Tuesday, December 14, 2010


well, we have done lots of arranging and organizing here at the new shop and things are starting to fall into place. I was finally able to get a few pieces in the works here in the last week and a half and it's a good feeling. We had a lot to contend with getting the utilities going and the building functional, as it hasn't been inhabited for quite some time, but the gas should be turned on tomorrow (finally, it's freezing in there and the space heaters don't compare to the suspended gas heater we will have fired up). There is still much electrical to be run, but that should be in the works very soon. Here are a few of the pieces I have completed at the new shop. Hope you enjoy.....
(Note...This is also a somewhat dated post. I have lights in the paintbooth now, and electrical, and we also have power drops to the tablesaw and jointer and many more pieces have come and gone. still a ways to go, but we have made lots of progress and I've also had 3 other Frank Lloyd Wright (Hendredon) pieces come through. A Couple of my regular dealers have also opened up new spaces very near by, so the best of luck to them as well. More pictures to come in the very near future of course.)

This pair came to me from an individual referral. It's by RWAY, from the 40's. Nice Honduran Mahogany mixed with Bird's eye drawer fronts. Really Like the lines on these....

(pictures to come)

A couple of really nice McCobb pieces, both solid maple, of course (one a rarely seen table/dresser/jewelry chest) for Form..

These are both Widdicomb, by Robsjohn Gibbings, done for Sputnik Modern. You can also see this post for more info on the Gibbings....

This is a beautiful walnut Brown Saltman Dining Table, also for Sputnik Modern.

-there are many more, but it's difficult to post everything. Just like on the website, it's just a drop in the bucket, but I will try and keep putting some of these up here if anyone's interested in seeing them. Meanwhile, more shop pics to come and it get's more and more into a fully functional mode.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Location

As many of you already know, I have been working with a few different people to get my new shop ready to go. It has been a couple of months in the making. We started out with a pretty bare bones metal building, and it had plenty of issues. We now have the outer walls repaired (which were leaking and rammed in a few places thanks to what must have been a drunken forklift driver). We also have the inner walls built, insulated and sheetrocked and just finished up building the paint booth the other day. Have my shop partner's stuff all moved in and partly arranged. I shoud have the rest of my operation up and running in here by next monday. It has been a long time coming. I have made things work well with my beloved home shop for many years now, but I felt like it was an oppurtunity for a positive change that I couldn't (or shouldn't) pass up. I am going to really love having more space to work. I have included several pictures of the process of re-working the new shop and there will be more to come. Just make a note of the new address. It is 4750 Gretna. This is 75207, right off of Irving blvd. , close to Inwood road.

Most of the walls had to be 'stick framed', which I eventually figured out was framing it stick by stick, because of the notches that had to be put in every stud for the cross braces.

Thanks to Bart and James for Schooling me on some of the finer points of construction.

And thanks to Larry and Mitchell, the outer walls were fixed so we can keep out the critters and the rain.

Finished walls on the north side of the building.

The inside of the new paint booth.

along with some nice natural lighting..

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Nice Article

I have been in the process of moving my shop over off of Irving blvd., building walls and doing repairs and things to get it ready to move in and helping my shop mate move, so have been so busy that I haven't been able to post much. I'm really excited about the move. (I will post about this later) In the meantime, a friendly nieghborhood MCM blogger has written a really nice post about this here operation. (thanks again, Dana!)

Mid to Mod Blogspot : Toshmahal

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Rather than making another post, I will just link to this. Going to miss this little guy.

The Hungry Texan (Posting)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Learning Curves

This is another piece of Finn-Juhl I have had brought to me that was very badly neglected before it got into our hands. We have a pretty good idea that this (and the other Credenza) had sat for a long time in a very damp place and just eventually sagged under it's own weight and the poor thing ended up looking like an old swayback horse. Not to mention all of the other repairs that this had on it, the main thing on this was to straighten out the top and get it to stay straight once the desk was put back together, having to bear the weight of it's world once again.

I cut a piece of red oak to go under the desk and run the width of it, about 3/4 x 2 1/2 x 32" and centered it belly side down, clamped the ends to my work table, 2 on each end, over compensating the curve of the top, steamed it heavily from the underside twice, letting it sit overnight both times, prayed a lot, released it after a long steamy weekend, checked it and it was perfectly flat. Now to keep it this way....
There are a few options here, My dealer had the idea to use a piece of angle iron bolted to the bottom and the stretcher (I think this is the simplest without routing a channel into the bottom of the desk and it worked beautifully.). I don't normally do any metal working, but agreed to do this one. I pre-drilled a total of 36 holes in 1/8 inch angle iron with my hand drill (ouch. I am getting a drill press very soon, to do the other piece the same way, plus it will come in handy for other jobs. My hands won't take too much more of that), shearing off about 3-4 1/4 inch drill bits, but eventually getting them done, putting in 36 one inch lag bolts (with a slight pre-drill in the top and the stretcher, so they wouldn't split) and they grabbed very nicely. It has sat up on it's feet (thanks to Kevin for helping me flip it over) for more than 72 hours and it is straight as it can be. I love when a plan comes together. Anyway, I think we saved this one from going to the curb. Hopefully it will have a much longer, happier life now.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pull up a Chair

I've said it many times before to different clients that a chair is not always a chair in the sense that you know what to expect in the refinishing/repair of it (the same could be said for a table or credenza).

There seems to be a very common misconception that just because it is a chair (maybe because it is small), it should be less work than a table or any other various larger pipeces of furniture. This couldn't be further from the truth.

They are generally a little more time consuming and difficult to properly design and build, and build to last. The same often times holds true with the restoration and refinishing process of these beasts of burden. These are very delicate items, that over time, with all of the stress and strain we tend to put on them, are truly tested to thier limits. Many times when they come to me for a 'little tlc' or a 'touch up', many times unbeknownst to the client, they are in need of much more. After many years of experiencing this, you know more what to look for, but it has taken many years to get to the point where I recognize the tell tale signs. They are obvious to me now, but to many they are not. This is just an example of such a case. Just had a really good oppurtunity to shoot this one step by step, so I took full advantage of it.

This is one of those chairs (from the 60's I would hazard to guess) that is made of a sturdy white oak (good material by the way) and made to resemble walnut in color.
This could, in my opinion, sit along side any other high end modern designer chair and be quite comfortable with itself once the restoration is complete.

It came in originally just needing a tune up (there were a couple of obviously loose dowels, but the whole chair seemed a bit shakey), but I felt like the finish was pretty worn and gunked up over the years of use it had, not to mention some heavy scratches, so we collectively decided to refinish.

I will normally try to match what would be the natural aged patina of the original finish without all of the gunkiness and build up so you can actually see the woodgrain (in certain cases it is masked only because it is the nature of the original finish). I do this by using and mixing my own stains and toners again with many years of trial and error to perfect this process. (sometimes using a toner rather than a stain so as not to go too dark or too deep).
So..........after a stripping and a good sanding, it became more apparent that the dowel joints on this piece were very loose and in several more places than we'd originally thought (Again, this is not uncommon for a chair of this age) so I began loosening all of the joints to completely separate them so as to get the glue in all the right places, otherwise you are wasting your time and efforts. This also is a very delicate process. You don't want to break the joints, just separate, clean and re-glue/clamp them, also taking note here not to get glue on any of the surrounding surfaces (taping) as this can block out any finish/stain you try and apply later making it appear blotchy at best.
I have included many pictures here to show the clamping/glueing process. We also discovered that there was some ply separation at the arm, so I fixed that as well (thanks to the handy glue syringes I keep around). After all of this we were finally able to complete the sanding, apply the toner, tighten up all of the screws and add the new walnut buttons to cover the screw holes and finish with a nice satin clear coat and a final coat of carnuba wax.
This probably sounds very difficult and was too detailed/verbose. The truth of the matter thgou, is this is still the simplified version.

I hope you enjoyed the snapshot of this restoration. Hopefully it will help more in the understanding and appreciation of chairs in all of thier many forms.

dowel joints for back outer rails

inner dowel joints for front to back rails (see arrows)

dowel joints for rails from front to back under arms (arrows)

dowel joints for front rail left to right

ply seperation on arm of underside of chair damage/repair/clamp (with and without flash)

Toner applied after final sanding (with and without flash)

new buttons applied after screws tightened with grain aligned
(several angles with and without flash)

top angle with toner applied (so you can see arms)

several angles with finish applied

wax applied

And finally the chair put back together

Monday, May 17, 2010

Projects and Side Projects

Sorry I have not posted in a while. I guess from my point of view, that is a good sign. What with all of the BPE recordings, record makings (our new record is set to be released in June or July andI'm very excited about it) , BPE and Saddle Tramp shows, I get very little time to do this. Not to mention my main purpose for this outlet, the realm of furniture restoration and refnishing of mid century gems. (which as of late has been very busy and ever growing in the sense of restoration proper). I have had many challenging and sometimes perplexing, mind altering experiences in the furniture business. (one of which was a rosewood Finn Juhl credenza with a badly bowed top and carcass, having to be steamed and clamped several times to straighten, but with the original design (as much as I love Finn Juhl) in my humble opinion, being slightly flawed, needing to be re-structured to support it's own weight.) I have definitely had my work cut out for me and am continueing, even after 15 years to learn more about something I truly love and realize more and more that there is always more to learn. You truly can 'never step in the same river twice.'

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Frank Lloyd Wright Sideboard Restoration

I will post the story to go along with this at a later date, along with some more detailed pictures of the process. Just save to say, this was a labor of love (and worth it. I love the style of these). I've only had the pleasure of restoring a very few of these. They are pretty hard to come by. Here's the after shot of it anyhow (oh, and the Knoll table top in the background is on it's way)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I'm gonna miss this guy. One of the greatest dogs ever.

This was one of his favorite places to be. (mine too)