Monday, October 28, 2013

 Normally I never do re-finishing. In a moment of extreme weakness, I told a friend that I would re-finish her hutch. This is what it looked like when I got it. The foot at the bottom was broken off, the shallow full with drawer below the top drawers was in really sad shape and the doors were missing chunks of veneer. This was an old piece because of the thickness of the veneer. This had thick veneer and it had been glued with hide glue. The veneer was also very highly figured so I knew that it was very old. Today's veneer is thinner than toilet paper. I you tried to sand it, you would sand through to the substrate.
 This piece also had beveled glass mirror. Bevel glass is very expensive so I was running worried that I might do something to damage this beautiful mirror.
In this picture, you can see that the top has been sanded and I am working on the sides. The finish on this thing was extremely hard. I would assume that it was old fashioned varnish, but I am not sure. I would have to re-sharpen my scraper about every minute of use. Once I got the finish off, the stain would then sand. I had a company here in the area make some custom stain.
 The veneer on the small radiused drawer was removed with a heat gun. I then needed to make a clamping caul to match that radius so as to add on the new veneer. This method allowed me to make a clamping caul that very nearly matched the radius of the drawer.
 I first soaked the new veneer in boiling water and clamped the veneer on the drawer front. Wood wants to bend in the direction of the growth of the tree, but does not want to bend across the direction of the growth. After a few days, the veneer was dry and removed. It was very fragile and required patience in gluing the pieces across the drawer front. All told, this process took over a week to get done.

This is the drawer finished. I had to purchase a few new knobs as the old ones were not oak.

 If you look at the upper part of the left drawer, you will see where a patch to the veneer was added. Today's veneer is just not a pretty as old veneer. A total of three patches were necessary to complete the doors.

 This is a beautiful piece. These pictures were taken before delivery. Notice that the front leg is back into position.

 This is a picture in the friends home. Hopefully this piece will be good for another 100 years.

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