Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Labor of Love

Tonight, finally, after farting around with it, I have finally finished refinishing my mom's china cabinet. My husband brought it home for me when he went home in May, so I've been dinking around with it ever since.

Before, sitting in our garage
At one point, probably 30 years ago, it came from my grandparents' house to my parents. I didn't know the reason behind Grandma (on my father's side) giving it to Mom.

I remember talking to Mom about this cabinet. It was when I was with her last, and she was still at home. We were sitting in the living room. I was on the carpet in front of her, and she was sitting in her recliner in front of the windows. My father had gone out to run some errands and my sister hadn't gotten there yet.

Mom told me that my sister liked, and should get, the Amish made hutch in the living room someday. I told her that was fine. It wasn't my style anyway. (There's nothing wrong with it. It's just a blonde stained wood.) Then Mom said we could just get rid of the cabinet downstairs (this one).

I think my exact phrase was, "Um, hello. What about me?" I may have even pointed at myself.

Mom asked, "What about you?"

I told her, "We're not just donating the cabinet downstairs. I like it. I'll take it home someday."

She was genuinely surprised. "You actually like that thing?" There wasn't any emotion attached to the cabinet from her. It was just a place to store stuff. "Then you can have it."

I actually remember this thing laid out on it's back, in our family's station wagon, to bring it home. However, I barely remember ever noticing it in my grandparents' basement.

There are NO maker's marks anywhere on this piece, and I've looked all over for them. From what I could learn online, this was a very common design for china cabinets with curved glass. So common, in fact, that if you had one, this was the style you had. It could have been made anywhere between 1915-1925, at the oldest, all the way down to the 1950's. I believe the inside back is actually veneer of some kind.

And yes, the door's glass is wrong. At some point, before Mom ever got it, Grandpa had to do some repairs to it. Apparently, the original one pane of glass in the door broke, so Grandpa may have replaced it with new glass in four panels and new wood (not the oak of the rest of it). I'm going to keep it as is, because that's how it always looked in my lifetime.

Somehow, the original wooden rollers are still there. After some shots of WD-40 on the metal outer pieces, I actually got these to roll.

Overall, the cabinet was in a little rougher shape than I remembered.

I stripped, sanded and cleaned it, and then I restained it. The new color is a couple shades lighter than the original.
This is the top of the cabinet before I stripped and sanded it.

It took a lot of sanding to get rid of that white ring. This was after stripping, sanding and cleaning, but before staining. I stained it with Minwax stain in English Chestnut.

The four shelves are reversible, with plate grooves on the other side. This was before.

After, with two coats of semi-gloss polyurethane. I only did the poly on the top, bottom and both sides of each shelf.

Inside bottom, before.

Inside bottom, after

Sitting in our living room, with Orion underneath. The shelves are not it in it, in this picture.
I actually found myself getting a little anxious for some stupid reason about this project, on Saturday night. I've been working really carefully on it, and Saturday night was the end (finally) of the sanding and staining. I was wondering if I was doing the right thing, but refinishing this, but I was able to put that obnoxious little voice away when I went to bed that night. It was just a case of nerves. This was the most important piece of furniture I've ever done and I didn't want to screw it up.

I'm letting the poly completely cure before I put anything on the shelves. I figure that will come tomorrow night.

It's been a good project, but a little trying at times. I thought that I was going to break in half while I was stripping that back veneer, because it had to be laid flat in order for me to get to the whole piece. It started to remind me of Snow White's glass coffin at this point. And yes, I am a morbid, morbid bitch. :)

All the curves along the front, while excellent places to grab while moving it, were kind of a pain in the ass from which to remove the stripper.

No comments:

Post a Comment