Saturday, March 11, 2017

Refinishing The Past

My mom had this old piece of furniture that I always loved.  It was made by my late uncle, Bill, married to Mom's sister, Kay.  I can remember the piece of furniture from my childhood as the cabinet that held our record player and records.  It was stained dark brown and had two grooved sliding doors on the front.  The doors as I remember them were white, but Mom said they were originally orange.  Dark brown and orange - just screams the late 60's, don't it?

At one point, I think we all had used it as we one-by-one moved away from home.  I had taken it to college with me to use as a TV stand.  I returned it to Mom afterward and over the years it kind of disappeared.  Then one day a few months ago, I was searching for something in Dad's workshop and there it was, buried in a corner.  I asked Mom for it and she gave it to me with her blessing.  I drove it back to Chicago and decided to give it new life.

As we all know, Kevin is the "king of renovation" in our house.  And he's pretty much amazing at it. I take on a challenge now and then, like recovering the chaise my Aunt Susie had given me.  It seemed daunting but in the end turned out to be quite simple; it was mostly just pulling/tucking/stapling fabric into place.  And the chaise meant something to me because it had belonged to someone I love.

I'd never refinished a piece of furniture before, so I gave it a whirl.  And again, I chose to work on a piece that belonged to someone I love.  Built by my uncle and used by my Mom.  And like the chaise, this was a memorable piece of furniture from my childhood.  So I mustered up the courage.

Of course, now - after three coats of polyurethane - I can see how I could have done a better job.  Not having much experience with a hand-sander, I was admittedly nervous about handling it.  But I got the hang of it and now wish I would have taken more time.  I even used the table saw in Kevin's absence to cut out the sliding doors and a replacement for the missing back panel on the unit. Perhaps on the next piece, I'll know better what to do.  We all start somewhere, right?

Kevin is proud of me for taking this on and is encouraging me to do more.  He'd like to see more projects in the home by me so that it's not completely filled with stuff he's done or that we've done together.  I mean, I know my limitations, but I can definitely take on smaller projects and continue to leave the big things to him.

I think I might macrame a few plant hangers next.

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