Sunday, July 31, 2011

A real hep cat

Lately I've been hitting the local thrift shops. Pickings haven't been great, but I have found a few things. So yesterday, I scooped up this wooden cat for $8.  It stands almost two feet tall.

It was worn and scratched and dinged, but for the price I knew I could give it new life.

First I needed to get the base off.  It had a single flathead screw and the screw was rusty and wouldn't come out. The base was not tight so with a few turns I had the base and cat separated, but the screw was still stuck in the base. After I broke the screw tip off while trying to turn it out with vise grips, I tried hammering it out with a steel punch.  That did the trick.

I sanded, primed, and painted the base with black spray paint.

While waiting for the primer to dry on the base, I used 100 grit sandpaper to knock down the scratches on the cat, and got most of the dings out too.  Then I used 150 and 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the wood some more. Next I wiped the wood down with some Old English cleaner.

By this time the primer on the base had dried, so I hit it with some leftover gloss black paint.

Once the Old English dried I still wasn't happy with the finish on the cat, so using an old cotton T-shirt I wiped on a couple of coats of tung oil.

I think the tung oil makes it look good.

The last step was to find a replacement for the rusty screw.  I found one that was a little bigger than the old screw because I wanted something that would hold tight in the hole.

So here's the finished product. This hep cat should be good for quite a few more years now.

Does anyone know who made this?


  1. OH WOW! What a gorgeous find. And the way you fixed it up it looks immaculate.

  2. What a beauty! I haven't a clue as to who made it but Dana at Mid2Mod can probably help you identify it. I can't believe how well it cleaned up. Nice score. I'm green with envy.

  3. That is a great refurb job. He looks good as new!

  4. !!!

    Gee wish I had someone as handy as you around my house lol...

    Wonderful job!

  5. Thanks everybody, I like a project like this one where it didn't take days or weeks to get from Before to After. I hope by posting the steps that I can inspire other readers to tackle something similar.

  6. Uncle Atom,
    You are the cat's whiskers! Nice work and great find.

  7. You did a terrific job, bravo!

  8. That cat is suh-weet!!!!! Great job bringing it back to life too, it looks fab now! Unfortunately I have no idea who made it, I sure hope you can find out.

  9. AH-mazing! You did such a good job bringing this cat back up to its original 9 lives :-)

  10. Sandpaper and a little work was all it took. I'm really liking this guy. If I ever figure out who made it I'll do an update here.

  11. This is really beautiful! Nicely done.

  12. Thanks for posting all the steps for refurbing this little guy. I have a "new to me" mid century home and you have given me inspiration to start my own projects and stop passing by the not so nice looking stuff in my area