Well hello again! It’s definitely been too long before drinks, er I mean blog posts…..so to ease back into it I thought I’d share a few photos of a new addition to our household, and no it’s not a pet, or a baby.
Feast your eyes on this curvaceous coffee table I purchased off eBay a few weeks ago.
As soon as I saw it I knew it had to be mine. The shape, the lines, the ‘floating’ glass top, the materials, all so appealing, and for what I thought was a great (read cheap) price.
The quality looks really good too. Beautiful Queensland maple? veneer and a really fine veneer edging, the hardware that helps secure the glass top is something that I haven’t seen before either.
With no visible markings to help identify a manufacturer it’s a little hard to accurately date, however judging from the design and materials I’m leaning towards the 1950’s. It’s definitely a keeper!
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.
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.
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.
Auctions, Markets, eBay, 2nd hand stores, Op Shops, Specialist stores are just a few of the many places where you can find that special piece of furniture for your home, and a truth that comes with every item, be it – vintage/retro/industrial/mid century/antique is that it is ‘2nd hand’. Someone, somewhere before you has used it, loved it, and perhaps eventually had enough of it to move it on.
Now is this a bad thing? Of course it’s not! It’s just something to keep in mind when you are looking to purchase your next item as you’ll see below.
For this example I’m using a beautiful Queensland maple coffee table that I purchased in Melbourne last year. I loved it’s style and use of materials and surely enough, it made the 600km journey back home with me.
Now when you’re shopping, the lighting in some stores can sometimes be a little dark making it hard to see just what condition the item is in. Now due to this being what I do it is no big deal, however for the single/couple looking for a nice coffee table for their living room buying something that is dirty, or that hasn’t been cleaned correctly, or been checked over and the necessary repairs made it can turn into a real headache.
That’s why when you purchase any item from us (or from any reputable store for that matter, be it online or bricks and mortar) you can feel 100% confident that the item has been thoroughly gone over. Any necessary repairs will have been carried out, ensuring all parts are functioning as they should, cleaned to a high standard (able to place it straight into your home) and the finish attended to (whether it be oiled/polished/waxed/varnished/etc).
Below you will find before and after photos. Could you imagine putting this coffee table straight into your lounge room in it’s before state? Having your phone, wallet, TV remote sitting on 50+ years of dirt, smoke and grease build up? No way! And as you’ll see, the difference is amazing.
Quick little preview on 2 beautiful pieces of Mid Century design furniture.
The first is a ‘John Grimes’ Telephone table/seat. This piece is in as new condition and I doubt it has had very much use at all over the last 40 – 50 years. Beautiful combination of solid teak/teak veneer with a contrasting bright white vinyl seat.
The second is a small Parker Coffee table. Very clever design which gives the impression from front on that the table top is floating about the base. Made from coach wood it is finished in a shellac style coating. The table has a date stamp underneath reading 6 AUG 1958 which is just before Parker released its range of ‘Nordic’ style furniture. They did however use this same design in that range but used teak, instead of coach wood.
Busy day today with a good amount of progress. Continuation from yesterdays post below
I was now able to start on the sanding with all the pieces repaired/re-manufactured. Because all of the pieces were coated in the original varnish/shellac finish I started off using some 60 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander. This grit is quite rough but made quick work on the original coating. Once all the pieces were done I moved onto some 150 grit paper. Repeated the process for all pieces and then moved onto some 320 grit paper for the finishing sand. All came up quite nicely as you can see below.
With all the pieces of the coffee table now repaired and sanded I started on the reassembly. A fairly straight forward job as all the holes are pre-existing and lined up quite easily. Glued and screwed the legs to the mounting blocks to provide extra stability.
You can see that classic space age design appearing again.
With the coffee table now reassembled it’s time to apply a finish. The original finish was a golden oak colour with a shellac/varnish applied over the top. I’m going to go for a darker (teak colour) oiled finish. I think it will complement the darker teak colours of the retro lounge suites and sideboards it will share it’s space with.
I’ve had quite good success with previous pieces I have restored using a mix of Linseed Oil, Teak Stain and Turps in a 2:1:1 ratio. The reason I add the Teak stain in there is because Victorian Ash in its raw form is a very light coloured timber (white to almost pink) so the stain adds a nice Teak colour to it.
After mixing the 3 elements in my mixing container (lol) I simply apply the finish using a soft cotton cloth. I will reapply the finish 4-5 times letting each coat dry before re-applying. The great thing about having the Linseed Oil mixed in is that once the finish has been applied, that’s it! No need to re-oil over the stain.
Here’s a sneak peak at how its coming along after 2 coats this afternoon.
Keep an eye out for the finished product next week!
I made a start today on the restoration of the Space Age Coffee table I previewed on the blog last week. I’m going to go into a little bit more detail on the steps I normally take when restoring an item and how I go about it. Hopefully this will give you an insight into what I do, and perhaps even share some idea’s for your own projects!
The first step for me when performing a full restoration on an item of furniture is to disassemble it. This way you can see what’s good, what’s not, and what needs repairing. Its extremely important to take a great deal of care during this stage as often joints are nailed, screwed, or glued together. If you miss a screw and you start bashing to get it apart you can seriously damage the piece.
With the Coffee Table I was relatively lucky. The Table top and upright supports coming up off the base were only screwed. The triangular support had 2 nails in it and the glue for that joint was old and brittle so it came apart easily. The hardest part was removing the 4 legs from the underside of the base. These were screwed, and glued. What made it tricky is that the base is a veneer, so I had to gently use a chisel to lever the mounting blocks with legs attached up from the surface. 2 came up easily. 2 did not and took a bit more effort to remove along with damaging a small amount of veneer surface under the mounting block.
With the coffee table in pieces (note I am leaving the table top an drawer assembled as they are in good solid condition and easy to work with in their current state) the next step is to assess all the pieces, and see what needs to be repaired/replaced.
With the coffee table I had to –
Completely re-manufacture one leg.
Repair the damaged veneer to the underside of the base (this will be hidden once the legs and mounting blocks are re-attached).
Pump some wood glue into a crack in the side of the drawer to strengthen it up.
Putty up a few small nicks.
Clean the years of food and grime built up inside the coffee table top edge.
Tomorrow I’ll be tackling the sanding and re-assembly .
With the restoration of the Parker chair complete I thought I’d share a few photos of my next project.
This Victorian Ash coffee table has a real space age design to it with it’s lunar landing craft style legs and half floating table top due to a clever triangular design supporting piece hidden away under the centre of the table top.
Unfortunately this coffee table has seen better days. The top is caked with food build up (yuk!), scratches to the painted underside of the glass top, various stains to the finish, one leg has been replaced with a not so matching piece and the draw doesn’t quite slide correctly.