Sunday, November 25, 2018

Blonds Have More Fun

My blond haired daughter claims she does have more fun keeping her hair blond but this post is about mid-century modern blond wood/finish tables/desks/cabinets and my adventure in refinishing them. A few years back I totally stripped and refinished one of the Hollywood model cabinets but was not totally satisfied with the end product. In the past they used a type of white-wash paint with a hard finish over it and when you remove the finish the layer of white wash doesn't come off too easy. If it is left on it lends an odd finish that isn't exactly blond but not exactly a clear wood finish either. When I came across two cabinets with that same type of finish that needed some restoration, I really didn't know what to do so I went to the experts: Woodcrafters of Minnesota. They recommended a milk paint finish in a golden yellow color along with a polyurethane finish.
General Finishes: polyurethane and milk paint
Things never go as planned, do they? The first time I tried to apply the milk paint and wipe off I chose three small drawer fronts and they turned out pretty good. From there I went to the table top leaves of a different cabinet and it was terrible. Quickly wiping it off with a damp cloth got it back to where I started but what was I to do next? I came up with the idea of wiping the surface with a damp rag first and then applying the milk paint. It worked! On both table tops it worked well but when I got to the leaves they again resisted a decent finish. What worked in the end was to apply the milk paint with a damp rag and that was fairly successful:
Before: flaking finish
During: stripping process
After: New finish

Due to the colder weather it took longer for the first coats of polyurethane to dry and more coats than usual (5 total) but the end results were worth it:

Never perfect but quite good with a smooth surface so conducive to sewing. Which sewing machine to put in each cabinet?It seems I'm going to have to put a Pfaff 130 in the larger cabinet since no other machine fits. Singer's didn't fit, Brother's didn't fit, clones didn't fit but the Pfaff 130 was just right. Goldilocks sure needed a nap by the time the right one was found.

For the Brother cabinet, it seems I'm going to have to put a Brother back in it but I have three to choose from:
Brother Super Select-o-Matic in blue and cream
Classic Brother Select-O-Matic in teal

Another version of the Brother Select-O-Matic in pink and teal
Since these two blonds are about the last of the electric machines still in the garage, I need to get things in order and get them listed. I'm down to three treadles and two electrics left along with the huge mangle and the last industrial. Soon and very soon all will be set to rights: this last week saw one happy customer buying three cabinets! I almost kissed her when she came back to pick up a treadle and said she wanted to buy a machine for her sister-in-law. Does she have any other relatives or friends who sew because have I got a deal for her!
Brother cabinet

Top and drawers refinished: looks better in person!

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