So this past December my Grandmother passed away. After the service those of us from out of town were asked to take a few things from her apartment to remember her. It always feels so weird to go through someone’s possessions. It feels like a violation of their privacy, but it also provides a chance to reminisce and can help carry the memory of the person who passed. My cousin Adam spotted a simple wooden object that had figured fairly prominently in our memories of Grandma’s house. We use to pretend it was a scooter and ‘jump’ it around the house. We always thought it was a poorly designed foot rest, but it turns out it is a gout stool. Due to years of abuse it was not in the best of shape, so Adam and his son stopped by the workshop this winter to take it apart and start sanding it. It is a simple piece, made from five pieces of wood. We sanded it and Adam decided that in place of the handle he wanted some mosaic work. I want to keep it as primitive as possible, since it is so simple, and I have never done a two sided mosaic before, so even though it is relatively simple, it has been a challenge. This winter was a difficult one for a number of reasons so I have just started the project again. I will post pictures when it is done.
My dad bought a dining room set at camelot village, where I work, and came to Bennington today to pick it up. Since he was renting a truck he loaded it up with a few new projects for me to work on. He brought me three pieces. There is an old stereo cabinet that needs a complete overhaul. It’s cool I will take pictures of it this week. I also have a china cabinet and a 1910 Crossley porcelain ice box. The ice box needs a little love, but I think it will be very interesting when it’s done. A few sessions with the sand blaster and some enamel paint and she will be chilling. I prefer to build my own pieces but I have learned a lot from taking apart furniture and (sometimes) putting it back together.
In November I refinished a quartersawn oak library table for a dealer at camelot. It was a nice table but the finish on top was chewed up and flaking badly. The dealer did not want to refinish the entire table, just the top. I stripped it, sanded it, matched the color to the base and applied a finish to it. Oak can be tricky to strip because it is so porous, old pigment sets into the vacuoles ,but if you are patient you can use that in your
favor and really accentuate the grain and figure of the wood. You do have to sand a little more, and it is very important to clean the piece with mineral spirits between sandings. This gets rid of a lot of sawdust and it shows you where you may need to spend more time getting rid of stain/paint, finish, or adhesive. Using a shop vac to remove sawdust is a good idea too. The top came out nicely and it sold a few months ago.