let it dry completely.

Now it is time to spray the shellac.

I use the spray version because I don't want to disturb any silicone.  I just want to spray over the top of it, and seal it off from future coats.

Use nice even long strokes. Make sure the surface is covered completely.

Here is a little trick to avoid having to tape off edges.

I didn't want to get any shellac on the table skirt, so I held a piece of hardboard, just under the top to block the spray.  Any thin piece of wood or stiff cardboard will work.  It was a real time saver on this project.

When you are done spraying it should look like this.  Can you see some of my applied paint specks?
That's about all there is to applying shellac.  It dries fairly quickly.  If I want to apply a second coat I could do it right over the top of this coat within a couple of hours.  But before I apply polyurethane I will let the shellac cure completely, overnight.

We are closing in on finishing this project.  Next will be about applying polyurethane.  Poly can be a little tricky, so don't miss this next step.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Earth Hour Party Plans Giveaway Contest

Okay, okay, I know you are all pretty busy out there with plans for Easter, but tomorrow night there is a 1 hour event that is about to take place called Earth Hour 2010.  All you have to do to participate is turn out your lights.  I personally think it is a great excuse for a last minute party, or a candlelit dinner, or that bubble bath in the dark with your favorite glass of wine.  (You know you deserve it.)  I would love to hear what you all are doing for this planet saving event.  And to make it just a little more fun I will sweeten the deal.  Whoever posts the best comment about their personal Earth Hour event, will get a free gift from The Greentiques Solution.  I am not sure what it will be, but it will be one of my own handmade items.  I promise to make it worth your while. Deadline to enter is Sunday at midnight. I will announce the winner on Monday.

To enter you only need to do 2 things.

1. Become a follower, if you haven't become one already.

2. Post a comment about your Earth Hour event.

Best Comment wins. That's all there is to it.

Earth Hour 2010-Quarterback Tom Brady Announcement

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How To refinish A Table - Part 4 - Applying The Stain

We are finally ready to put some color on this table.  It's been stripped,  washed, taped, and sanded.  Now it's time for some stain.  Here is a pic of the table top ready to go.

Note that the edges are now done and it has good consistent color over the entire top. 

Not long before I apply stain or finish I like to wipe the wood down with mineral spirits and a paper towel.  This cleans up most of the sanding dust and debris.

Can you see the dust collecting on the paper towel?  This is a great little trick.  By wiping it down with mineral spirits, I can also see what the grain is going to look like.

I really like to use oil based stains, especially on antiques.  For one thing, oil based stains seem to cover better.  For another thing, I think the beauty of an oil based stain is unbeatable.  I believe that the more beautiful a finish I can create, the better it is for the environment.  Whenever I refinish something for someone I strive for "heirloom" quality.  I want it to the kind of treasured piece of furniture that they will keep for generations to come.  If I can create an heirloom piece that will be treasured for another 50 years, I have done my job and helped save the planet at the same time.  Think of the reduction in landfill waste if everyone's dining room table was so lovely that there was no reason to buy a new one, except every 50 years or so.  

When I apply stain, I usually use a paper towel.  Paper towels are cleaner than rags and they do not catch on edges as easily.  I also do not have to deal with lint contamination when using a paper towel, and I use less stain too.  I can usually get away with using only 1 paper towel to apply stain to an entire table top.  Very little waste. 

 Make sure your wood is completely dry.  The mineral spirits must be completely evaporated.  Then dip that paper towel in the stain and get to wiping!

There is a distinct possibility that you may prefer to wear gloves during this step.  Don't be stingy with the stain.  I am using a dark walnut here.  Let it soak in for a few minutes.  The directions on my can say 10-15, but that will vary alot, depending mostly on temperature.  The idea is not to let it dry.  You want to wipe off the excess stain before it gets sticky.

Here is the color after I have wiped off the excess stain.  Nice and even.  No blotches.  Consistent color.  I will let this dry overnight.  I want it to be completely dry before the next step.  That is about all there is to staining.  It is not too tough.   You can wipe off your hands with mineral spirits and then wash them with soap and water.

 Make sure your used towels get thrown in your water bucket to avoid a fire hazard.

Next time I will be doing post on applying the first clear coat.  It is a pretty important step.

Keep up the good work out there!

Record Traffic Day At The Greentiques Solution-Only One Problem-Uh Oh

Wow! A record day yesterday at The Greentiques Solution.  I am sooo thankful of the hundreds of people who stopped by to visit my humble little blog.  Thank you all very, very, much for the incredible turnout.

Ut oh.

Houston, we have a problem.

Apparently my follower button came up missing.  I don't know where it went.  But somewhere in the fray, it fell off the page and I can't find it anywhere.

Perhaps that explains why with so many visitors, we only had a couple of new people push the follow button.  You know, being that there was no button to push, and all.

My apologies to those who tried to follow, but couldn't.  I am working on a fix to the issue. 

Meanwhile, for those of you who would still like to follow, I have a solution for you.  Just go to the very, very, top left of the main page and click on the word "follow".  That's all there is to it.  Most people I think, don't even know it is there.  But, it works just like one of those fancy smancy follow buttons.  Give it a try!

Once again, I apologize for any inconvenience.  Hopefully I can find some sort of industrial adhesive to keep the darn thing on there, once I find it again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

International Collectibles and Antique Show-Spring Classic Announcement

It's official.  We will be setting up a booth at The International Collectibles and Antiques Show Spring Classic, located in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Show dates are  March 31-April 4th.  It is one of the biggest shows of it's kind in the country and we are proud to be a part of it.  Tents are having to be set up to accomadate the huge number of vendors that will be attending.  Our booth will right square in the middle of the huge circus tent ( tent #2), spaces 18 and 19.  Lee Ann and I would love for you to stop by and meet us, if you can make it. 

Here is a pic of our booth from  last month's show.

This will be a show where we are pulling out all the stops.  We will be bringing a nice selection of our handmade candlesticks this time.

Lots of our window mirrors and antique picture frames.  Here is one of our latest.

And we will be bringing more furniture and pretty much  more of everything.  So much more, that we are bringing a second truck.  The booth should be packed.  Gotta love it!  Lee Ann and I really hope to see you there.

Here is the link for show directions and information.

More on this great show later.  Rory

Earth Hour 2010 - Saving The Planet with The Flick of a Switch

If you have not heard about Earth Hour 60, let me tell you a little bit about it. It is an effort to bring awareness to global warming by attempting to get everyone on the planet to turn off their lights on March 27th at 8:30 pm. My household will be participating. It is my hope that you will too. This is just one of those very small ways that I talk about in my editorials on how 1 individual can make a difference. All you have to do is flick a switch to participate. Please watch the videos I have posted, and pass the word along about this green event. If you would like to visit the Earth Hour 60 website, here is the link.

Earth Hour 2010 - Lights Out On March 27th

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Hand Carved Spoons - Fleur Di Lis and Heart

In addition to my antique restorations and countless other projects, I occasionally do a little wood carving.  This is a spoon I just finished out of solid walnut. It is about 11 inches long.  The fleur di lis design is carved on both sides.  Whenever I carve spoons l like to sand them to a fine lustre, and then hand rub them with pure mineral oil.  That way they are food safe.  This particular spoon is available for sale in our Etsy store for $39 plus travel.

I also just finished this one, out of solid mohogany.  It was not as complicated to carve as the fleur di lis, but I really like it.  It has sort of a prim, folk art look to it, I think.  It is also in our Etsy store for $19 plus travel.

I thought since I was carving a fleur di lis spoon that I might as well make some fleur di lis oven rack pullers, as well.  This one is out of solid oak.

This one is made out of solid walnut.  Take your pick, oak or walnut,  $19 ea plus travel in our Etsy store.
If you have any interest in one of these you can visit our store at....

Have a teriffic day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

March Giveaway-Be Sure To Enter

Just a reminder.  The Greentiques Solution is having a giveaway this month.  This month's prize is one of my oven rack keys.  No more burning your hands when checking the oven, if you have one of these!  Just hook the key on your oven rack to easily push it in and out.  I make them myself out of solid maple,  sand them to a satiny lustre,  and finish them with food safe mineral oil.  

It could not be easier to enter.  Just comment on any post and I will put your name in the hat.   Rory

Rory's Tip of The Week-When To Use Shellac

Shellac has become at least in some respects the poor stepchild of finishes.  Although it was popular as a furniture finish in the 1800s and in the 1900s up until around 1920 or so, it has since been overshadowed by other products such as laquers and polyurethanes.  But, it definitely has it's advantages, and should not be overlooked.  When refinishing furniture I consider it a staple item.  Here are a few instances when I use shellac.

Shellac is an all natural product.  It is a by-product of a bug found in India and Thailand.  Shellac is often used in the maufacturing of candies and food products.  If you are looking for a product that when dry is one of the more non-toxic fiishes that you can use then shellac might be the one for you.

Shellac is clear or can be tinted to give you some color choices.  It comes in a spray can or in a brush on formula.  If you decide to use the brush on method you will want to cut the shellac with denatured alcohol, so buy a can of that as well.  The amount of alcohol you add will vary according to your needs.  A good starting point is a 50-50 mix until you get used to it.  It also comes premixed sometimes, in an amber or orange variation.  I use the amber quite a bit.  If you read my post about handmade Easter eggs, you may remember where I dappled some amber shellac on the eggs to give them some color variations. 

Shellac is known for a warm soft glow, especially the amber version when dry.  I like it a lot for refinishing old wooden sleds, prim flour bins and soft woods like pine and cedar.

I  also use it as a primer or sealer, especially when refinishing a dining room table.  Here is why...Over the years silicone based furniture waxes have become more and more common.  Silicone contamination of a piece of bare wood can be catastrophic.  Silicone, if left unchecked, will often cause a condition called "fisheye" in a fine finish.  In cases of severe contamination, it will cause your freshly coated table to look like it has the chicken pox.  It is pretty awful to contend with.  The really bad thing about silicone contamination is that you can't see it ahead of time, sanding won't take it out, mineral spirits and solvent won't remove it, and neither will paint remover.  So what do you do?  Shellac to the rescue!  Just apply a coat of shellac as a primer, before you put on your hard coat.  The shellac will seal off the silicone and keep the fisheye out of your finish.  I have gotten where I use it almost as a rule when refinishing dining room tables.  For this application I usually use the spray version.

Shellac is incredibly beautiful on old, worn, pine flooring.  It does not hold up to wear very well, but it can be reapplied to traffic areas where needed, and it dries quickly.  There was a time around the turn of the century when floors were commonly finished with shellac.

Shellac is also a really easy finish to use.  This is a good one for beginners.  It is a very forgiving finish.  The disadvantage of shellac is that it is not nearly as durable as a laquer or polyurethane,  so I don't apply it as a top coat on pieces that get a lot of use.  But,  it's  hard to deny the  advantages of shellac in the workshop.  Give it a try. 


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rory's Editorial Post of The Week- The Economic Impact of Fixing a $5 Chair

I have purchased possibly hundreds of chairs over my lifetime for next to nothing.  $5 is usually my limit to spend on old broken ones, and sometimes I am able to pick them up for free.  I like free.  Free is one of favorite things.   I have made a living at times picking up free stuff, fixing up free stuff, and reselling that same stuff for a tidy profit.  I do it all the time.  But the impact of fixing a chair is way more than putting a few dollars in my wallet.  Let's look at it...

If I buy a $5 chair at a garage sale from Ellen, that might be lunch money for her daughter at school on Monday.  By making that  purchase I just stimulated the economy (and the educational system) in a very small, but very effective way.  The money went straight from me to Ellen.  There was no middleman.  Ellen benenfited from the entire $5.  It is unlike a goverment program because  Ellen and I know where our money went.

As for me, I now have a chair that would have probably ended up in a landfill.  I know I can fix it and make it useable again.  It might even accidentally be cute when I am done with it.  So, it is one less chair taking up space at the city dump.

Once it is fixed, lets assume it is worth $50.  Let's also assume that  all it needed was some elbow grease, and no materials were used, to speak of.  That means my personal economy was just stimulated and now I can buy 10 more $5 chairs.  That is 10 more chairs that will never see a landfill.  How are we sounding so far?

It gets better.  If I sell 10 old chairs that I fixed up, that means that americans won't be buying 10 new chairs that were probably made in China.  It means there is less lead based paint being shipped here, along with less styrofoam, formaldehyde, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, etc.,  not to mention that my fixed chairs are no doubt of better quality than those coming from China, and will last longer.

It gets even better.  I am just one guy.  I have a very humble blog with a little over 30 followers.  But suppose all 30 followers did the same thing I did, and fixed 10 chairs?  300 chairs makes a pretty big pile.  When I was a kid I once went to a school that had less than 300 chairs.  The potential impact of a $5 chair is huge.

Chairs aren't your thing?  Money doesn't matter to you?  Okay, how about quilts?  Think about this.  What if 30 members of your club, civic group, or church, got together and each of you made 10 quilts out of unwanted, free clothing?  That is 300 blankets that could be distributed to America's homeless.  Would 300 blankets make an impact? 

Many of you that are reading this post already understand the concept I am talking about.  In some respects I am probably "preaching to the choir".  So, I urge you to pass along this post, in an effort to help people understand what it means for americans to buy locally, to buy handmade, to repurpose, and to fix rather than buy new. 

Meanwhile, please let me know if I can help you by making this blog more valuable to it's followers.  Do you need a tutorial on a subject? have a question? a comment?  I am here to help.  Let's work together. 

And thank you for following The Greentiques Solution.


How To Refinish A Table-Part 3-Sanding The Table

This table has what is called a "parquet" veneer top meaning that several pieces of veneer have been lamininated in such a was as to make a geometric design.  In addition the veneer is also "Butterflyed", meaning the grain is matched in the middle.  The easiest way to explain a butterfly veneer application is to imagine 1 piece of veneer that is split in half and then unfolded, and applied to the table substrate with the grains matching up to one another.  The reason all of this is important is that whenever you can, you would like to be able to sand with the grain. This way you avoid unsightly scratches in you wood.  Most tables have grain going only one direction, from one end of the top to the other end, but not this one.  It presents a problem or 2 because of the parquet geometric design. What I did in this case was to tape off each section of veneer and sand it independently and completely by hand. This way I could sand with the grain and avoid some pretty awful scratches and sanding marks.

This picture shows me sanding with the grain, right up to the edge of my tape line.  I use blue masking tape because it is easy to pull off, and I can sometimes even reapply it when doing the next section.  When applying the tape I place it about 1/32 of an inch outside my sanding area.  I take my time and do 1 section at a time.  Here I am using 180 grit.

So how do you know what grit to use? It really depends on the type of finish you are going to do.  On this table I will be doing a very formal polyurethane finish with an oil based stain.  So, in this case I will not use a sandpaper grit finer than 220.  Only later, after I have applied my final coat of polyurethane will I go to a finer grit.  If at this stage I use too fine a grit, my stain will not penetrate as well and my polyurethane will not adhere to the wood as well.  I want the wood to have a little bit of "tooth" when applying poly. 

So, how does a person know when a surface is smooth enough to either quit sanding or go to a finer grade sandpaper?  Here is the easy answer....When the color of the wood is consistent and looks clean, stop. Thats it.  Don't try and judge smoothness. Just look for a nice consistent color across the entire piece of wood.  When the color is consistent, move on to the next step or finer grade. 

Notice how on the right portion of this table it is slightly light in color than the left.  The right side is very consistent in color and is done being sanded.  If you look closely you can also see how the matched grain pattern meets in the middle.  This is an example of butterflying.

I used a sanding block to smooth and clean the edges of the table.  I like to use a sanding block when I can, because it gives me a nice flat result, as opposed to just using my hand.  It is also a little less labor intense.  Sanding blocks are fairly inexpensive and can be real time savers, as well.  There was not the parquet grain to contend with on the edges, so it was pretty easy.  I started with a coarse 60 grit sanding until the edge was clean and the color was consistent.  I then switched to 180 grit to complete it.

Here is the before and after photo.  This should give you a good idea of what clean and consistent color looks like.  I hope this post was helpful.  The next part of this series will be about applying stain.
Have a great day!

Friday, March 19, 2010

My Handmade Easter Egg Project-Part 2-Painted and All Done

Today I finished my handmade Easter egg project.  Here is a picture of the raw wooden eggs after I was finished turning them on my lathe.  If you read the last post you may remember that I made them out of some scrap oak and pine that I had lieing around.  They varied quite a bit in size and shape and some I would describe as being pretty crude.  But, to me that was fine because I wanted a very prim look.  Some of you crafters out there are making some terrific prim bunnies and I wanted eggs that would fit into that decor. 

Here are the same eggs, most of which I went ahead and faux finished.  The attempt was to get great color with a lot of variations as if some of the colors were ageing and wearing off in places.
I used a special technique I am fond of involving latex flat paint.  While the paint is still very wet I take a plant mister and spray the egg to create a washed effect.  I then apply a white glaze, followed by some dapples of amber shellac with a paper towel.

A closeup so you can see the detail. 

I didn't paint all of them.  I wanted some more contrast, so I left a few raw.  Hope you enjoyed my little project.  Let me know what you think.  I would love to see some of your Easter projects as well.  Tell me what you are doing.

Why do you visit a particular blog?-The Poll Results Are In!

I asked visitors to to click on a poll and leave comments about why they visit and become a follower of certain blogs.  The idea was to get some feedback from a few of you, in order to hear what you would most like The Greentiques Solution to concentrate on. Here are the results...

A whopping 50% of you stated you visit blogs for "fresh ideas".

Not far behind, 40% of you stated that you visit blogs mostly for the "tutorials".

A distant 3rd at 10%, people stated that they visit blogs for "expert advice".

A big thank you to those of you who participated in the survey.  If you have not noticed, I have added a couple tutorials recently and am working on some fresh ideas for all of you.  Keep up the good work out there!  Rory

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Latest Flea Market Find-Gotta Love It!

I thought you all might enjoy this old wooden storefront sign I found at a flea market yesterday.  I was thrilled to get it. It measures about 3 ft tall x 3ft wide and is carved on both sides.  I am hoping to take it with us to the next antique show, either Charlotte or Atlanta.  I thought it might be a great accessory for a baby room.  What do you all think?

Rory's Tip Of The Week-Avoiding Fire In the Workshop

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, one of my favorite antique shops to visit was on the outskirts of a tiny Missouri town.  It was in a huge old wooden barn on the owners property.  The mammoth roofing beams of the barn were made of solid walnut.  The barn siding was attached with square nails.  Inside that barn were some of the best american oak pieces I have ever seen, to this day.  Round oak tables with carved lion heads and claw feet, curved glass china cabinets with serpentine fronts, huge roll top desks, and set after set of carved chairs were all common staple items there.  In those days, turn-of-the-century oak was a hot commodity (pardon the pun) and inside this old barn was some of the best in the country...........And then one summer day, it all burned down. There was nothing left.  All was lost inside and out.  Once that old wooden barn caught fire there was no stopping it.  And like a lot of fires it was due to one careless mistake by the owner that could have easily been prevented, if he just would have followed this one piece of advice I am going to give you. 
The cause of the fire was determined to be from the spontaneous combustion of some paper towels, that were soaked with old paint remover.  The owner had been out in the barn stripping a piece of furniture on a cool summer morning.  As he was wiping off the remover with the paper towels, he simply tossed them on the floor, so he could throw them away later, all at once.  Stripping furniture was not new to him.  He had had done this hundreds of times.  He had a system and it worked fine for him until that one particular day.  When he was almost done with the stripping he became sidetracked and left the paper towels where he had thrown them.  Later on in the day the weather warmed up.  By the afternoon it was hot outside.  The direction of the the light from the sun changed and it started to shine inside the barn window.  It is believed that at some point the sun managed to shine through the barn window and into a large mirror not far from the pile of paper towels.  That is all it took.  It was over in a single afternoon.

So here is my simple tip of the week, to keep this from happening in your workshop.  Do like I do.  Keep a metal bucket handy, about half full of water.  As you discard old paper towels and rags, throw them in the bucket of water, and let them soak until they are ready for your trash pickup.  Also, be especially careful with old steel wool.  Steel wool is what they sometimes teach boyscouts to make campfires with.  When  steel wool is contaminated with something like mineral spirits or paint thinner it makes an easily ignitible combination.  So, also throw your old used steel wool in the bucket when you are done with it too.

Periodically I will take a stick and push all the flammables down into the water to make sure they all are completely soaked with water.  Follow this procedure any time you are using products such as stains, shellac, laquer, polyurethane, paint strippers, linseed oil, mineral spirits and thinners, or anything else that is a potential fire hazard. We are seeing the first signs of warm weather right now, so this tip becomes even more important in the upcoming months.  Be safe! Rory

Note: In the future I will be putting various condensed tips on the sidebar that may be of help to you as well as writing occasional full posts like this one.  I am here to help you.  Feel free to comment or send me questions. Keep up the good work.  Rory

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Handmade Easter Egg Project-Part 1

Not all of my projects are huge.  Really they aren't.  It just may seem that way to some of you who have been reading about my furniture restorations.  Here is one of my latest small projects.  I had some scrap wood going to waste and I decided to turn my own easter eggs on a lathe.

Some were pretty big, about 4 or 5 inches long.  Others were about the size of a real, medium, chicken egg.  I used a variety of woods, including yellow pine and oak.  There was no rhyme or reason for the types of woods.  It is just what I had available.  I do though love the variances you get in color shades and grain patterns.  The large one shown is pine.  The 2 smaller ones are oak.

Here are a few in an old wooden bowl that I also hand-turned on a lathe.  I have plans to eventually use the bowl for a wood carving project.  I may experiment with some faux finishes on the eggs in a day or 2.  I will let you all know how that goes.  Hope you are all having a great St. Pats Day!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How To Refinish A Table-Part 2-Stripping The Finish

Well, here we go. Stripping the old finish.  This gets a bit messy but it's just part of creating the masterpiece.  I put a photo above showing  some of the tools I often use when doing this job.  In addition to what you see here you may want to include a small wire brush and a paint scraper.  Another thing I do is to keep a hose handy and a bucket of water.  The hose is for safety reasons.  No matter how careful you are, even if you wear goggles and gloves, there is always an odd chance of being splashed with paint remover and needing access to a water hose.  The bucket of water is to put rags and paper towels in when they are saturated with a flammable substance such as paint remover.  Don't let this part of it scare you.  You just need to take some simple precautions.

Here you see the spot on the tabletop where the grandaughter spilled the nail polish.  This is the problem I was hired to solve.

The first thing I do is apply a coat of paint remover with an old natural bristle brush.  I am not wearing gloves here, but you will probably want to.  This particular brand of remover is easier on my hands than most and I am pretty used to it.

I like to use a "semi-paste" paint remover.  It is fairly thick and it stays wet longer than the regular liquid kind.  After I apply it with a brush, I let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes, then I scrape it off with my paint scraper.  Be careful not to gouge the surface of the wood with your scaper.  The parquet surface of this table is a thin veneer and you do not want to damage it.  You may want to do a second coat of paint remover.  That's fine, but especially with veneers, less is better.  You don't want to cause delamination of the glue and end up with lifting veneer.

After the remover has been scraped up, I take a natural bristle scrup brush, some dish or laundry soap, a bucket, and some cold water and quickly scrub the whole thing down.  Note that I said quickly. You don't want to water log the wood.  You just want to quickly scrub off the leftover residue from the paint remover, rinse it well with more clean cold water, then wipe off the excess water.  Some people are apalled by this step including some old time woodworkers, who argue that you risk raisng the wood grain, warping, veneer issues, etc.  But this is the way I have done it for over 3 decades, and the process works.  Just remember that all you are doing is scrubbing off the paint remover residue and rinsing it off fairly quickly.  This scrubbing step probably only took me a total of about 5 mintes to do the entire table top.

And here is the result.  Nice, clean, and ready for sanding.

Here is the before and after.  What little bit of soapy film you see will easily be taken care of in the sanding step.  There are some challenges to face in sanding a parquet veneer top, so that will be in Part 3. 
Until next time,

In Case You Missed It! My Restored Dining Room Table!

The photo in the page header right now is of a  wonderful old table I restored about a month ago, when I was just starting the blog and had only 1 or 2 followers.  Now, thanks to wonderful craftspeople like yourselves I am slowly but surely gaining more followers.  So for those of you that missed this picture before, I thought I would run it as a blog header for a little while.  If you would like to read the post on it, you can find it in the February 21, Old and Vintage Post section, located on the sidebar.  Later today, I will be posting Part 2 of  How To Refinish a Table.  So if you have a desire to learn how to produce a formal elegant finish on your dining room table, like I did on this one, make sure you check back later.  I will be showing the process I go through to strip old finish.  More later.  Rory

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Greentiques Solution Weekly Editorial Post - Why Crafters Are Saving America

My first weekly editorial post of hopefully many to come is more of a thank you letter to fellow craftspeople.  It is because of the combined efforts of people like you that I think America is going to be just fine, even though there is still a lot of hard work to do.  In these days of a poor economy and high unemployment, many of us have gone back to our roots, learned to live simpler, and are supplementing our income with little more than our own 2 hands and a few basic materials.  It reminds me at times of how people managed to survive The Great Depression. People like crafters and craftspeople are learning to do more and more, with less and less, much like they did after the 1929 stock market crash.  During that time they spent less money, learned to be more frugal, made their own bed quilts and clothes, and fixed what they had instead of buying new, much like we all are today.  Now, some economists would say that americans spending less money is a terrible thing.  But I have to tell you,  I completely disagree.  It's not the amount of money that americans spend, it's where they spend it!  For instance, I get excited every time I see a fellow blogger who has puchased a $5 item at a garage sale and is able to fix it up and make some money with it, because I know that the entire $5 is helping the local economy.  But, I get annoyed when we spend $100 at "zmart" knowing that our $100 is going almost entirely and directly to China.  The other day I heard where China has the #1 growing economy in the world!  Anyway,  I love the fact that we have more and more  people every day like you, that are finding new ways to use old things, and are out there trying to handcraft their own income.  I think America will be fine because of it. Thank you all for working so hard and doing what you do.  Please allow me to return the favor by answering any questions you might have that might be within my area of expertise, such as antiques, furniture repair, chair caning, refinishing, woodworking or whatever.  It would be my pleasure to help.  Thank you again for being part of The Greentiques Solution.

How To Make a Vintage Jewelery Cabinet - Part 2

In part 1 I talked about Lee Ann and I having dreams of turning this 5ft high 1920s wardrobe into a giant jewelery box for her vintage jewelery and her handmade fur pillows.  Today in Part 2 I am showing what was involved in glueing the veneer back in place that was popping up everywhere. Now I want you to now up front that if this looks like a ton of clamps, it's because it is.  However, even though I own a good selection of clamps, I did not have nearly enough for this project.  I had to borrow some for the day from a local woodworking guild that I belong to.  
Originally the veneer on this cabinet was applied with a type of "hide" glue, derived probably from rabbit hide.  It was the strongest glue of it's day.  Some craftsman still prefer to use it over other types.  I don't.  Beyond the thought of raising bunnies for the purpose of glueing wood together, hide glue is somewhat of a pain to use.  For this project, I am using Titebond 2,  which is a yellow woodworker's glue.  You can get it just about anywhere that sells building supplies. 

When doing a glueup, there are a few things to remember.  "Clean is King".  Make sure your surfaces are clean that you are bonding together.  If the surfaces are not clean, take a little sandpaper and scuff off any dirt or old glue.  This is a must, especially when you have a project like this one where hide glue was used.  Hide glue tends to crytallize when it gets this old and it leaves a gritty residue behind that does not bond very well. 

Take your time and examine the entire project before clamping or putting glue on anything.  Run your hands over it.  Inspect all the structural joints and tap your fingernails across areas of veneer you think may be loose.  You will hear a different sound when you tap on a loose spot.  By taking your time here, you will avoid unwelcome surprises later.  When you are satisfied with your knowedge of what needs to be done, and you have cleaned your glue surfaces with sandpaper, it is time to "test clamp".  Get out you selection of clamps and clamp your project together without using glue at this time.  This will solve a lot of issues when go to glue it up for real.  Notice here that I have put some long strips of wood between the clamps and the cabinet.  These long wood strips will keep the clamps from damaging the cabinet when I tighten the clamps.  It will also help give me even clamping pressure over the entire veneer piece.  I sometimes spray a little water on the wood strip with a misting bottle just before I do my actual glueing and clamping.  By doing that, it makes it easier to remove, should I get some excess glue on the wood strip. When I was finally ready to glue everything together, I gently pulled back the loose veneer and ran my glue down into the crevices.  I used a piece of old sandpaper, and some veneer scrap to help push the glue where I needed it to go.  Make sure that everything has glue.  Tighten up your clamps.  When you are done tightening, go around and check all your clamps to make sure nothing has loosened up in the process.  Retighten as needed. Wipe off any excess glue as you go. It is best to leave everything clamped overnight if possible. When the glue is dry, remove your clamps carefully and inspect as you go.  If any of your wood clamping strips have stuck to your project a light tap another piece of wood will ususally pop it right off, as long as you misted it with water before you applied your glue.
With any luck at all you won't have anywhere near the amount of glueing to do that I did with this old wardrobe.  This part of the project was really not difficult even though it may have looked overwhelming at the onset.  Now that everything is glued, the rest should go fairly quickly.  Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.  I am always glad to help you if needed.  -Rory-

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Custom Search Feature For Crafters

Today I installed what I think is a pretty cool feature on The Greentiques Solution blog.  It is a  Google Search engine that I have customized to better suit the needs of crafters, antiquers, prim collectors, woodworkers, interior decorators, and the like.  You can still search the entire web with it, but I installed some keyword parameters that make this particular search engine more suitable for people of our interests.  The idea here is that when you search for something like "beads" the search engine pulls up beads for crafters and jewelery makers first and foremost.  This way you won't have to sift through countless sites dedicated to an entirely different kind of bead that you don't care anything about.  You can find this feature in the upper right sidebar.  Please give it a try and then post a comment for me.  I am interested in what you think.  By the way, you can see the results of your search without ever leaving The Greentiques Solution blog.  Enjoy!  -Rory-

How To Refinish A Table - Part 1

I am often hired to do comission work, by interior designers who need something special done, or by an individual who wants their fine antique restored.  The calls I get are always varied in nature and I pretty much take on everything that gets thrown my direction.  I find that after 35 years of projects that if I have never done it, that I can probably figure it out.  So, I get this call the other day from a really nice woman who needed her dining room table refinished.  I went out to her home to give the estimate and she showed me this great big formal oak dining room table with beautiful parquet veneer. 

At one end of the table near the center there was a large deterioration of the finish.  I asked what it was from and she told me her grandaughter had accidentally spilled nail polish on it.  In an effort to clean it up, it just got worse and worse.  It was an expensive table that matched her other furniture in the dining room.  Replacing it was not really an option.  So, she hired me to do the repair.

The repair I decided that this one needed was to completely strip the table top only and refinish it.  I am going to post a series of articles showing how I go about doing a formal, heirloom quailty finish using a hand rubbed polyurethane technique.  This post is part 1 of the series.  When I am done it will exceed the original quailty when the table was new.  It will be more durable, have more lustre, and there will be virtually no trace of the damage from the nail polish.  The next post in the series will be about stripping the old finish.  Extremely few woodworkers do a hand rubbed finish anymore and even fewer attempt to do it with oil-based polyurethane, so stay tuned.  This should be a great project.  -Rory-