This will be the first in a series covering the restoration of this late 19th century rocking chair that belonged to my friends grandmother. He remembers the chair as brown so we will be removing the white paint, repairing any broken parts and re-caning the seat and backs with factory woven cane.
The cane on the seat and lower back are secured by the standard spline, however the top back with its double curves is secured in a wooden framework, I have never seen this method of attaching cane in 40 years of doing repair work.
Here is a photograph of my ‘apprentice’ Woody working on removing the seat and spline. Boiling water was used to soften the spline. Today he will be learning how to strip off paint. It is good to have someone interested in learning and he likes the work.
This one sets a record. The last spinning wheel [See Montana Spinning Wheel] I had in my shop was there for about 15 months, a couple of months for the repairs and over a year in storage. This one I purchased [from a friend at the Fort Buenaventura Rendezvous, of all places] on Saturday, made a phone call, did the repairs and it was sold on Monday. I would have posted this yesterday but no one would believe the story.
I was contacted last week by a local who asked if I had any spinning wheels for sale, I told him I had one damaged one but the replacement parts and restoration would make it expensive. Then at a Mountain Man Rendezvous I found this one and bought it on speculation. Upon returning I made a call, they came by on Monday and made the purchase.
I did have to replace the flyer bearings as the eye bolts/screws didn’t seem appropriate, I used quebracho bark tanned leather, very durable stuff. I also had to replace a couple of wedges, repair a small crack in the whorl and make a replacement pitman, yet another wire pitman is replaced [I am getting a good collection of old wire].
This wheel is probably from the New England area, the base, treadle and wheel are made of quarter sawn white oak, the turnings are of birch, the washer on the maiden is sycamore and one replacement piece on the distaff is cherry. The distaff itself is made from a hickory sapling with an unusual walnut finial. The wheel is in remarkable condition considering its age [ca 1820-30] and when I was taking photographs I noticed the multi colors used in decorating. There are red bands in the middle of most of the turnings with black bands on the ends.
I think the flyer, whorl and bobbin are from another wheel, the hooks are all on one side and they are looped toward the spinner not toward the bobbin which I found unusual. The detail on the flyer is excellent.
I measured the growth rings of the quarter sawn white oak base to about 28 rings per inch, definitely old growth, a modern piece of oak on my table has 4 rings per inch.
Fun and quick project.
This is the first book review of my first book that was originally published in hardbound in 1981. This review appeared in Smithsonian Magazine April 1982.
I found this while doing research at the University of Nevada, Reno at their excellent library.
Now I need to find the reviews in Workbench Magazine, Soldier of Fortune Magazine and Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly.
Available at Tools for Working Wood
and The Full Chisel Store or from Amazon. Amazon also has original hardbound editions for sale.
A small restoration project came through a referral from a friend. The table was built by the clients father in High School sometime between 1941 and 1944, it is built from birch, stained walnut, hide glue, iron screws and a shellac finish.
One of the tripod legs had come loose and one of the dowels broke, I first drilled out the broken dowel parts using a gimblet bit, a small carving gouge and a duck bill spoon bit. The gimblet bit drills roughly down the center, then with the carving gouge remove most of the remaining wood, then using the spoon bit to clean out and prepare the hole for a new dowel. The replacement dowel is also made of birch.
I will replace this label with one on acid free paper with all of the information.
I used a couple of hook scrapers I made from saw blade fragments from making cabinet scrapers. I heated them up in order to get a sharp bend then heated and quenched to harden it again. Sharpened to a 45 degree angle with no burr.
I also roughened the surfaces prior to re-gluing the leg and new dowel in place. I used a knife to cross hatch score the glue surfaces.
I used hot hide glue, 1 teaspoon glue : 2 teaspoons distilled water in my small glue pot, turned on the heat and 10 minutes later glued the leg into place. I held the leg against the post for about 5 minutes, then applied blue painters tape to hold in place.
I will treat it with Moses T’s Reviver tomorrow, after I wash off any glue residue. The surface has some alligator texture, which I will leave as part of its history. This table is not an antique but it is older than me.
A friend picked this up in Oregon, he didn’t buy it the first time he was there, but when his wife traveled to Oregon, he had her go find it, which she did with much trouble. For some reason he doesn’t like the color paint and wanted it restored?
I used a citrus based stripper [in a modern spray can, well it was modern paint] to remove the paint, I did one section at a time, masking the surrounding surfaces with modern blue painter’s tape [it was modern paint!].
After the stripper had been washed and scrubbed of with an old modern plastic toothbrush [it was modern paint/stripper], and water, which I allowed to dry completely. I washed down with alcohol to remove the residue of stripper. I also used a brass wire brush to remove some of the residue in the grain and fine crevices of the details of the carvings.
This is a picture with half of the frame treated with Moses T’s Reviver, showing the difference, I then treated the entire frame with Reviver.
I then used a bit of Reviver and added some burnt umber, yellow ocher, and red iron oxide dry powdered pigments and applied a thin coat of this stain over the entire frame. I also stripped the back and treated it in a similar manner, taking special care that the rebate for the mirror was stripped and stained. Failing to do so, it will show up when the mirror is installed.
The final photograph is with a coat of very thin shellac. After I took this picture, I did some minor touch up with shellac and burnt umber and red iron oxide pigments, then applied another fine thin coat of shellac.
The next step will be gesso and bole then gold leaf on the sun carving. Should be fun.
Years ago when I first started out as an apprentice cabinetmaker, I was talking to a librarian whom I use to work for at a local library. I was an AV assistant when I worked there but did learn the Dewey Decimal system.
During the course of the conversation I said that ‘I fix furniture.’ She paused and then asked ‘do you attach it to the wall?’.
No, I replied. ‘Do you arrange the outcome of the game?’ Again I said ‘no’.
She then inquired if I spayed or neutered it? The answer was no.
She finally asked ‘do you give it a narcotic injection?’.
Again the answer was ‘no’.
Then she said ‘well then you ‘repair’ furniture you do not ‘fix’ it.’
Ever since that time I pass this along to anyone who asks me if I fix furniture.
I had never run into this in 40 years of doing restoration work and this is the first time for me to flock. I asked some questions over at WoodCentral and got some good responses. I then got an opportunity to talk with Michael Donaldson, son of a late friend of mine Dan Donaldson, when he was on a cross country car trip from Washington State to North Carolina.
He had experience with this, where I thought I could just pour the flocking on the adhesive and shake it around. He said that he tried that and it didn’t work the only thing that works is the flocking tool. So I popped the $8.00 for the flocking tool and am glad I did.
After reading and following all of the written and verbal instructions, I used masking tape to mask off the top of the drawer to keep the colored adhesive from sticking where I don’t want it sticking.
This is what the oak sewing machine drawer looked like with the adhesive freshly applied.
The masking tape is a good idea, as you only have 10-15 minutes open time on the adhesive, so I worked quickly and got some adhesive on the tape. I removed the tape before applying the powdered flock.
And this is the view of the plastic lined box [to recover any unused flocking material] with the drawer after it is flocked. The yellow tube is the flocker, simple be effective. It needs to dry 48 hours before the excess flocking is removed. And yes there is a lot of flocking as per instructions.
Sounds strange on a Woodworking site, but this is one of Moses T’s All Natural Products I manufacture and sell. I originally took an old formula and modified it to treat old painted surfaces and raw metal to prevent oxidation. It also restored oxidized paint, removes scratches from plastic laminate and after a friend used it on automobiles he was restoring, it worked better than anything on the market.
Here are some before and after pictures. Plastic headlamp lens covers are oxidized and cloudy. An inexpensive solution to replacement.
After one application of Moses T’s Oxyguard, put on wait 10 minutes and wipe off, allow to dry for 24 hours. Dispose of oily rags properly.
A friend offered his car an an experimental test bed for Moses T’s Oxyguard.
Another friend had a motorcycle helmut and it was covered with scratches, he was going to buy another. I took this and applied Moses T’s Oxyguard, waited 10 minutes and wiped off all the excess. Cleared it right up.
A 4 ounce bottle is enough for one automobile, boat or small recreational vehicle and can be ordered here.
Sometimes all that is needed is a coat of shellac and the case of the Oak Sewing Machine Cabinet is indeed one of those times. Here is a picture of the applique on the small drawer front that was repaired here.
This is what it looked like after a coat of shellac. I will need to do some additional touch ups. The damage was caused by water.
Here is what the drawer sides looked like before and after just one coat.
I applied a small amount with a bristle brush and then use a dry brushing technique to imitate French Polish in the carved areas. The original finish on the cabinet was shellac.
Finishing the outside veneer repair work, I could easily work off the side grain veneer repairs with a sharp chisel, however the end-grain took some additional work. I clamped my big plastic glue block to the end of the cabinet at the proper location in line with the edge. I then used my thin saw and the block as the fence to trim off the end-grain veneer.
I opened the top to clean the inside and do one veneer repair. It is not often I get to use my Ram’s Horn coachmakers layout curve, but it worked perfect for this repair. The sweeping curved line is easier to disguise and fun to do. I clamped the curve on the work, put pencil register marks and using a sharp knife cut through the old veneer.
I then clamped the Ram’s Horn on the veneer over a scrap of wood, using the register marks and using the same knife cut out the new veneer. Fits perfect, as soon as a small missing piece of substrate dries, I will glue in the new veneer.
I removed the small drawer and cleaned it out. It has some water damage loose parts, missing glue blocks and the applique on the front was loose and cracked. I used a putty knife to get some Fish Glue under the applique and on the drawer front and in the crack in the curl end. I used a spring clamp to hold the crack together and two clamps and a plastic glue block to hold it down.
I hope to start the finish process soon, staining, filling and a coat of shellac or two.