One of the things that I like to do is to restore furniture. Specifically furniture that I will use and that has belonged to someone else in the family. I've done a dresser, a library table, the Hoosier, and others that aren't coming to mind right now. This most recent project is exactly like all the rest, it was a piece of furniture that belonged to the family. I really thought I'd taken a picture of it "before", but I can't find it now. Maybe I never did take that picture, but always thought I should take it. That would be completely in character!
|Sitting in the garage, ready for its new home!|
After the tornado, Grandma and Grandad moved to town and left this cabinet in the basement. (Which was covered by a metal roof to protect everything they left at the farm.) About 3 years ago, I finally convinced Kevin to bring this cabinet home for us to restore. It sat in the garage until this October when we finally decided to get it restored and to give it to Andy. So, we washed it and assessed its condition.
We knew there was some termite damage. Everything stored in the basement suffered in varying degrees with terminate damage. (The termites were discovered and eradicated during the 80's, after Grandad died.) So, Kevin looked at the cabinet to decide what he would have to do. I thought all the termite tracks could simply be filled in with wood putty, but Kev disagreed. He took the back off, which was a walnut tongue and groove. It was so brittle that it splintered when he tried to remove it.
One of the shelves was too far gone, so Kev pulled it out and replaced it. Fortunately, he had an old piece of wood that was exactly the right dimensions. One other shelf he could simply fill in the few tracks with putty. One front edge, we just sanded the remaining tracks down until they were stable and left it. One of the lower cabinet shelves had a knot hole about 3 inches in diameter. The knot had long ago disappeared. We left the hole. We also left the spot where mice had chewed into the bottom corner. There were huge gouges in the top. Several deep dings in the sides One of the sides still showed the saw marks. We left it all for character, and because, well, it is an old, beat up cabinet. It had survived at least 7 children and 20 some grandchildren and a tornado. It's old and it's a survivor. We wanted those scars to be a part of its story.
We bought some new tongue and groove car siding and replaced the back with new wood. The top of the cabinet wasn't centered. One edge was flush with the side of the cabinet, so we pulled it off and centered it. We had to replace one of the pieces of glass. All the hardware was sanded to remove rust, but we didn't remove it from the piece because we were afraid of losing screws or stripping them out and we wanted to retain the original as much as possible.
We wanted to keep the character, but we just didn't think staining and refinishing was the answer. So, I convinced Kev to let me paint it with chalk paint.
I sure wish someone was around who knew the origins of this piece just so I would know and could pass that history on down with it. It doesn't really matter though. I'm very happy we could save it. I'm even more happy that one of my kids wanted it. That Andy wanted this part of his roots means a great deal to me. He never knew my grandparents. He never knew the farm as it was when they lived there, and yet he wanted a piece of them. Hopefully, this piece of them will live on for a very long time.