Monday, February 23, 2015

The Dump

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Sometimes I have wondered if I should just set up a little stand right outside the dump where I could look over the contents of trucks entering and save a few old beauties before they finish their last ride. The Mr. and I were at a local thrift store a while back and found, and walked away from, a vintage dresser many times.  It seemed a bit over priced considering the top was totally warped and separated from the frame a good inch in both the front and the back.  Now replacing a top does not always throw us off, but this was a Waterfall style.  Rebuilding that kind of curve could take some time and skills.  It didn't help that the mirror obviously didn't go with it and the veneer was covered, interestingly enough, in a sheet of cork glued down.  But as I looked more closely at the body of this baby it wasn't too bad, a few chips out of drawer veneers, normal scratches for it's age, pretty carved wood detailing, and all original hardware intact.  The manager saw us and told us it had been there for a while and she was about ready to send it on to the dump.  We made an offer, and she countered with a lower offer when we said we'd give her the mirror to sell separately.  And we left determined to figure out what to do with that top!

Here is what it looked like after stripping off the cork and two layers of veneer.
Nice concave top huh?!  The Mr., who must be a frustrated engineer deep inside, decided he would tackle this problem and totally ignored my brilliant ideas.   But that's OK, by adding some cleats and drawing the curved ends downward by screwing them in from underneath he made it almost level again.  Want to know why almost?  Because when the front and the back came down then all the pressure to "change" moved to the center.  Do you know what old wood sounds like when it finally gives up to the pressure to move?  A loud gunshot is what!  Scared the crud out of me, and hello new crack down the middle of the dresser top.  At this point we could have purchased some new veneer and attached it, but that old wood was never going to be perfectly flat on the top so we opted to sand off any splinters from the split (ha!) and go with the rustic look.  Now my fun begins!

I opted to use a technique my friend Deb from Lake Girl Paints has shown in tutorials on her blog.  Deb is a brilliant, and generous, artist who has used this technique on a lot of her pieces and shows step by step the process she uses.  Please go visit her site and check out her projects where she shows you exactly how to use this on your own projects.  Deb Hrabik is AMAZING!
I forgot to take a photo after the red first coat, but as you can see I decided to partially disguise the flaws in this piece by creating layer upon layer of paint.  I didn't use a brush until the end.  Want to see what I was using?
Folded card stock and a process that Deb describes as dip and drag.  Can you see those cracks in the top?  We are celebrating those baby!
Here is the 3rd coat drying.  I might have over covered a bit with this coat, but that's OK.  This is a very freeing project where there aren't many rules...just lots of coats!  So far I have used Fireworks Red, Born on the 4th of July, and Smoke Signal.  My final coat was Waistcoat, a retired APC color that I just love.
After a combination of sanded and wet distressing you can see some of all the old colors I layers on peeking through.  It looks old and rustic and added over time.

Dark wax really tones down the intensity of Waistcoat.
See the pretty little Art Deco trim.
And this hardware, oh my.  This photo really shows the texture you can create with the dip and drag technique.
I'm pleased with how this one turned out.  The Mr. even asked if I really wanted to throw a price tag on this piece.  We'll see...

Have a super week everyone!

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