Tag Archives: Restoration

Summertone Bedside – Part 3

With the bedside sanded and ready for the finish to be applied I wasted no time in applying some Cabots Danish Oil. I decided to go with the Danish Oil as from previous experiences I like the protection/slight hardness it gives and it’s neutral colour which really lets the blonde QLD maple grain shine through.

Night and day?
Before and After!

4 thin coats were applied using a cotton cloth, with each coat being lightly sanded with some 800 grit wet and dry sandpaper before the next was applied.

Mid Century Australian Furniture

The results were pretty great! Lovely tones however with a varying contrast due to the timbers used, which leads me to think that the original orange/?/stain/shellac applied was probably more so to ensure that all pieces were uniform in their colouring due to the varying timbers used………Give me the au naturel look any day!

Until next time.

Retro Australian Bedside

by Summertone.

Summertone Bedside – Part 2

At the end of my last update I had removed the base/legs and was continuing to prepare the bedside for it’s new finish.

1950's bedside restoration
Sorry about the shadows!

With the bedside now in pieces I could get stuck into some fine veneer repairs along with the final preparation of the timber surfaces before reassembly.  As mentioned previously due to the thin nature of the veneer, patience is a must when sanding,  240 grit to start, 320 grit to finish.

Prepped and ready to go
Getting there

Reassembly was pretty straight forward, fresh wood glue, and with the existing screws and holes all lining up it went back together like a jigsaw puzzle, just lucky I numbered each piece!

Mid Century Bedside
Sanded, assembled and ready for a new finish

Once the glue had dried, a very light final sand with some 400 grit wet and dry was carried out in preparation for the Danish Oil to be applied.

Next up – the finished product!

Stool Re manufacture

If you’ve browsed our online store, you may of noticed in the ‘Coming Soon’ section I’ve had a T.H Brown fondue coffee table and stool set sitting there for perhaps a little too long. The table and glass are in great condition, and were not the hold up! It was/is the 3 stools.

You see, unfortunately the original woollen upholstery is well worn and needs to be recovered. Not overly hard no. However when I started to pull one apart all those months/ years ago…..eeek I was not overly impressed with the condition, or materials used for the frame of each stool. This was a tad surprising given the reputation for furniture items manufactured by T.H Brown however I guess if it’s not to be seen, and does the job for 20 or 30 years what’s the problem? Save costs where they can…………

Anyways, back to the stools. As you can see from the images below 10mm particle board was used, along with some rough cut pine which was all held together with a few nails. Time and moisture have played their part which left the frames in pretty poor and unstable condition. There’s no way you’d ever apply new upholstery over the top! So before moving ahead I wanted to re manufacture the frames for the 3 stools to a higher quality than what was there before, to ensure they’ll last for as long as is required!

T.H Brown Fondue Table
Nice Sundays Work!

I used the base from one of the stools as a template to ensure I ended up with the same shape. This shape was traced onto 12mm plywood (much preferred than particle board although double the cost $$), 42mm x 18mm pine along with some 50mm long screws, nails, and wood glue will provide a plenty solid and long lasting frame for the new upholstery to be applied too!

Now just to select the material!

Updates will follow!

Kafka Lounge – Part 4 – Completed!

Sorry for the length of time between posts! Unfortunately time got a little short before my wedding, and thus the updates on the Kafka lounge have had to wait, however I was able to complete the freshen up before the big day, and use it exactly how I had planned!

I left you with the hand rests sanded, and ready for the finish to be applied. As they are firmly attached, removing wasn’t an option, so to prevent any of the finish getting on that majestic coloured vinyl, good old masking tape was used. Fiddly, however once on I didn’t have to be too concerned about any spillage or runs staining the vinyl!

Preping for the finish!
Time consuming!

Once done, the finish was ready to be applied. In my very first post about the lounge I mentioned the different timbers used and how matching hand rests to the darker teak legs may be a little difficult. To try and darken the coachwood (hand rests) I experimented with a few different stains, and applications, and eventually settled on a mixture of 10:1 – being 10 parts danish oil to 1 part teak stain. Mixed together and applied with a soft, cotton cloth I was extremely happy with the results after 4 coats were applied. It really highlighted that grain in the left hand side hand rest!

Danish Oil & Teak Stain
Great finish!

With all the timber work now complete, all that was left was to fit the cheesecloth to the underside to cover up the ‘internals’, refit the timber legs and give the lounge a quick wipe over once more with the vinyl conditioner!

Underside cover for the 1950's lounge
Neaten things up!

So how did it turn out…………? Guess you’ll have to wait until next time to see! 🙂

Kafka Lounge – Part 3

Part 3 brings us the wood.

First off, the solid teak legs.

Danish Oiled Teak 1950's Legs
Before, During & After!

All pretty self explanatory! From the top left we have a comparison between a sanded teak leg to one with the original finish which I’ll use a guide for when it comes ‘colour matching’. Working clockwise we then have all 4 legs sanded. Due to only wanting to remove the original finish I didn’t have to go to harsh with the sandpaper. 240 grit was plenty enough to remove it, and then finish with a 400 grit which gave a great, super smooth finish.

Bottom left shows all 4 legs in my jig to apply the danish oil finish. This was after 1 coat, notice the matt finish, and how it will change to a higher gloss/sheen when more coats are applied. Also of note are the 2 distinctive shades of colour between the legs, with the longer legs (front) being darker. Bottom right shows the completed legs with 4 coats of Danish Oil applied. Very happy with the end result!

Retro Timber Coachwood Hand Rests
Ready for sanding.

With the legs now done and dusted, my attention turned indoors, and to the well worn hand rests. To remove what was left of the original shellac finish I used a cabinet style scraper. What you see above is the completed works.

240 grit sanding.
Much Better.

With a steady hand and some 240 grit sandpaper I got to work being ever so careful to avoid the vinyl upholstery. An hour later and a few sheets less of sandpaper and I was done. I was super impressed with the grain on the left side hand rest. I couldn’t see it before through the shellac, but it’s looking like there’s a bit of fiddleback in there. Will be great to see how it shows up under the Danish Oil! A quick hit with some 400 grit to wrap things up and we’re just about ready to apply the new finish.

Kafka ‘Freshen Up’ – Part 2

I’ll be moving reasonably quickly through the freshen up of the Kafka lounge, largely due to a major deadline looming (read wedding) in the next few weeks – I’m also a little ahead of where I’m posting about.

Repairing Mid Century Furniture
Tape & Vinyl Glue

So following on from the original clean, removing of stray paint and applying a conditioner to the vinyl we have now landed at the scratches and small tears to the original vinyl upholstery. The main one of note, is a small tear, approximately 15-20mm long x 2 – 3mm wide in the centre of the main cushion. What to do?

I did investigate the possibility of recovering the cushion, however to match the original colour and pattern of the vinyl was proving to be a difficult task, and to be honest probably more trouble than it was worth, so the decision was made to leave it as it, and just tidy up a few of the smaller nicks and scratches with some specific vinyl adhesive to stop them catching and going any further.

Once the adhesive was dry, I then moved onto removing the angular, tapered teak legs in preparation for refinishing. The legs were simply screwed into a threaded nut that ‘bites’ into the other side of the timber. Simple, yet effective.

With the legs removed I was faced with the dirty, well worn calico/cheesecloth cover to the underside of the lounge.

Killer 50's Retro Chair
Calico or Cheesecloth?

I had always been in two minds in regards to replacing it. Looking back now I wonder how that thought could of ever entered my mind! Being a little tired made for lite work in removing the bottom cover. With 60 years of dust settled on it, I also discovered that originally it looks like it was light blue in colour, perhaps to blend just that little better. With the replacement I don’t think I’ll worry with the colour, just a nice clean piece of calico/cheesecloth to cover the ‘internals’ of the lounge, which by the way are in great shape for their age! No sagging springs or visible damage. Score.

Teal Vinyl Australian Lounge

With the underside of the lounge now accessible, and a heap of old rusty staples looking at me square in the face (used to fix the calico cover) I got to work removing them all, one at a time. Not really necessary, and a lot of guys would just cover over the top, however my slightly obsessive compulsive nature wouldn’t let me do it. Much better in the long run I think.

Quick thing to note – It appears the slight angle on the front legs were achieved by using a small piece of masonite under the rear side of the front leg(s). Interesting.

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!

Sideboard Restoration/Upcycling Complete!

A little over 2 weeks ago I posted about a Sideboard I was in the middle of restoring/upcycling for a customers holiday house on the coast. Since that time the finishing touches were added and today we got around to delivering and setting it up.

I thought I’d take a few before and after pictures to show the difference a functional piece of furniture (being over 60 years old) can make to ANY room in your house. Sometimes we get too caught up in ‘dressing’ up a piece for a photoshoot that we forget it’s original purpose. I mean lets face it, we don’t all have Murano glass, bitossi bulls and period artwork pieces to decorate our sideboards with, so it was extremely refreshing to see just how good the sideboard looked today.


Before picture of a coastal homes lounge room



Coastal Lounge Room with Restored Mid Century Sideboard


As you can see, the sideboard fits in perfectly. It does everything a good, functional sideboard/TV unit should, whilst bringing a nice touch of 1950’s design along with it. I really like the combination of materials here, and how they all seem to blend seamlessly into one. We have the original maple veneer/solid timber base, the industrial look pine plywood, the vivid white backs/middle display section and the glass sliding doors/middle display shelf.

The new owners are over the moon and couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out.

Be sure to get in contact if you are facing a similar situation. We are always happy to discuss ideas and see in what ways we can help!