Tag Archives: Atomic

Summertone Bedside

I’ve been sitting on this Summertone bedside for a little while in the hope of finding its matching partner. Unfortunately I haven’t been so lucky as of yet, however in preparation for a larger restoration job I’ve decided to trial a few different techniques and finishes on it.

1950's Australian Bedside
Excuse the grass!

Wanting to get away from that orange tinge I’ll be removing the original shellac finish and tint and going with a neutral finish to show off that wonderful golden QLD maple veneer. Seeing as though I’ve only got 1mm or less in thickness to work with I’ll be using a cabinet scraper and metho/steel wool to keep the sanding to a minimum.

Mid Century Bedside
Night and Day?

Already you can see the huge difference between the natural colour of the stripped back drawer front and the original finish to the body of the bedside. To make things easier, I’ve removed the legs and base supports and as these are solid timber the electric sander should make light work of them.

Hoping to get through the restoration within a week or two so be sure to check back and see how things progress!

Killer Kitchen Chairs!

After a little too long between posts, I’ve returned to share a nice little save from a local recycle centre over the weekend. The acute angled legs instantly caught my attention, and after a brief inspection (more so to see if their missing pal # 4 was floating about somewhere else – but to no avail!) I loaded them up and away I went.

1950's Australian Dining Chairs
0, 45, 90.

They definitely look familiar, and I’m sure I’ve spotted them somewhere online (either for sale or in an old furniture catalogue) however at this moment they remain unidentified.

Mid Century Modern Chair
Strengthening brace – weakening style…..

From the images you can probably see that added support from the front to back legs on either side that looks out of place. It’s definitely a later addition, and after a quick hit with the heat gun to remove those multiple layers of paint you can see the difference in timbers used. The angled leg (and rest of the chair) is a beautiful Queensland maple, whilst the support appears to be a pine, possibly Kauri looking at the grain. It’ll be removed in due time when tackling a full blown restoration on all 3. Not for the faint hearted, and definitely lots of work, but the finished product will be worth it.

1950's kitchen chair
Ones original, ones not!

Holiday TV Lamp!

I recently picked up this beautiful little TV lamp whilst on holidays. After spotting it in a local retro/vintage shop I knew it had to be mine, so after exchanging some currency it was packed away in my suitcase and safely made the 2500km trip home with me.

I definitely didn’t appreciate just how amazing the projection of light is from this little lamp. It shoots a really crisp line of light illuminating everything below the shade, whilst casting a shadow above.

Australian TV lamp 1950's
Tripod Legs! Always a favourite.

Along with it’s crisp line lighting ability, we have the simple yet always amazing ‘tripod’ base which is just so cool.

1950's TV Lamp Australian
Unmasked from the darkness!

The top hat (shade) is another impressive piece of design, which looks to be floating above the lamp itself when illuminated, almost like a UFO! Combined with the tripod base the proportions of this TV lamp for mine makes it one of the best I’ve seen.

This one’s a keeper for sure.

Auction Watch # 15 – Sputnik Weather Station

This little guy caught my eye this week.

West German Weather Station
Great Sputnik Desk Barometer!

Listed as a Atomic Retro Era West German Sputnik Type Barometer Weather Station c1960’s (to find on eBay, search for the before mentioned text).

The description calls it a ‘mix of science and modernist design’ to which I would agree,  however I definitely think it has that ‘Steampunk’ look to it also. The perspex globe, the compass points , the brass components contrasting against the brushed aluminum gauge faces help make this desk weather station a quirky, unique and unusual piece.

How great would this look sitting on your office desk? A certain conversation starter!

Price? Currently sitting at $15.50 with 4 days remaining.

When searching international eBay auction results prices vary, anywhere from £20 all the way up to £200. Bargain…………….at the moment, but we’ll see where it ends up!

Atomic magazine rack, no its a coffee table, no wait it’s a standing lamp……….

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to come across a magazine rack  in an antique store whilst on holidays which was extremely similar to the one I been restoring, however this one was a slightly modified version, being a combination between magazine rack/coffee table and standing lamp.

Coffee Table 1950
Retro magazine rack

It was great to see another one floating around (although slightly different). I previously mentioned about researching what the original divider would of looked like, and ended up coming up with my own variation after my research failed to shed any light on it (which in my opinion kicks ass compared to the boring, rectangular shape divider used in the original). It was also handy to see the original fastening method of the frame to the central rack.

Mid Century Mix
Coffee table/magazine rack/standing lamp

Would you believe that since then I’ve come across another? Always the way though, never around when you’re looking for one, and plentiful when you’re not.

Standing lamp
Mid Century combo piece

Restoration Complete – Atomic Magazine Rack

Well, it may of taken a little longer to complete due to holidays but over the weekend I was finally able to get around and complete the Atomic magazine rack i’ve been working on for the past few weeks.

Here it is before –

Imags of a mid century magazine rack
Atomic magazine rack before photo.

And here it is after –

Atomic Magazine Rack
Images of the completed restoration.

I’m super happy with the end result. The colour, the grain, the shape, the way it sits, all perfect! Now time to find it a spot in our lounge room and admire and appreciate it for awhile…….

Be sure to check back within the next week or so, I’ve got a few pictures of a variation of this exact piece I found in an antique shop whilst on holidays on the north coast a few weeks ago. Very cool and a bit of a spin out!

Complete Restoration Mid Century
Super cool atomic styled magazine rack.

Atomic Magazine Rack – Timber Finish

Now for the timber finish!

Varnish applied to Mid Century Furniture
Timber finish for restoration project.

I ended up using a clear varnish for the magazine rack. Being coachwood I thought that this would be a good choice for the finish as it is relatively hard wearing and needing little to no ongoing maintenance.

The clear varnish ending up being a great choice in regards to colour also. The timber colour has changed, however it is very ‘natural’ (hence being a clear) and actually matches a lot of the original shellac finishes on pieces from the same era – more on this in an upcoming blog post.

The first 2 coats were applied with a fine bristle brush with a light sanding in between. I applied the following 2 coats with a spray guy (in the above photo the 4th coat has not yet been applied).

The finish turned out great, and now this process has been completed I can get onto the final assembly making the 2 pieces whole again. May be a little tricky, with some custom brass brackets having to be made………we’ll see.

Atomic Magazine Rack Progress – Repairs, Sanding & Assembly

Following on from our last update, we are now ready to sand, repair and assemble our magazine rack.

Updates including pictures of the restoration of a mid century magazine rack.
Progress pictures of an Atomic Magazine Rack restoration.

First was the sanding, and as you can see someone done quite a number on the coachwood veneer hitting it with quite a rough grit sand paper (and in all directions) to help their paint ‘stick’ to the timber. Luckily all of the scratches were able to be sanded out without damaging the thin veneer.

Updates including pictures of the restoration of a mid century magazine rack.
Progress pictures of an Atomic Magazine Rack restoration.

Next came the repairs, and to be honest there were a few more than I was originally expecting. Various old screw holes were filled, lifting veneer on some edges re-glued, 2 edges were trimmed (at a 60 degree angle) down to give a nice straight edge along with manufacturing the missing centre divider.

As you can see above the centre divider has a slight curve (boomerang shaped) to one edge. This curve is very sympathetic to the piece (and the era it was made in) and is simply the exact reverse of  the angle on the 2 sides of the magazine rack.

Updates including pictures of the restoration of a mid century magazine rack.
Progress pictures of an Atomic Magazine Rack restoration.

After the repairs all pieces were given a quick hit with some finishing sand paper and then re-assembled into the 2 main pieces. The legs/handle and the rack. This was done in a few stages to ensure each individual piece went together and set correctly.

So far, so good, and we are almost there. Next update will comprise of timber finishing and final reassembly. Can’t wait!

Atomic Magazine Rack – Paint Removal & Disassembly

Following on from our previous post here, over the weekend I started to strip the paint off the awesome atomic magazine rack and disassemble it.

For stripping the paint I used a combination of both a heat gun for the straight, flat surfaces and paint stripper for the turned pieces. Although I’m not an overly  big fan of using paint stripper it certainly does help on those curved/turned surfaces/edges.

Once the majority of the paint was removed I got down to the disassembly part. The initial stage was easy, 4 bolts & nuts and the rack broke down into 2 pieces. The second stage was a little more time consuming. Old glue, thin veneer and doweled joints all added to the difficulty however after a little persuasion it all came apart.

Mid Century Magazine Rack
Update and pictures of an awesome 1950’s magazine rack.

So what was underneath that old paint? Well as I thought the timber is coachwood with the legs and handle solid timber while the rack is plywood.

It’s always interesting to see what you discover whilst restoring. Makers marks, little notes, tricks of the trades all add to the fun. So what did I uncover thus far? Well as you can see on the bottom side of the rack there is the original makers stamp. The name is a little hard to read, however the ‘147’ is clearly visible. This more than likely was their manufacturers # and I’m hoping in time I’ll be able to identify the maker. 4 small nail holes and a dowel hole that has been filled were also found underneath the old paint. Due to the position I’m picturing that there would of been some kind of separating piece of timber that would of stopped the magazines from slipping all the way over to one side, effectively doubling the storage. I’ll have to see if I can find a similar piece online and see how it may of been originally. It should be reasonably easy to knock something up.

Stay tuned, repairs and preparation for reassembly next post!

Awesome 1950’s ‘Atomic’ Magazine Rack Restoration

I came across this magazine rack on the Australia day long weekend. Tucked away in the storage area of a vintage homeware shop its pokey legs and cotton reel style handle caught my eye immediately.  I had to have it! So after striking a deal with the shopkeep away I whisked it.

Atomic magazine rack
Awesome 1950’s magazine rack

Now although it may not be in the best condition, it will be a fairly straight forward restoration.

I’m thinking that the timber under the thick cream paint will be coachwood.  Legs and handle will be solid timber while the magazine rack will be a plywood. The rack has also has been modified with some modern screws which will need to be replaced with suitable replacements.

First off, stripping that paint. Still deciding whether to trial a natural paint stripped, or use the heat gun. Time will tell.

I’ll post updates at the next stage.