I featured this little bookcase here....
As I have said MANY times, I look for pieces that grab my attention and are "unusual." Rarely am I looking specifically for something that has great value...I want "different" with style, function and durability.
As I mentioned when I featured this piece, I could not find any information about it...which of course tells me it is indeed "unusual." But this week I was cruising around the Internet trying to find information about another walnut piece I bought and discovered this....
Wow...seriously? I paid $45 for mine in a flea market!
I bought this little cabinet at an auction for $1 and featured here...
For the longest time I couldn't find anything about it! I eventually found it on 1stdibs.com for $2200.
The Lane tables, Drexel coffee table, mid century chairs, my office chair...all pieces I picked up for a fraction of their value, but it is never the "value" or potential profit that motivates me. It is the potential they have to be beautiful additions to my home.
HOWEVER, finding they have a great "value" is validation that these are desirable pieces and are worth the time and effort to bring back to life! Real treasures....
This week I picked up this little walnut table at an auction....
Fortunately it still has this little paper label on the underside so I hope eventually I can find out some information on it! So far, no luck.
Is that not a beautiful description of walnut? You would never know it based on the current condition of the table, but once you strip away all the abuse and neglect it is indeed a warm, inviting color.
This is exactly why I love working with walnut...a little time and a little effort brings it back to all it's glory and the dignity, permanence, strength and beauty of this wood is evident again!
My original plan was to refinish the table and sell it...but honestly, as I worked on it I knew it would be making a home right here.
Just this week a fellow blogger was having issues with "stripping" furniture. The process I use is not easy, but there is no easy way to remove decades of use, neglect or abuse. But if you take your time, use a proven process AND do it RIGHT, the pride you will feel in yourself and the joy you will feel bringing an old piece back to life will make it ALL worth the time and effort! Trust me!
I used the 1/2 acetone and 1/2 lacquer thinner mixture to strip the old finish. It really does just melt the old finish right off. I scrubbed it with steel wool and used a toothbrush in the fluted groves and corners. After all the old finish was off, I "washed" it down with mineral spirits. (I can not stress enough how important it is to keep a good stockpile of old towels handy if you are going to strip furniture!)
I did have to sand the top a bit but no harm since it is solid and not veneer. Someone had evidently tried to spruce up the top at some point and sanded "across the grain," leaving marks. You can kind of see it in the "before" picture. Trust me...if you can see the sanding marks before you stain or apply a finish, you are definitely going to see them after! Take time to remove them BEFORE you apply stain and finish!
Again, ALWAYS start with a fine grit, sanding WITH the grain, and only work your way down to a courser grit if needed...then work your way up and finish with a fine grit. I used a 220 grit and some serious elbow grease, sanding with the grain, to remove the cross grain marks!
After the mineral spirits dried, I wiped the entire piece with a tack cloth and then applied the first coat of tung oil finish. I did not stain this piece...I love the natural color of walnut! Between each coat, I "buffed" lightly with 0000 steel wool and then wiped it down with a clean tack cloth. I know I stress this step, but it is SO important!!! I applied 3 coats to the base and 4 to the top.
One of the great advantages to using an oil finish is the ability to easily recoat pieces when they begin to show a little wear or look worn and dull. While I had the oil out and a sponge saturated I applied another coat to my coffee table (I keep scrap foam and old socks in my stash to make oil applicators) . It had a few scratches from our new puppy and the cats. I just rubbed it down with 0000 steel wool, wiped it with a tack cloth and then wiped a coat of tung oil finish on it...looks brand new! You can't do that with poly!!!
Walnut is one of my favorite woods...it is absolutely stunning when oiled. There is no way I could part with this table.
Golden rule, if something comes in, something has to go out.
Yep, now I have to part with a Duncan Phyfe drum table I have had for 25 years...wow...that's going to be a tough one!
But honestly, the new table is more "my style"...