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

Friday, September 2, 2011

Some of My Finest Work Yet

(Although, we all know who did the work....I only stood by, or sat and held her hand and wished I could do something more, so I wouldn't pass out, nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, as they say) I tried to be steadfast and sturdy for my girls, but it was a little rocky. Now we have two more 'Hungry Texans' in the world.
This makes all of the work I do, just that much more worth the effort. So happy to have these girls in my life. I have been super busy the past few months preparing for the arrival of these two and now keeping them happy and healthy takes so much energy, I'm sure even single child parents understand this, but I would never trade it.
My muscles ache and my mind is reeling with sleep deprivation, I have trouble holding my head up, but I am more happy than I could have ever imagined. It IS all worth it. On August 21st, 2011, I was given two gifts and a great challenge... to be the best father and husband I could possibly be. Hopefully, somehow I can keep this up and measure up. It's funny how you find the strength to do something you feel so strongly about. Luckily, I can still get to the shop to do the work I need to do too, so I can keep my customers happy, bring home the bacon, and somehow find time to actually bring home the bacon and cook it, so my better half can focus more on her ten thousand things to do with being the best mother in the world and all. (which according to me, she is) Anyway, I'm rambling again. Anyway, if you'd like to see pics of them, you can go here,

To view photos of the twins click the link below:

Select date:8:21
Select: Sylvia S.
Then check out my girls, Lula and Cora!!!

but this one is one of my favorites so far...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

For my Girls

This dresser (this is what we'll call it for now. I have a feeling it is an old 'gentleman's chest, but it has been used as a baby's dresser all it's life as far as I know..) has been in my family for many generations and had as many layers of paint added to it for whatever reason (according to my dear Mother, probably one of the only things holding it together). It was my Grandpa B's (that's Henry Jack Black) when he was a child. I am thinking it was probably acquired when he lived in California. I really had little idea what to expect when I laid eyes on it again. It was used by both of my sisters, painted (lovingly, but painted) in Breckenridge years ago. Since I have two twin girls on the way, it was given to my wife and I to use for them and hopefully pass on to future generations.
Well, when I looked closer, I noticed some places where the paint was chipping (there were more than a few) and was happy to find that it was made from Solid Long Leaf Pine. This is not just any pine, but so sturdy that they used to make ship masts from it. Reason being, there is much more grain per square inch than regular pine, making it stouter and stronger almost as maple, but not quite as hard, just more stable and sturdy. Not to mention the fact that the graining is also very nice.
Well, After many hours of stripping off layers of paint, scraping and scouring, dental scrapers and all, (Many people aren't aware of this, but stripping old latex/colored lacquer/Milk paint involves much more than just painting on some stripper and wiping it off. Even the strongest of industrial rated strippers are not strong enough just to melt off this finish) I was really torn as to what stain I wanted to use on it. I knew I wanted it to be natural and for the wood grain to come through, but wasn't sure how it would look with the carving, so was considering something darker.

here are the door and drawer as they were painted before I started

I normally insist on restoring things back to what would be the natural aged color of the wood as if it had never been touched, so this was what I intended to do, but after applying the color, was still unsure...My wife urged me on, so I kept on in that direction. After staining one door, I applied the white to all of the hand carved areas with a fine tip brush (more painstaking work, but well worth it in the end) and then the whole picture started to come together. I finished out one door and knew this was exactly what we wanted (I had finished the inside drawers prior to this, but once I saw the combination, I knew this was the right thing for it).

With the painting and stain applied...

With clear coating applied

After finishing all of the drawers, I had to repair the upper rail, the hinges and make sure the wallowed out screws were set in place to stay. Finally, I had some brass knobs (the other knobs were yellow pine so I am sure they had been replaced) that were lying around doing nothing, added some machine screws to them since they were missing and they just fit, and just happened to go perfectly with the finish. I hope my Grandfather, god rest his soul, is as proud of it as we are. Maybe it will last another 100 years now. Here are some more of the pictures in it's final home, our little girls' nursery, which is another story altogether.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And Another

Another Dunbar side table for 20th Century Design....

More Photos

Rather than editing the whole post again and possibly deleting comments, I just decided to add some photos of some of the other pieces I had been working on. Here are the dressers I was referring to in the previous post (RWAY Cabinets). This is pretty much the very first set of cabinets to be completed at the new shop.

The larger cabinet on the stripping table, ready to be sanded/repaired...

Both Cabinets and Drawers sanded, repaired and ready to be finished....

And Both cabinets completed.