So much time and so much effort goes into what I do. It takes a certain amount of planning, research and knowledge not to mention the time in the garage. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of it. It lights me up, and when I see the reaction from people who appreciate how I took this piece of furniture that was drab, beat up, being thrown away, broken, and not of use…that is when I feel a sense of satisfaction that nothing can compare to. I know that I took something that other’s discarded and made it into something that anyone would be proud to have in their homes.
I also love the feeling that I saved this inanimate object from being destroyed. Kept it from becoming part of the landfill situation. Which is something I have spoken (and typed) about at great length.
There are those times when the piece of furniture is something that I already own. Something that has been moved around, dropped or damaged by my other half or, one or all of my four kids as they grew up. All of that applies to this piece of furniture.
I got this huge thing from a friend before he died. From what I understood it was given to him by his father before he passed away, because it had belonged to his mother who died when he was very young. I am not sure why he gave it to me, other than that even at that time I had a passion for furniture.
Of course, I started before I had the thought to take a before picture. I also knew this would be a major labor of love/hate that would go on for a while.
When I start these kinds of very large projects, I get so excited and it can be hard to slow down and take my time. I hear that out of everyone who does any kind of project. We can all hear the call of the finish line!
I was informed by my Grandmother, (someone I would never argue with) that this is called a linen press. Due to the large nature of this piece, it was common to find them in larger older homes. Most people just avoided moving them. I absolutely understand why!!
While I was working on “the linen press”, I found some interesting things.
One of the things that I found interesting was the writing on the bottom and side of one of the drawers. What is says is: Rebuilt by John Duk Cabinet Maker Phil PA June 1921This tells part of the story of this piece of furniture. It inspired me to start doing the same thing. Writing a short note in an inconspicuous place letting those who will have that particular piece of furniture after me, what I did, who I was and when I did it. It lends to the story behind how far a piece of furniture travels, and helps tell it’s story. I thank John Duk, from the bottom of my heart.
The drawers are very stable, so John did a good job!
They were stable but not very pretty. Like most of the finish on this thing, it had darkened, had shadows, clouds and discoloration all over it. So I started with the drawer fronts.
The finish was like nothing I had ever seen before. I also want to note, there are locks on every one of these drawers and both the cabinet doors. I was given the key to it, and when I went in search of another key, so that I’d have two… no one could help me. I was told by one reproducer of keys (yes..they are on the internet) to look for “Jailer’s keys”. (I kind of wanted to laugh…) These locks were like nothing I had seen before. On the larger side, they seemed like overkill for a cabinet. Two of the locks didn’t work, and I was able to take them out, and work with them to get them to smoothly open and close. With many suggestions of what to and what not to use for lube, and a shout out to all of you guys who helped me. (THANKS!!!) One thing is for sure, these locks were made for this cabinet, original to the piece and unique.
So I continued on by taking all of the locks out, cleaning them, lubing them and fixing them so that they all worked.
Here she is with all of her drawers and cabinet doors devoid of finish. The drawer fronts were veneered, the cabinet doors and body were solid mahogany.
Once I got this far, things slowed down. I got the flu….a flu that lasted almost three months. So she sat in the garage, waiting.
Once I got better I started working on her almost immediately. This is a very large piece of furniture to have sitting in the middle of a workshop. I needed her out ASAP!!
So to work I went again. This is after one coat of polyurethane. I let it cure for three days, before doing a “knock down” fine grit sanding.
I was trying to take my time.
So I finally got most of her done, and brought it into the house (with much difficulty..and I had help!)
I am glad to have her mostly done. I will update this post when the cabinet doors are done and the escutcheons are in place. (most of them are missing, so I will be purchasing reproduction to replace). From my garage to yours!!