Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Season for Gibbings

OK. Here is the table all finished and waxed. I was very happy with the way it came out. Much better than the red it had on it.

And here are the chairs all finished with the cushions put back on them. What an excellent choice of fabric, Monica made. I think it works perfect with these chairs. I hope they enjoy them for many years to come. I was also lucky enough to hear the story behind the table and chairs. What a find!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gibbings Gibbings Gibbings

I have definitely done my fair share of refinishing of Robsjohn Gibbings (MFG. by Widdicomb) pieces and they are all generally very tedious and illusive animals, although very beautiful and very well built. The finishes and the treatments that are done to these in the finishing process, make them very difficult to work with in a refinishing situation, but if you have any experience with them and can get past the initial fear and loathing, then you can really come out with something nice when you have them completed. Well, I always seem to have a run of either a similar designer, similar manufacturer, or a similar wood at one time and in this case it is Gibbings. I just finished this piece (I wish I could afford it. It looks really good in my back room since we painted the walls).....

And I am working on these chairs and this table...(I have only the table base shown here)

-Unfortunately someone got hold of these before I did and there were swirl marks (from a disk sander with too heavy of a grit and too heavy of a hand) all over it, but luckily I was able to raise them out and get to the real wood grain, not to mention it had been dyed a lipstick red color and painted in as thick a finish, so we really had our work cut out for us on this. Not to mention, they had severely burned through the veneer on one of the ends of the table leaf, so I had to remove and replace a piece of the veneer. This repair came out pretty nice as well. I will post some more pictures of the table and base as I get it done.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Messengers Incorporated

Thanks to Chad (and Will) for turning me on to this. Sorry, haven't had a lot of time to post. (It seems I should quit apologizing, for the few people who read this blog, they're probably aware by now that once a month is about the norm.) I don't normally do music posts on this blog, but this is an exception. Straight from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The best thing you could find there, and of course, Chad has it. I have to find this one. More furniture posts/doings very soon. Enjoy.

Messengers Incorporated - Soulful Proclamation .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Saturday, October 10, 2009

So......I've been busier than a one legged cat in a room full of rocking chairs (or some semblance of that phrase) and my shop is full enough that I am having trouble moving around (that's o.k. though, I like it that way). I have had some very interesting projects come through the doors here, but haven't had much time to blog about them as I've been working around the clock to take care of everyone.

I've had a couple of really nice articles that came out recently, one in Modern Luxury Magazine written by Rebecca Sherman, and one in the Dallas and Fort Worth Mid-Century Modern Blog written by Felicia Smith. I've updated the website so there is a link to all of the reviews on the front page (thanks to Mr. Jason Crow) and I will be adding more pictures soon, when I have the time to gather them all and put them in some sort of order.

I just finished this piece....

It is an early Nelson cabinet designed by Gilbert Rohde, the man who saved Nelson apparently. I love his work, deco meets modern, you know. Anyway, I am happy with the way it turned out. I really hate the way Salvation Army bangs these things around. Glad it wasn't too far gone.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

FORM (opening today!)

Finally, two of the foremost people in the mid-century realm are opening up a great new modern furniture store in the heart of East Dallas. I am sure there will be plenty of great stuff there to choose from. I am heading down there in a while to check out the grand opening (it's not actually a 'grand' opening, but today is the first day they will be open). The store is located on Henderson right next to the Pearl Cup and directly across the street from Sputnik Modern. Long time friends and clients of mine. I am wishing them many great years of success with this new endeavor. Don't let the rain keep you in. Go have a warm cup of coffee or Espresso at the Pearl Cup and go look at some great pieces of modern furniture at FORM. These guys do it right.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mark Stevens of TVLamps.net

Mark Stevens shares our passion for many things mid-century, namely TV Lamps and old televisions and it shows in the extensive history he has so lovingly recorded and published on his many websites.


How it started...
Mark's interest in artifacts ("I always think of antiques and other old stuff as "artifacts of the past", remnants of things that were before our time or long-forgotten") began when he was in high school. "For reasons I forget, I began collecting vintage bottles and glass insulators, finding them at flea markets and antique shops. I used to walk along the railroad tracks south of town searching for insulators, as the earliest telegraph/telephone lines were strung alongside the tracks. (old insulators were often tossed to the ground and forgotten) That hobby passed after a couple of years, as life sort of got in the way of such trivialities for a time. But in the 1980s I became fascinated in movies from the 1950s, particularly the low-budget sci-fi and horror films." It seems this (and the golden Turkey Awards) is what began his fascination of all things related to the early american television experience and TV Lamps in general. I guess his proximity to the journalism field (he managed a paper for about 25 years locally) is what prompted him to and enabled him to research and write the history of tvlamps and a certain manufacturer out of texas (Texans Inc.) as well as cataloguing his whole family journal/tree. Some might say that this information is a bit extraneous but it is people like this that take the time to record and research this that enable some of the younger folks who are as impassioned about a subject to have the pleasure of knowing at least some of the whole story. I believe the research and writing about Texans Inc. is what inspired Mark to start TVLamps.net. Good thing.

My story as relates to Mark/TVLamps.net....

"Tvlamps were introduced right around 1950, coinciding with the proliferation of television in the home. The thinking was that eye damage could result from the glare of the TV screen, so decorative, back-lit ceramic statues were made to soften the contrast. This was a silly notion, but sillier still are the lamps themselves, often portraying ferocious-looking panthers, leaping gazelles, siamese cats, and all sorts of other animals."
I , personally think they are beautiful and one big happy accident. Americans are always coming up with crazy new ways of bettering their already crazy inventions and this is definitely no exception. One of the things that makes americana so intriguing to all of us, or at least myself.
I discovered his first website (tvlamps.net) as I was searching for the perfect Christmas gift for a very good friend of mine. I have also always had (since I was a teenager) a love for all things 50's, but especially lamps and old televisions/radios. When I disovered what I thought was the perfect gift for my friend. (Below)

Mark was such a pleasure to deal with and so timely in his responses. He was also very informative and very courteous, something you don't always find when dealing with businesses over the internet (or anywhere for that matter). As a small business owner, and someone who still values the old way of doing things (in other words doing things right and actually having a passion for what you are doing and taking care of the people you are serving), this means a great amount to me. I book marked the site immediately. We shared a few emails about our passions for all things mid-century and ended up linking from site to site. You have to be careful who you refer because it can reflect directly back to you. I felt very confident about adding tv lamps to my list of links and I still do. If you are in need of that perfect lamp for your mid century haven, then this is one of the best places to find it. If you're also interested in the history of it, or a certain Texas based tv lamp company, then definitely head on over to his other site (http://www.texansincorporated.com/ ) and give it a gander. I think you will be pleased.
TV Lamps were going to be my main focus here at first, but if you check out Mark's blog (Atomic Antiques), you'll find that he's basically all over the map of the 20th century. I guess this probably comes from his passion for writing too. You can always find something interesting if you head over to this one. This basically gives him the freedom to expound upon all of the other things, besides and as well as, the mid-century things he loves. If you are ever wondering who wrote a certain b-movie great, starred in it, what go carts they were riding in the 50's, or what crazy building they were using for a cult movie shoot, then this is the place to be. I love it, and I always find that I learn something new when I go there. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

(I have also included, for your viewing pleasure, just a few of the gems he has for sale over at his website below)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Toshmahal Featured on Atomic Antiques.com

Mark Stevens of Atomic Antiques.com and TVLamps.net recently featured Toshmahal on his blog. He is at least a little bit like me in the respect that he is pretty much caught up with everything mid-century. He has some really cool articles on there as well. I'll have to do a feature on him soon.

Check it out here.

Toshmahal: The Rebirth of Mid-Century Furniture

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wakefield Wishbone Table and Chairs

I just finished these up last week. Hadn't been able to post here cause I've been a little busy. I've got some other pieces I've finished that turned out really nice, but I thought I would post these up first.

This is a great Heywood Wakefield dining set. These are often referred to as 'dogbone' chairs. The table with the two leaves seats 6, very comfortably. The table is also commonly referred to as the 'whalebone' or 'wishbone' or also the 'butterfly'. The most common I hear is the 'wishbone'.

There were 6 of these chairs, some strays from different families and with different finishes and bad refinishes, so it took a little bit of work to get them where they needed to be, but I think they turned out really nice. I can't wait to see them when the upholstery is done.

The table had been refinished wrong as well (way too dark) (I failed to take 'before' pictures of this although here is an example of how dark it started out...)

.....so it took a little work to get that out of the grain, but I really love the way this maple glows when you finally get it right. I always loved the design of the legs on these and the way the little 'rutters' or 'fins' flip in and out to hold up the end leaves on the table.

This can be used without the two leaves as a drop leaf table as well, to save on space, but when you have family or friends over for dinner, you can break out the leaves and it will give everyone plenty of elbow room.

It is always rewarding to bring one of these back up to it's proper state. I will post more pictures of the chairs (and hopefully table in it's natural habitat) once the upholstery is done.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Heywood Wakefield Restoration

This is a project I've been working on, off and on for a few weeks now. It's a Heywood Wakefield Encore dresser. I found this (much in need of repair and refinishing) Dresser at one of my favorite local haunts. Didn't realize the back and the bottom was in need of replacing until we started loading it up. As of now, I have the bottom removed and the back (what was left of it) removed. The back and the bottom inner pieces (two 1/4" pieces of birch ply inserted in a tongue and groove solid birch/maple frame) were curling up because of over exposure to some type of moisture, so they will be replaced and re-inserted and then the bottom will be re-atatched. I will use the old back piece for a template to make the new one. I'll also save the old piece of the back with the serial numbers and finish type on it. I have restored many Heywood Wakefield pieces since I have been doing this and perfected a mix for both the Wheat and the Champagne finish. I mix all of my own stains and toners. I only use a certain type because it doesn't mask the grain. (there are about 3 variations of each of these even coming from the original factory and one of these is a little more opaque. I usually prefer (as do most) the lighter version of this because it doesn't mask the beauty of the solid maple graining, so this must definitely be taken into consideration when refinishing) I don't think there are many people in town who completely understand these finishes. It took much trial and error to perfect and there are many steps involved, but the results are beautiful. I have brought many of these back from the dead. This one is especially involved though. I have the top and the sides ready to finish. They have been stripped sanded and all of the gouges (and there were many) raised out and sanded. Here are some pictures of the progression so far. I will post more up as I get further along, so feel free to check back if you like.

Side View Before stripping

Back view before restoration

After stripping

Drawer after sanding with toner applied

Drawers after applying final finish

Bottom of cabinet before removal/restoration

Bottom of cabinet after removal

Top of cabinet after sanding/repair

Back of cabinet before removal

back of cabinet after removal awaiting new backing

This is as it sits now. I am in the process of making the pieces to fit into the bottom and the back. I will probably just add to this post rather than making a new one, so be sure and check back here in a few days if you want to see the progress.

Almost Completed (First Update)

Here are the bottom pieces cut, put in place and clamped to dry

And the bottom piece section put back in place

The back section cut and put back into place...

And finally, the whole piece toned, finished and put back together

All it needs now is for the two broken feet to be made (thanks Tony), put into place and finished and it will be complete. This has been quite an involved restoration, but it is always rewarding to see something like this come back to this. Now, hopefully, with the proper care, it can serve someone for a long time to come. I hope this didn't boar anyone to tears.

Friday, May 22, 2009

This Time Last Year

I was out at my grandparents' ranch outside of Breckenridge, Texas, getting hitched. I am just as happy today to be married to this wonderful woman. We spent our honeymoon in the beautiful country beach setting that is the North Shore of Hawaii (a lifetime dream of both of ours). My wife took this picture of some of the greatest Tiki's on the island (this is one of the three) on the north west side of the island.

Being that the first year is the 'paper' anniversary, I thought I would commission my good friend, Scott Krakowski to do one of his beautiful wood cuts for the occasion. Here is the woodcut in progress...

And here is the black and white version of what will eventually be colorized....

This man does amazing work. I really hope he continues to pursue this realm of art. I am so excited to get the colorized version and was totally blown away by the black and white (which will of course also be framed). I will also post pics when they are framed. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Otis Dozier prints

Well, I just got these done. Everything seemed to go together very nicely. Just thought I would post up some pictures of a little of the process and the final product if anyone's interested in seeing them. Here's a few shots of the framed pieces......

Indian Corn

Passage to the Sea


And that is just a few. Here is some of the process..
All matted up and mounted (to the mat using preservation corners so there is no tape touching the art), ready to have the glass cut and put on and the frame added....

And here is the frame after it's been mitered and joined. And then the final adding of the frame and the fit up (backing and hangers applied). This is probably a serious over-simplification of the process but it might give you more of an idea of how it works. Hope y'all enjoyed it. I really enjoyed framing these.