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.