Monday, September 9, 2013

Lane Cedar Chest Restoration

This project is another one of our custom jobs that we just delivered yesterday.  A gorgeous mid-century modern Lane cedar chest that needed a little bit of loving.  Here's what this lady looked like when we picked her up:

The client wanted her restored as close to her original state as possible.  She was missing some trim pieces and some hardware.

Her veneer was chipped in places.

Her top was scratched.

She just needed a hug and some love.  The client was great and really worked with us to prioritize the repairs.  Since this chest will never be exactly the way it was 60 years ago, it was important to come to the project with reasonable expectations.  The client told us what her biggest issues were with the chest, as well as what her priorities were for the finished project.  She wanted to try and match the stain and hardware as best as possible while replace the missing trim and patching the veneer.

So first we brought her home (the chest, not the client) and stripped and sanded her (again, I feel it's important to stress the chest, not the client).

We had to be careful in sanding the scratches out of the top to not actually modify the top itself.  this requires a lot of patience and knowing when to say "when".  I'm glad I let Terry do it.

Then we ordered the replacement hardware along with a new router bit to create a new trim piece that matched the existing trim.

The hardware came with it's own set of issues.  Finding hardware that was an exact match proved impossible.  We pursued several avenues, including contacting Lane as well as reaching out to metal-workers who create custom hardware.  The hardware is always up to the client, so in this case she understood and knew all too well the hardware woes we were up against.  She knew the limitations and was prepared to compromise.  We selected a couple samples we thought would work with the chest, and she chose her preference from those.  While we didn't love the finish of the hardware, the shape was complementary and on par with what we were looking for so we modified the hardware finish with my favorite go-to resource for sprucing up hardware:  spray paint.  I happened to have a can of Oil Rubbed Bronze on hand and a light spray helped provide the hardware with the darker finish you'll see in the "After" picture.

Next up, veneer patches!

Like sanding the top, this required a lot of patience.  And again, like sanding the top, I'm glad I let Terry do it.  We purchased a sheet of cherry veneer and cut and scored until the pieces fit snugly.  Once in place, Terry filled in the shadow lines with some Minwax cherry-colored putty.  Two coats of stain and poly were applied to the chest, the hardware was attached, and the chest was ready to be returned back to it's owner.

And now here she is:

And how about those veneer patches:

Flawless, if I do say so myself.  Oh yea, and let's check out the top:

Gorgeous!  What was really awesome about this piece was watching it come back together.  We'd never seen the way it was supposed to look.  We were just working from clues left by the piece and at the guidance of the client.  Our projects normally take on a whole new appearance when we're done with them.  Since this was a true restoration project it was like putting a puzzle together.  And since we had no idea what the piece originally looked like, it was like putting a puzzle together, but without the added bonus of pulling out all the corner pieces first.  

Here's a run down of the before/after pictures one more time.      

This is such a cool piece of furniture, she totally deserved all the love she received.  It was a team effort between us and the client, which always helps us achieve an end result that will make us all happy.  Now she'll live another 60 years looking fierce and fabulous!  

1 comment: