Apr 102014
 

I have replaced damaged caning in both wicker and wood furniture and thought I would share my not so sophisticated method with you.

In all cases, the cane I replaced was a seat, surrounded by a wood frame.   Many people, seeing damaged cane like the photo below will cut a piece of wood and simple cover the seat.  I suppose if it always has a cushion hiding it, it doesn’t matter.  Personally, I love cane and  replacing it is far easier than you may think.

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Original Damaged Seat.

The first step is to remove the old caning.  Depending on the age of the piece, this can be easy or very difficult.  In the case of a wicker chair I refinished, it was easy.  With some coaxing (chiseling) at the spline, which holds the cane in the groove, I was able to pull out the old caning relatively easily.  In the case of the antique rocker above, the glue used in days gone by was like titanium!   I needed to resort to nail polish remover and a drill.  I even broke a couple of bits in the process!  I am sorry I have no pictures of this task.  It was a frustrating adventure where photos were not foremost on my mind 🙂 

Once you remove the old cane, be sure the channel / groove is clean so the cane and new spline can be inserted. 

I purchased both the sheet of pre-woven cane material and the spline at Lee Valley Tools, which, luckily for me is a 10 minute drive from my home.  You can also order it online here.  (Note:  I have no affiliation with Lee Valley Tools.  They are just a great store!)

Before you begin,  the caning and the spline both need to soak in water for a few hours or in my case,  if you get busy, a day or two!  Regardless, it needs to be soft and pliable.

I began by testing that the spline will easily go into the groove and cut the spline to size with an additional 1/2 inch.  In my first attempt at replacing a cane seat, I cut the spline about 1/4 inch too short and I was very annoyed to see the tiny gap.

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Measuring the spline. Add a bit extra and cut the excess once inserted

Once you are ready to work, cut the caned sheet roughly the size of the opening with a good 1.5 t0 2 inch border all around.

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Lay the caning sheet in place, centered.  Begin on the straight sections of the groove and insert the caning into the groove.

THIS IS WHERE WE CAN GET CREATIVE!   There are tools for this.  But I used what I could find at home.  For one project, I used a metal spatula to push the cane into the groove.

For this chair, I happened to have a pack of SHIMS on hand and they definitely fit the bill.  I simply cut the thin ends off to the appropriate width and tapped them in with a hammer.

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Cut the shims to an appropriate with and tapped them into the groove.

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I worked around the opening, making sure the cane was taunt

(BTW:  that hammer was my dad’s and it’s over 70 years old!)

Once you have pushed the cane material securely into the groove, you need to cut away the excess, just below the top of the groove.  This is a daunting step.  You need a VERY SHARP exacto blade or box cutter.  The caning can begin to unravel a bit so it is important to get a nice clean cut.  Try very hard to make sure the cut is just below the top.  The few stragglers still sticking up can be trimmed later.

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Cut the excess cane away, just below the outer lip of the groove.

Now it is time to insert the spline.  Use a wood or all purpose glue, one that dries clear and run a generous bead inside the groove, on top of the cane.

Then begin to insert the spline.  Start at the centre of the back and work your way around.

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Insert the spline, starting at the centre of the back of the opening.

I wrapped a rag around the hammer so I would not damage the wood when I tapped in the spline.

Once you reach the beginning, cut the spline to the correct size.   Be sure to tap all around to ensure the spline is well inserted and then let the glue dry!

That’s it!

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Not counting the terrible time I had removing the old cane seat, I think this job took me just over an hour to complete!

From what I have read, cane is meant be left natural and colour with age.  However, it can be stained but only on the top.  It needs to breathe.  I am thinking of staining this seat since the chair is so dark. 

What do you think:  stain or leave au natural?

Have you ever replaced a cane seat?

If you try it, let me know how it goes for you. 

Why cover the damaged seat with wood when replacing the caning is so easy!

I think this chair is definitely Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

Apr 062014
 

Some pieces are just not meant to be painted.  Or are they?  There are occasions when I  paint a piece of furniture and post it on this blog and someone will comment that I “ruined” the piece.   I too am guilty of this thought.  Just recently, I saw a very unique mid century console on Craigslist where the shop had “ruined” the piece with an ugly shade of brown paint and was still asking an very high, typical MCM price.  Regardless, HEY! it’s furniture and the owner can do as they please.  Life’s too short to worry about someone else’s furniture.

Back in October, before winter hit us hard, I shared with you a lovely rocking chair I had acquired.  It came to me with a damaged cane seat but everything else was in amazing original condition.  There was evidence of a repair on one leg and it was obviously old but very well made and still VERY sturdy.  Not a wobble to be found.  Upon examination, I found a very faded label indicating the chair was manufactured by Heywood Brothers, a prestigious, prominent furniture manufacturer in the US.  A bit of internet research indicated the Baltimore plant operated  from 1897 to 1921 so I believe this chair is a true 100 year old “antique”.

However, it was really dark and dated.  I really like to paint things to bring them to life.  I started out really wanting to paint it but I just could not.  Somehow, it seemed like an easy way out! 

I posted a blog post asking  readers what to do and it was pretty unanimous that I should leave it in original state and get an estimate.  So I did.  The assessment said, if I kept it in an original condition, with a new cane seat, it should sell for $200 to $400 in a good market!  WOW!

I have replaced  cane seats before so that did not faze me.  I began removing the old cane and it was not easy!  I had to resort to nail polish remover to break up the glue which sadly disfigured the wood around the opening. 

Last week, I FINALLY got around to finishing it up.  Before tackling the cane seat, I did some light sanding and stained areas that were worn and needed to be stained.  Then coated the piece with varathane.  In the end, the transformation was way easier than I anticipated and the result is beautiful…

BEFORE
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Isn't she beautiful?

Isn’t she beautiful?

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AFTER

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I love the richness of the wood finish.

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The pressback design is gorgeous!

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New cane seat

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I feel as if this is how it looked 100 years ago!

I would like to stain the caning but most articles suggest leaving it natural. 
I will let the new owner decide… IF I sell it LOL!

Do you love it! 

What was I thinking when I wanted to paint it!??! 

Yes it may not be to many people’s taste but there is beauty in keeping it original!

 

I still love to paint furniture giving it NEW LIFE  but perhaps sometimes we should consider giving it its OLD LIFE back again!

 

Have you ever changed your mind after being determined to paint something?
Or have you regretted painting something and wished you have restored it instead? 
I’d love to hear from you!

 

This piece gives me goosebumps, as if I “SAVED” it somehow
so it can continue to live a long life! 

 

Is this piece NICER THAN NEW? 
DEFINITELY!

 

Joan

Mar 242014
 

Okay.  I love this table.  It is in my living room. I have had it listed FOREVER! on Furnishly, Kijiji and Craigslist.  But no takers!  It is listed for $65 .  It is the most solidest table ever.  Did I say I love it?  BUT it has NOT SOLD!!! 

Paris step table

Paris step table

Tres Belle table!

Tres Belle table!

Paris step table

Distressing on top shelf

STEP TABLE

So I ask myself:

  1. Is Toronto not interested in “Shabby Chic”  ” Midcentury” or what???
  2. Is the price not good?  PPPPLLLLEEEEEASE!  No Chinese made table even comes close to this baby!
  3. Is it my workmanship???  I truly hope not!
  4. Is it just meant to stay with me!  Adorn my living room with it’s loveliness and it’s tribute to my love of Paris?
  5. Ohhhhh… Maybe Toronto buyers HATE Paris?  It could be!  We often have an issue with anything French! LOL

Talk to me!  I need to know.  Was my refinish choice POOR?  No feelings will be hurt. 

OR was the timing wrong or my design sense out to lunch??

I really thought it was

Nicer Than New

HELP ME!

Mar 202014
 

Monday, while walking my big doofus of a dog, I saw this table curbside.  It had an interesting top but was in BAD shape!  The base was broken and it was really beat up with nicks and gouges.  Tuesday is trash day so I walked home figuring it would be gone by tomorrow.

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Nice top but beat up and damaged.

All day Tuesday, I thought about that table.  However, my daughter had taken my truck to a school function and I could not go and pick it up  even if it was still there! 

Along comes Wednesday morning and my time to walk the dog.  Lo and behold, it is still there.   Toronto garbage pick-up is very particular (read: “union”) and this table was not “tagged” nor was it at a true garbage pickup spot.  Regardless,  I took a closer look….

“Hmmmm… Big round table top and 4 nice legs…..” 

“Hmmm FREE.”  Shall I repeat “FREE!!” 

My DIY persona got the best of me!

Yes of course I took it home and dismantled it! 
The drawers were also there but rather useless without a solid frame.

Dismantling took about 20 minutes

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Thank goodness for my drill, allen keys and crow bar!

This is want I am keeping.

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The top and the legs. I am sure the curved bits could be useful but I just have TOO much stuff!

I do have a plan for the top and I am thinking the legs could be used to build an upholstered bench!

Stay tuned!  It may take me a while but these lovelies will make an appearance in the near (or far) future and I am sure they will be

Nicer Than New!

Would you pass by this broken, cruddy table?  Or are you a true “curbside rescuer”
or “dumpster diva” like me??

I would LOVE to hear from you and your tales of random finds on the side of the street!!

Joan

Mar 162014
 

Earlier this week, I shared my “Clamping Adventure” where I used elastic bands to clamp the legs for a tri-legged pedestal table.  As silly as it sounds, it worked! IMG_1593   IMG_1604

I didn’t really have a plan for the tables until last week. While drooling over items on the Joss and Main website, I spotted this cute table and thought AHA!

Jessa+Side+Table

Jessa Side Table Regular Price $152
source

My little pedestal tables would look amazing in ALUMINUM!

I also found this steel table at Overstock

Bailey from Overstock 72

Bailey Table
$110
source

If you follow me, you may recall last December, I experimented with brush on metallic paint on a mirror frame.  I used a rust inhibitor paint in an aluminum  shade and I still had 3/4 of a can left.

Rust Paint in Aluminum

Rust Paint in Aluminum

One coat was all that was needed!

One coat was all that was needed!

I have been waiting for a project to come along so I could try this paint again!

To prepare the tables, the tops needed to be smoothed out.  The finish was bubbling and peeling so I used a stripper on the tops and then gave the tops a good sanding.  For the base, I did some light sanding and applied a de-glosser.

This paint is very thin compared to latex and a little bit of this paint goes a long way!  For the mirror, it went on so smooth, covered well and left no brush strokes but that piece was carved.

However, unlike the mirror frame, the surfaces of the table are smooth.  I found the paint ran easily on the vertical surfaces so I applied a very light coat.  Surprising it still covered well.

After First Coat
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For the next coat, I developed a technique where I brushed the paint on with one sponge brush and then dry brushed over the paint with another sponge brush.  This really helped to smooth the finish and pick up any extra paint before it dripped.  I ended up doing 3 coats.

The final result was gorgeous!  However, I did note the pieces needed a topcoat because the finish was easily scuffed. 

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This was taken before the topcoat and shows the light scuffs.

The final results are AMAZING!!!

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Soft and subtle finish

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The wood grain is still slightly visible.

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The pedestal detail pops

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BEFORE

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AFTER

Have you used metallic paint on wood?  Was it successful? 

I’d love to hear about your experience or your feedback on my little project.

To recap,  I had the glue, paint and topcoat products and the tables were $20 each! 

Lovely and unique tables for $40!

And So Much Nicer Than New

 Joan

Mar 132014
 

I seem to be drawn to pedestal tables.  They are pretty, don’t take up much space and can be used in various rooms.  In my recent on-line auction haul I picked up a slew of side tables…EIGHT to be exact.  Included were two small matching  mahogany tables from Bombay Company.  When I got them home,  they not only needed the tops refinished, the legs were wobbly and needed to be glued.  The gluing part is not issue.  The issue is how to clamp them!

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Yup! We still have snow!

Have you ever tried to clamp a tri-legged table?   There are ways to do it but it can require bar clamps, blocks of wood and  numerous other devices I just don’t have.  And there was no way I was going to stand there for an hour and press the legs into the slots. 

So I got creative.

First, I used a spare plastic syringe we have for administering a drug to our dog, to help squirt the glue into the gap.

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The tip could have been smaller but it did help to get the glue into the gaps.

Then for the clamping!  How about
ELASTIC BANDS??!

I rummaged in the kitchen for thick elastic bands which I then stretched and wrapped around the legs to pull them inward. 
I still stood there pressing for 10 minutes or so and

IT WORKED!!!! 

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The legs were not super loose so the gaps were small. 

For the second table, I placed a tray with a full can of wax on top of the overturned table and that worked even better!

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The full can supplied just the right amount of pressure.

Perhaps this makes me look a bit unsophisticated and lacking in the tool department
but I make up with it in
ingenuity!
Have you ever tried to clamp tri-legged pedestal legs? 
Is there a way I didn’t find or think of?
Should I be embarrassed for my lack of tools?

Stay tuned for the transformation I have planned
for these little beauties! 

It is another adventure into experimentation and
I think the end result will be

Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

 

 

 

Mar 082014
 

In the furniture lot I recently acquired via an on-line estate auction, there was a very simple pedestal table with a white and grey marble top.  The top had light scratches on it but what bothered me more, was the discolouration and stains. 

So of course I consulted the ever so wise GOOGLE and found I should mix up and apply a POULTICE.   That’s right… kind of like a “mustard plaster” for marble.  Regardless, it made some sense to me.

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Stains in a circular pattern

I mixed Hydrogen Peroxide and Plaster or Paris into a paste with the consistency of peanut butter.  The peroxide is a whitener and the P of P is an absorbent into which the stain is drawn.  This info came from the Marble Institute website.

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Mix up a poultice to the consistency of peanut butter

The poultice is then spread on your marble and it is covered saran wrap.  They suggest it should be left to dry for 24 to 48 hours.  Here is how it looked.

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Spread the poultice out like icing.

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Covering it with saran wrap allowed me to spread the poultice a bit more evenly

After 24 hours, I removed the saran wrap and let it dry for another 24 hours.

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Dried another day without the saran wrap.
(Looks like the surface of the moon LOL)

When I removed the dried poultice, I noticed a slight overall improvement.  The website indicated it could take up to 5 or 6 applications to draw out most of the stain.  I applied THREE poultices and I have to say the stain appeared to be 80% gone and the overall colour of the marble was whiter.

after4

After THREE poultice applications.

Sadly, I was unable to get out the scratches with a baking soda mix or a rub with extra fine steel wool.  When dealing with  vintage furniture, you can only take it so far.  And a few fine scratches show character and age. 

after1

To remove these scratches, I would need a professional polisher.

Even though I could not remove the fine scratches, I did seal the top with a marble sealant I had on hand  for my bathroom vanity.

So now that the top has been dealt with, it is time to look at the base.

I considered going safe with a grey and white finish. 

after2

The top is sealed and shiny.
Here are a couple of “Oops” samples I could try.

But Agh!  Too safe

The table is conservative and needs a new “look”. 
RED?  I wrapped it in red Christmas ribbon and it looked like a Valentine table. 

Then I looked at the can of “Maxi Teal” used on my “Mission: Colour ” foyer table and thought …ah that is more like it!  Or the “Buxton Blue” from my dining room buffet.

I tried a coat of BM’s Buxton Blue and it didn’t impress me so SW Maxi Teal it is!

It is so cute now and the teal adds the pop of colour I was looking for!

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Before … blah

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After … definitely not blah!

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It’s snowing outside but this little vignette makes me think of spring!

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Spring is on it’s way!

table vignette

If you use the table, you can’t see the scratches!

My new squirrel looks happy!

Have you ever tried a Marble Poultice to remove stains?

The technique wasn’t 100% effective but for a $20 table and paint I already owned and love,
I think the little table looks fabulous!

Perhaps even

Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

 

 

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