Thursday, March 15, 2012

Some clean up on past posts, a different take on Heywood Wakefield restoration and a product review...

I've been remiss about posting lately as I have been way too busy with so many projects and keeping the store up and running, but here are some conclusions to past posts and some other fun informational stuff!
First up is the completed Heywood Wakefield M524 dresser...

Yes, I know I should have gotten some better pics and didn't see the dust lingering on the side until after I looked at the pics. This turned out great and can't wait to find it a home in the store!
Here's a pics of how our "over" stain project came out from the last post. Looking much prettier with less work than a total tear down! It's amazing what you can do with a little "elbow grease", some stain and some fresh upholstery...

How about some new mid 50's plaster harlequin pieces we have just gotten in house?

This particular post may interest those of you who own Heywood Wakefield pieces and are not fans of the lighter "wheat" and "champagne" finishes and although you love the lines of the sets, would like to see in darker finishes. For those of you who are big DIY fans of refinishing, please follow to the end as the product review may be helpful...
A super nice younger couple were in the store a month or so ago and were admiring our H/W dining set as well as the rest of the pieces we have on hand. They advised they had a wishbone table and 8 dogbone chairs that were in need of refinishing and asked for a quote for their set. I gave them my best price and they advised they would let me know soon. Subsequently, they picked up a H/W "Cadence" suite dresser and chest and asked for pricing for refinishing on this as well. I gave them a ball park estimate and they sent me some pics. Yes, they were definetely in need of some attention. Little disclaimer here: these are not the pics they sent, although pics of the same piece...

This set was originally finished in "sable" which was one of the H/W finish offerings for their finish options. With these pics it's a bit hard to imagine what they looked like originally. As they were looking for me doing their table and chairs down the road, they opted to give their pieces a shot for a DIY project and save a few bucks. I never argue, as I love to see someone take on projects they have never attempted before. How else do you learn anything new unless you give it a try!
To make a long story just a bit longer, I will tell you that after giving it a go on their chest, they contacted me on refinsihing the dresser. It seems it was just a little more work than they expected.  I think they actually have better things to do with their time! Sometimes you just have to pick your battles. So they dropped what you see above off for me to complete their set.
The "Cadence" suite was a bit of a departure from some of the other H/W lines and trended more towards the danish lines that were starting to be favored in the late 50's. This set was introduced in 1955 and ran through 1959. It features much more angular lines but still the same clean look. I would guess that much of this particular suite was finished and purchased in the sable finish. I have a twin bed on hand in the original sable and I haven't seen any other pieces of this line in other than the sable finish.
Here's how we look with two sands down and one to go.

As they had already gone through the work to get their chest mostly done and up to speed, I asked them what procedure they had used for the chest so I could replicate for their dresser and advised that I would need the remaining stain they had used to ensure a match. They wanted as close a match to the original "sable" finish as possible and I'm afraid I wasn't of much assistance in their original inquiry. The picked up their stain from Sherman Williams, which coincidentaly manufactures the finish for the "new" Heywood Wakefield furniture that's being offered on-line according to their website.
The Cadence line is probably a bit more difficult to work with, as you have to be very careful not to change the original fairly sharp shape of the set when working with it. Little more time consuming, but worth the extra effort. Now here's the product review section of the blog if you have managed to get this far without being bored to death!
Finished the final sand and ready to put down the stain. What is up with this stain? I didn't realize until after I had dipped my rag and started, that this was a water based stain! Yes, you should probably take a look before starting...but I assumed. No more will that happen...

The blue streak on the label should have given me warning but I was already into this project full on.
Now I'm as much and probably more of an environmentalist type than most people I know. I love clean air, water and anything to help keep the planet healthy and I'm sure these products are manufactured to help that happen. The trouble is, most of the water based stuff I've used over the years has never lived up to expectations and this is one of the worst! I don't think anyone in the Minwax R&D department ever tried this before they decided to put on the market. This is the equivalent of attempting to stain with acrylic paint. Even followng the directions on the label...My personal reccomendation for use of this product may be for a good paper weight! Seriously not recommended for your refinishing needs! We managed to get the job finished and I hope I got close to what my customers came up with for their chest! I'll post some after pics soon.
As always, thanks for following along and taking a look!


  1. Hey David

    When you refinish do you sand inside the dresser, you know drawer slides and what not? And then, if you do, how many coats of finish do you put on the inside. Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. I don't refinish inside any of the cases. If it's not visible it would not only be a waste of time, but if you were to put finish on drawer slides you would probably effect the way the drawers operate. General rule of thumb is refinish what the factory finished originally.

  2. Dresser looks great and am eager to see after pictures of the chest.

    1. Thanks Dana, Next post will have the "afters" of the dresser with it's new dark finish. Not my best work, but considering the water based stain, it didn't turn out too bad. Way better than it started out... :)

  3. Ahhh! The dining room chairs look fantastic!! I've already been poking around looking good finds here in NC. Thanks again for helping a girl out.