Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Help! Advice and thoughts, please




I have a walnut chest made by my grandfather, who died before I was born.  He made it for my mom to use as her "hope chest", so I would imagine he made it around 1930 or before.  When Mother passed it on to me, it wasn't in such great shape, and it's definitely gone downhill since it came into my possession.  At one point I decided to get it out of the barn (yes, the barn... somebody just slap the snot out of me, would you?) and take off the varnish with varnish remover.  This only added insult to injury.  




The lid is warped, but I could live with that.  It's just that there is SO much wrong with it!  I'm going to put some pictures on here to show just how bad off it is; they're the kind of pictures you can click on to make larger.  I am not a very patient person, but I could probably manage, over time, to sand the varnish off the outside.  I'd have to pay someone, I imagine, to do something with the legs.  Cliff thinks my mom was probably the one who put those big nails through the bottom to hold on a leg, and completely missed the leg (second picture down).  I imagine it would cost more than I want to pay to hire someone to take on the whole project.  Maybe I'd be better off having somebody craft something out of the wood, I don't know.  
When I was small, this chest sat at the end of my parents' bed; I believe Mother stored her sheets in it.  
Without any further ado, I'll put the pictures on here and wait to hear what my readers think.  


This shows where the lid is cracked at one end.  


Here are the infamous nails that missed their mark.


This little wheelie thing is hanging by a thread. 



12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

No, No and No again to having something crafted out of it. Not sure about the varnish, etc but I know others will know how to help. But whatever you do for goodness sake, please leave it as a blanket chest. (Stored in the barn --- the very idea!! lol Can ya tell that I'm a tad bit in love with old handmade furniture>)

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I too love old furniture and if it were mine I'd give it a thorough scrubbing, remove the wheels and lightly sand it then stain it with a dark enough stain that would cover over and leave it at that. I'd use it just like that for blankets. I know they do have some nice quality stains out there that do a great job covering up things. I'm not a professional by any means. Maybe others will have better wisdom to share on refinishing.

Debbie said...

Dee gave you my first piece of advice, you have a jewel there and it would be a shame to have it crafted into something else. My first thought is whatever you do if it is solid walnut don't let anyone talk you into staining it because walnut wood has it's own beautiful grain that doesn't need stain. Many beautiful antique pieces of furniture have been stored in barns over the years so you're not the only person who's done this.

I wish my Dad had a computer so he could see your pictures because he could give you some very good advice. I'll talk to Dad and my brother who's hobby is fixing up antique furniture and refinising it. I'll also show the pictures to my hubby when he gets home from work to see if he has any advice for you. I've refinished furniture before and there's a lot of hard work involved. Some of the old varnish is very hard to get off. Our family hasn't used this service but I do know we have a place in town where you can take old furniture to have it stripped. They dip the piece in a tank of chemicals that removes the old finish.

We're going to Dad's for breakfast on Easter so I'll see if one of my nieces will bring their laptop so I can show the pictures to my family and see if they can give you any advice.

Jess said...

well i have no clue what to tell you to do...but I hope you have a great rest of the week

Love, Jess

Debbie said...

I'm not sure what's going on with the comment section but earlier I left a comment and it showed it published. Now it shows you have 3 comments on this entry but the only one showing up on my end is Dee's.So I assume my comment is lost out in cyberspace somewhere. I'm just writing this comment to see if it disappears too.

Rachel said...

Mom, let us take a look. Kevin and I have redone a piece or two of furniture and want to see what you have going on. Hold off until the weekend.

Donna said...

Dee, all my comments are still here; I'm seeing six as of now.

Ora said...

Hi Donna...about the comments .. it was the same with me...said I had three...only one showed up LOL...and that chest...wow...awesome piece of furniture...and yes...give it to Rachael and Kevin to look at...or find someone who wouldn't charge you an arm and a leg to fix it up...it would be a beautiful piece of furniture to have in the house!!! good luck...and God Bless...hugs...Ora

Sayit-baldys said...

THAT BEAUTIFUL WALNUT WOOD IS THICK ENOUGH TO JUST SCRAPE OFF THE VARNISH . I'VE DID A LOT OF THAT IN YOUNGER DAYS AND IT TAKES STRONG ARMS AND PRESSURE ON THE SCRAPER, AND YOU WILL GET DOWN TO THE BEAUTY OF THE GRAIN.
TO ME, THE ORIGINAL LOOK WOULD AD TO THE VALUE OF THE ANTIQUE.

SO MANY NICE OLD ANTIQUES HAVE BEEN MESSED UP BY NON- THINKERS.

I ONCE PRESENTED A GRANDSON WITH MINIATURE WALNUT WOOD TOYS.
NEXT VISIT SAW THE WALNUT TOYS HAD BEEN 'PAINTED' TO IMPROVE THEIR APPEARANCE. PAINTED BY THE DAD. sam

The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, can you ad a photo of one of the corners from the inside and the outside?

Donna said...

I will later on today; we have a busy morning planned.

Lori said...

I think that if you don't want to make a project out of it yourself (and clearly, you don't! lol) and you don't want to hire someone to completely restore the chest, I would just take it apart and use part of it in some other creative way.