Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paul Evans Cityscape Coffee Table

Finished Piece

This is a Paul Evans Cityscape coffee table I received from a client in the Fort Worth area who was planning to take it to show it in the 48th annual Dolly Johnson Antique & Art Show. It was also to be featured in 360 West magazine, which I thought was pretty neat.
This was when I had first moved into my new shop here by the levy..The piece was in really rough shape. I've done several of these Paul Evans pieces and have had great success with them. I really like the olive burl veneer and some of their designs are really great, even though some are a little over the top, it's got a certain deco quality about it as well as having the sleekness of a modern design.

One thing I love especially about this, is not necessarily even the design, but the philosophy behind the design and production of it, which is exactly the type of thing we are going to be trying to do here in the very near future (it is called Hand Crafted Modern, for those of you interested and we will be making prototypes and refining designs for a few lines of furniture this fall).... Their philosophy is basically the same as ours...Every piece should have the same amount of lovingly designed and hand crafted and finished care as the last one or the one after it. This way, you have nothing but truly one of a kind pieces of custom furniture even if they are from the same basic design, each one is different and cared for throughout the whole creative process.
(from Wikipedia) The artist's relationship with Directional Furniture set a unique standard for creative manufacture by insisting every piece is made by hand, finished by hand, supervised by the artist at each step of production, one piece at a time.

I had been told it needed some pieces of veneer glued up, so I thought, o.k. , no problem, nothing I can't handle...Well, if you look at this piece closer (which is a series of boxes, connected to one another) , you begin to realize, that a few pieces of veneer turns into several dozen.

First glue/clamp ups

Alternate View

More Clamps Being Added

Another Alternate View


This set of boxes is veneered on every side by dozens of pieces of olive burl veneer and chrome plated steel. Most of the chrome was in decent shape, just needed a bit of polishing , but the olive burl veneer was peeling, splitting and torn from all sides. There were also a couple of dozen pieces of veneer missing that had to be measured , re-cut and re-applied (after the surface was scraped clean at the substrate). Towards the end of the glue ups, I started to realize that it was absolutely necessary to remove the piece of chrome on the end box hiding the first set of screws that held the last box to the one next to it, which would in turn reveal the next when it was removed. This way I would be able to glue up and clamp pieces that I couldn't otherwise get to and get an even finish all the way around, when I actually got to that point.
This one was definitely a challenge. I found the veneer I needed and it was a perfect match, once I applied to proper toner to it during the finishing process. I first carefully removed all of the failing veneer, scraped and cleaned the surface it was to be applied to (also marking every piece of veneer so as to know where it went back to) and re-applied and glued up everything I was able to get to before disassembling the boxes....

Once this was done, I marked, measured, cut and dry fit all of the veneer pieces that were actually missing and applied them as well. At this point I took apart the boxes and repeated the process with the other pieces I wasn't able to get to at first (in hindsight, it wouldn't have been a bad idea to disassemble the boxes first, but I was trying to avoid it for several reasons)... That all said and done ( which took several dozen hours) I was ready to begin the preparation for finishing....
We taped off all of the chrome, stripped it box by box and then let it dry, checked the tape and re-taped for sanding, got everything finish sanded, removed the tape and taped again for finishing....

FINALLY!! I was able to move it into the paint booth. I applied the toner I had mixed to match what would be the original aged patina of the olive burl and then applied the rest of the finish. I then re-assembled the boxes, did one last glue up as well as gluing back the piece of chrome I had removed ( the boxes had already been consecutively numbered on the bottom so I didn't actually have to re-mark them so they went back in the correct order) and cleaned it up as well somewhere there polishing the chrome. Unfortunately, my name didn't get mentioned in the article for the restoration, but here is the final piece and the article it was in. Pretty happy it made it in there, nonetheless.

360 Article