\"Distressing\" furniture

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DanEpps
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\"Distressing\" furniture

Postby DanEpps » Mon, Jun 19 2006, 12:15PM

Not long ago we had a very interesting thread concerning distressing finishes so I though I would post a sofa with a truly \"distressed\" finished finish.

This is a French Roccoco Triple Back sofa circa 1770 that my wife and I purchased late last year for the princely sum of $700.

It is made from walnut and is, of course, hand carved and the carvings were originally covered in gold leaf.

As you can see, some clown has decided to \"restore\" it. They stripped it to bare wood and sprayed it with gold Krylon--called it \"gilded wood\"!!! Not only that, but you will notice that they also created a single loose cushion seat. Now, in the 1770s, folks just didn't make loose cushion sofas.

Thankfully they didn't do any actual damage to the piece (other than adding some cheap metal corner braces to the underside of the frame).

I am currently returning it to it's original design (notice I didn't say \"restoring\") and hopefully will be using some of Thermwood's \"Dusty Wax\" to bring back some of it's 200+ year age.

I will post an after picture when it is finished so everyone can see the difference between a distressing finish and a preperly distressed finish.

By the way, I'm open to help if anyone wants to drop in with a 5-in-1 a scrape off a little Krylon :lol:
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Postby Tom Houser » Mon, Jun 19 2006, 12:53PM

Oh my. I certainly hope whoever did that is no longer living. That should be a fun piece Dan. If you don't already own a set you will want to eBay search for a set of used dental tools (picks). It will be very nice when finished.
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DanEpps
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Postby DanEpps » Mon, Jun 19 2006, 1:48PM

I have some clay sculpting tools that work great for the crevices. Just like the dental tools without the hefty price tag.

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Postby Tom Houser » Mon, Jun 19 2006, 2:56PM

Well now there's a resource I wouldn't have thought of. I did find a 12 piece used dental set for $13 which I thought was pretty good.
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Postby DanEpps » Thu, Jun 22 2006, 8:54AM

Here is an update of the progress so far. Believe it or not, the fabric on the sofa is the first time it has been recovered since the original! That is great news. I have recovered some pieces that were like swiss cheese from so many recoverings.

Once I started getting the sprayed on goo off of the carvings, they were magnificent. Very deep relief and clean lines. I even found the maker's mark in two locations. The bad news is that the same :joker: that sprayed on the Krylon must have stapled the fabric to the frame and put staples through the 200+ year old maker's marks!!!

That not withstanding, it is still truly a very nice piece and the surprises have generally been nice ones.
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Postby Mike Bowers » Fri, Jun 23 2006, 11:10AM

Dan
I found a stripper that works really good, the paint almost jumps off. Jabco #10 sold at Lowes. It smells like \"Red Tide\" in a can. Use it outside & down wind.

\"Red Tide\" is a micro organizm that develops alge blooms that kill most sea life. The smell will take you're breath away its so bad.
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Postby DanEpps » Fri, Jun 23 2006, 11:24AM

Having lived in Virginia Beach for 13 years, I'm all too familiar with the smell of red tides and the likes. The stuff I'm using works pretty good. It disolves the paint almost immediately and it comes right off with a nylon brush. It also has no odor at all but it will probably kill marine life too.

I've been using popsicle (?) sticks shaped like a knife tip to get into the carvings. They work great and do no damage to the wood.

It is really turning out nicely. Underneath all of the jute under fabric is original shellac. You can see some of it in the pic with the maker's initials.

I got to thinking last night. This piece is about as old as the United States or even a little older. It came from France so there is a chance, however slight, that our own Ben Franklin may have sat on it. It is from the right period and he spent quite a bit of time in France. While there he visited many noble gentlemen and not so noble \"ladies\". Who knows?

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Postby DanEpps » Tue, Jun 27 2006, 12:27PM

Another update: It just keeps getting better all the time. After pulling out somewhere around 14 pounds of staples (anyone need some staples, only used once?), I found another bit of scrawling near one of the carver's initials. It was very light and difficult to see but a little chalk and a sweaty finget tip coaxed it out of hiding.

The one thing that you really want to find--the date the piece was made!!!! 1765! Now I have the maker's initials and a year the sofa was made. If I could only trace the exact origin I would be an extremely happy camper :D .

By the way, that is the original tinted shellac finish in that area.
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Postby Mike Bowers » Tue, Jun 27 2006, 12:44PM

Thats great news Dan! :!:
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Postby DanEpps » Wed, Jul 12 2006, 9:42AM

Here's the latest update on the sofa project. I have the shellac finished and most of the gold leaf done (I ran out of gold last night with about five feet of beaded trim to go :cry: ). We are leaving for vacation this weekend so I can do any more until we get back. In fact, I'll have to order the gold while on vacation so it will arrive from California after we get home.

Things are turning out nicely though. My son even got in on laying the gold leaf--and enjoyed it!!!

I hope all that gold (yeah, that's 24K folks) doesn't blind everyone 8) .
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Postby DanEpps » Wed, Jul 12 2006, 9:45AM

I forgot to mention it in the post above but you will notice the blue masking tape on both ends of the sofa. This is to protect the maker's marks from damage during finishing.

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Postby Joe Dusel » Wed, Jul 12 2006, 11:55AM

That's an interesting finishing room you have Dan. Is it also setup as your spray booth? 8) I wonder if I could setup to do finishing in my living room...

Joe

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Postby DanEpps » Wed, Jul 12 2006, 12:29PM

Heh, heh, heh...that's because the boss on this project is my wife and she wants to supervise every aspect that she can--not to mention that the shop is just a little drafty and dirty to lay on gold leaf. It is only 2 microns thick and a sneeze blows it away forever. A speck of dust will break through the finish and eventually make a giant hole. It is a bit expensive for that.

Trust me, she wouldn't let me do the stripping and shellacing in the living room, just the gold.

I knew these pictures would make everyone a little jealous :mrgreen: of my air conditioned \"finishing room\".

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Postby Lee Morris » Wed, Jul 12 2006, 1:18PM

Hey Dan
2 microns is pretty thin, you better put on a couple coats if you want as much protection as Krylon :shock: . Thats quite a piece of art you have there, it's neat that you're doing such a careful job restoring it. It's a shame it was treated so shabbily before you got it. Keep up the good work and the updates!
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Postby Tom Houser » Wed, Jul 12 2006, 1:24PM

So Dan are you doing the upholstery also. Going to have a plastic window where the Makers Mark is ? Looks good and any time you want lacquer sprayed in that booth let me know.
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