Monday, January 30, 2017

Mid Century Cat - Supersized!

Hola Amigos, it's been a long time since I last rapped at ya.  Earlier this year, we had some trees removed in our front yard (they were too close to the house), and I asked the tree man to leave about a 12-foot stump from the red oak outside our living room window.

At our fall block party, the neighbors were quizzing us about the stump...it had some newly sprouting branches with leaves and wasn't exactly a pretty sight.

Ernest T provides some scale to the tree stump

I had visions of carving something like Maynard...

Maynard in the prime of his life

But honestly, with this stump very visible from the street, I didn't want something that wasn't really nice.  And to get something nice you either work very slowly and carefully, or pay to have it done.  Luckily, my wife knew of a former co-worker's son who does chainsaw carving professionally.  I interviewed Andrew and looked over photos of his work on his website, and we decided to have him do the work.

I thought a lot about what I wanted and what would appeal to more people than another tiki-oriented sculpture and it became obvious that the answer was a stylized cat.  Very mid century.




I shared some photos of stylized cats I had found and together Andrew and I fine-tuned his sketches and agreed on the look.

So one thing led to another, and here it is --

Ernest T gives some scale to the size of the stump




These shots are from day one



After two days work in windy, cold weather







Artist Andrew Mallon poses with the finished cat

We are thrilled with how it turned out.  An added bonus is that while the speed bump in front of our house is not very effective in slowing traffic, the cat seems to be working pretty well!

We haven't settled on a name, but I keep coming back to 'That Darn Cat' from the 1965 Disney movie of the same name.



I haven't seen this film in decades, but a little online searching pulled up an original movie poster and a detail - in the movie the Darn Cat had the shortened name DC.  And since we live outside of DC, it seems like a good match.




Sunday, January 3, 2016

Old Office Chair Gets a New Suit of Leather

This office chair was my first furniture purchase at an auction more than 20 years ago.  I used it for years as is, and when the vinyl was too torn up, I used an automotive seat cover on it.  I've been putting off working on it forever, but I finally tackled it recently, and I'm pretty happy with the results.

Here's what it looked like when I started.  The vinyl was torn and had a very sticky coating all over it. Pretty gross.





It also had a lot of tacks, and a ton of staples which all had to come out.





And the cardboard on the back was badly torn.  I fixed that with some packing tape and I also cut another piece of cardboard in the same pattern and used both pieces for the new back.


After I cleaned and used some Restore-A-Finish on the wood arms, back, and base, I picked up some upholstery quality batting at a local fabric store, and with a manual hand stapler I started to reassemble using this dark red leather.  I cut the new batting in the same shape as the old cotton batting which I also used, doubling up on the seat padding.

I reused the 1/8-inch cord from inside the old vinyl piping to make new piping with strips of the leather.  Then I just took my time and tried to stretch and fold the leather around the corners the way it had been done with the vinyl.  The leather was a little thicker than the old vinyl, but with some cutting and stretching and a lot of staples, I got it done.  Here's the end result.




For the new back, I used the same brass tacks I used on the turquoise chair in my last post.  It was hard to tuck the leather under the cardboard back and as a result, it isn't nearly as "tight" as I would like it, but I'm satisfied with the look.  Heck, it's a very old, heavy chair that has years of new life now, but it won't be mistaken for something brand new, and I like it that way.


It's good to be posting here again.  I don't think I'll be as prolific with my posts, but I am hoping with the new year to be somewhat more regular.  Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Mid Century Swivel Chair Reupholstered

Hey everyone and Merry Christmas!

I thought I would do a post about another cool chair I've been wanting to reupholster.


I got this swivel chair years ago at a local flea market for a nice price and had it at work for a long time.  Great lines, don't you think?


Once it began to develop a tear in the vinyl (OK, after a few YEARS of living with the tear), I finally brought it home and acquired some turquoise vinyl.  Initially I wanted to try and use a sewing machine to come close to reproducing the look of the original with piping, but after a lot of thought I went with the easier approach.

The burplap underneath remains in pretty good condition so I reused it and the original cotton padding.


I picked up some upholstery quality batting at a local fabric store and cut it to fit over the original stuffing for some much needed extra padding.


Using a heat gun I warmed up the vinyl in places and carefully stretched it to fit the seat back.


In this photo you can see how the original vinyl was started at the top back of the seat back and then cardboard was stapled over top of the vinyl.  Then it was a matter of folding the vinyl over the cardboard and beginning to staple the bottom.  I left the cardboard unstapled along the two sides of the back so I could tuck the excess vinyl under the cardboard.  To finish the seat back, I picked up some brass tacks similar to the original ones, which were only used along two back edges.


The rest of the work just involved carefully stretching the vinyl and stapling it to the frame of the seat base.  I'm reasonably satisfied with the end result.


I have enough vinyl to have the base re-done by a pro using piping and fitting it better, but for now, it's going back to the office.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Shasta La Vista, Baby


I've had my 1962 Shasta travel trailer for 9 years, and it still isn't done. That's one of the problems with having way too many interesting projects. I've finally decided I should let it go to someone I hope will finish it and enjoy it.

Anyway, I wanted to let you all know in case you or someone you know might be interested.


Here's the link to the eBay listing.

One of my spring and summer goals is to finally get the Comet wagon finished enough to start enjoying it.


 I've got to weld in some front floor pan patches, then put down some carpeting and bolt in the freshly covered seats, then tackle an annoying ignition problem, get the brakes done, have a new exhaust system installed, and THEN I hope I can drive it. If the work on the Comet stalls, I'll probably sell it too.

I've still got two other project cars waiting, so yeah, I'll miss the Shasta, but you have to let things go sometimes.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Another Eames Knockoff Gets Recovered

I recently picked up a second Eames knockoff bent plywood chair and ottoman, similar to this project from several years ago http://atomicuncle.blogspot.com/2011/12/project-plycraft-chair-gets-bargain.html 

The build quality of this chair seems better than the Plycraft one. The chair's original leather was faded, but not consistently, so I went back to my stash of barkcloth and recovered this chair too.

 Here's the result:


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Deck Staining, Squared

After my last update a few weeks ago, I got started with my plan for staining the deck.

I wanted to have some color, and decided to give this space something in common with our basement flooring.

With that decision made, I picked out two solid stains to match up with the redwood color I used on the fence. I tried out my colors in the raised areas first.


With those parts done in solid colors, I could see how the three colors would work together, and I decided to go for it. I figured the space was big enough to allow me to make two foot squares (if I had gone with one-foot squares, I would have gone crazy with all the taping).


I started out in what I considered the middle of the deck and began laying out the lines. from there I used a 12-inch metal painting blade to keep the paint within the boarders.  About half way in, I made a "mistake."  Can you spot it?


She Who Must Be Obeyed is a quilter, and she reminded me that traditionally, many quilters would purposely introduce a "mistake" into their work so as not to be perfect.  So, that's my story too, and I'm sticking  to it.


I knew going in that it would take a lot of effort to deal with the visible edges of each board, and that took the most time as I squeezed the brush into the cracks between boards and worked to get complete coverage without getting spots of one color where another color is supposed to be.  I think the end result was worth it.


 It worked pretty well, but I've got some touch up to do yet.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Starting to Wrap Up the Courtyard Build - most of the decking is down, and another 3,000 pounds of gravel


Since my last update, I am nearly complete with building decking around the base of Maynard, and I have most of the rest of the decking attached, although I don't have all the screws in.  Some boards are changing shape as they dry out (no, I didn't let all the treated lumber dry completely after purchase).

I also hauled in a couple loads of gravel and then small river rocks.  Another 3.,000 pounds shoveled, wheel-barrowed, dumped, and raked out.  I also placed some slate for a walking path.





And you'll notice that I've added some outdoor furniture and decorations. We've got sort of a 1970s vibe going.  The Homecrest chairs you may recall from a post I made a couple summers ago - I scooped those all up at a local estate sale. 






The ball is a cool thing SWMBO found and gave to me.  Over the winter it was painted red, but the silver gives it better contrast against the redwood fencing, and the idea to bend a pole to hang it came from photos I've seen of similar indoor lamps prevalent in the 1970s.


I had the window-frame mirror already, just changed the frame color to white and hung it on the fence.


This metal art is something I acquired off ebay a few years ago and  tried using inside, but since it's aluminum, it should hold up well outdoors, and I like the way it dresses up the fence.

Still on the punch list, I need to trim some decking, fix some saggy boards, and tighten a lot of screws.  I plan to stain the deck over the next few weeks, and if you look around the edges, you can see I have a lot of tidying up yet to do.