Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Something for MCM fans to look forward to in Tampa and other incidentals...

This has been in the works for about a month but we couldn't contain the news any longer. As I alluded to in my last post we here at A Modern Line have been partnered with an interior designer in a soon to be dissolved affiliation at "Kaleidoscope for the home" here in Tampa. I don't regret giving this a shot for the year we have been together. My partner has one of the best eyes for texture, color and placement that I've seen and we've always had compliments on the appearance of the store. She is indeed a pro at what she does. That said, we have some disagreements on the mixing of mid-century with more eclectic offerings. The current incarnation "Kaleidoscope for the home" will be moving to a new location across the bay to a new location in St. Pete and we here at A Modern Line we be retaining our current space here in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa @ 6415 N. Florida Ave. 33604 with well, the obvious moniker, A Modern Line! Signage is in the process with our new logo:
We had a nice write up on our local web news Patch.on the transition and if you have an interest you can take a look here: http://seminoleheights.patch.com/articles/kaleidoscope-leaving-modern-line-staying
We are commited to all things mid-century modern going forward although we may throw in some complimentary articles from time to time. If you live in the area, we will still be considering consignment pieces that fit with our new look!
Here's just one shot of the new look. I will post some more of what we have to offer going forward as spaces are vacated and we get a chance to set up the upcoming changes. I am so looking forward to our "getting it together"!

What's not to like about a complete set of Red Wing "Bob White" china with almost every serving piece available on a completely refinshed Heywood Wakefield dining room?
As far as "needing" pieces, we still have some holes to fill after the change over and I've been working on everything from upholstery to case goods to fill holes.
I was really, really going to go to storage and pull some H/W pieces to start on although I already have some ready to go in, and then I got a call in the last couple of days from a friend and future consignor that this piece was available for a very reasonable price at an estate/yard sale. It was an elderly woman that was either going to assisted living or a relatives home and it was just around the corner from the store. It was kind of a sad situation as the son had been putting in the whole day trying to divest of the contents of the house. This one particular piece was in a back bedroom and was the only redeeming find in the home:
Really like the lines of the  piece but there was something odd about the configuration. Looks like a stacked unit and it was. The seller was surprised I recognized that it was in two pieces, but it seemed obvious to me. This piece was a good example of good intentions gone bad! I can always move MCM chests as there are lots of people looking for a narrower high piece to fill their spaces, but this was a hybrid of two bachelor chests. One had obviously gone through some kind of major trauma and completely lost it's legs. What a shame!

Although missing only one small chip in the veneer on one of the pieces, this was was a basket case and would likely have found it's way to the landfill without my intervention. It was absolutely filthy and the finish was sticky to the touch. I feel sorry for the previous owners that they lacked the means to care more for it. It really is a nice piece of furniture and I guess I was the guy lucky enough to save it! Here's how it looks pre-restoration...

I had to fix some stuctural flaws before cleaning. Some separtion in the case that need to be clamped, glued and nailed back together and the topside chest had some major scratches to contend with.

Here's how it's looking after some TLC with a mineral spirits bath with some steel wool and some Restore-A-Finish.

I honestly thought the brass had been painted black until I cleaned it up. It was really that filthy! Now for the top of the top section. Major scratches to be dealt with but the veneer was pleny thick and could take a bit of abuse to get rid of them.

I'm quite happy with the results so far and will post again soon about the finished piece along with news on the transition!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Finally back to Heywood Wakefield refinishing, well sort of...and some breaking news...

I was hoping to get started on some blonde H/W modern line pieces I've had just waiting for my attention especially the king size storage headboard! I hear them calling to me but I had one? last project sitting in my front room that required some TLC that would likely take less time and I need some upholstered pieces soon. More on the "need" thing later, but here is one of the project pieces we picked up awhile back on the "stuffed van" road trip.

The frame on this particular Heywood Wakefield "Ashcraft" 3 piece sectional was actually in "pretty" good shape. The owner alluded to the fact that one of the cushions was tattered and we would only have to redo the one. Well, maybe not! If they were all intact I might have considered letting someone else choose their own fabric but one was badly ripped. Off to my pro upholstery friends they went for some new clothes! I actually liked the original fabric but could not find something reasonable enough to match...
Now about the frame work and a bit of history for those unfamiliar with the Ashcraft line...

The one singular reason that the Ashcraft line was developed by H/W was their lack of access to bamboo and rattan post WW2. The original Wakefield company was more or less exclusively a wicker bamboo, and rattan enterprise. The Heywood Chair company centered it's attention on chairs and case goods for the home. Early examples of the wicker work are still being sold on the auctions sites under the H/W name after the companies combined in 1826. The company made everyhing from baby carriages to bus and theatre seats over the years. If you are a big colonial style furniture fan you can pick up some great deals either locally or online on some of the best constructed furniture you will ever own. Demand is iffy and depends on specific buyers preference.
I've reworked and refinsihed some Ashcraft pieces over the years and in retrospect have learned less is better and this is one great example!
The Ashcraft line actually has no bamboo or rattan componets in it's constuction. Although very well constucted, this line is composed of bent ash wood with a twisted craft paper to replicate the rattan wraps and burn marks on the ash to replicate the bamboo appearance. Ash is much less forgiving than birch in trying to be bent as is evident in many of the Ashcraft pieces I've come across. It tends to splinter away over the years of abuse and that was evident in this particular piece of sectional. The paper wraps also tend to take a beating over time.
I searched long and hard to find something to replicate the look of the original wraps and finally found an older gentleman in town that had been doing caning and rattan work for many years and he had a rather large spool of craft paper wrap that he had no use for that he sold me for a really reasonable price. This needs to be soaked for a bit to make it compliant enough to work with.
I glued the shattered ash back in place and rewrapped with a few more turns than original over the frame and although not "original" this fix should take care of any further issues and come close enough that someone else may actually find attractive...
I'm still working on this whole process as I love trying to get every piece as close to original as I can and the Ashcraft pieces are an on going experiment. I stained the wraps after drying with a golden oak stain and have finished off with an application of brushed on urethane. In hindsight, I probably should have passed on the stain and just hit the wraps sans the stain as they turned out darker than expected.

As I'm not about to start the process over, I think any customer will be happy with the final results. I'll get some finished pics up after the newly clothed seats and backs come home.
If you've managed to slog through this post to this point, I have some good news about A Modern Line going forward. We have been partnered for the last year with an interior designer on our current retail location @ Kaleidoscope for the home here in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa with a rather large mix of furniture, art, lighting and accesories thay were not neccessarily MCM specific and more attuned to the design trade. That's about to change soon and I will cover more completely in the next post...Thanks for taking a look!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Got a minute or two? So do we...Clocks, dressers and a thanks...

Spent the last couple of days working on two distinctly different MCM dressers I picked up a couple of weeks ago. The first is a nice small Bassett piece. Not a real high end score but it didn't have a ton of issues either. Veneer damage on both the side strips toward the back and the usual scratches and water marks.

It also came with a nice little mirror. I managed to take care of the missing veneer with some burn in sticks without screwing it up too bad and after a little elbow grease it cleaned up pretty well...

The other piece was another unidentified piece of quality construction. Simply stamped on the back 402 dresser Danish Walnut. I searched every inch of this and that was it. Has anyone seen this particular style before? Maybe got an idea of who made this?

This is a very substantially made piece and was overall in pretty nice shape except, and isn't there always an except, for a bad chemical or heat burn mark in the top and the veneer was swollen just so slightly at that point and a couple of pretty obvious chips around the top edge. A lesser piece I may have just cleaned up and let go but this was too nice for it not to be properly repaired. A little burn in, a little sandpaper and some of the Early American treatment and it's all better now.

Oh yeah, and 4 coats of satin lacquer to top it off. Now it's ready for a new home!!
With those two projects out of the way it was time to clean up a couple of small lingering items before starting back on some of my Heywood Wakefield stash. I was putting the first one off because I didn't have parts but my wife unearthed a clock motor in her hidden stash which inspired me to finally knock this one out.

This Seth Thomas teak starburst turned out about as well as I could expect. Couldn't get all the corrosion marks off the face. Someone should be charged with clock abuse! It was also a major pain to get the original hands onto the new motor but after about a half hour struggle I made them work and it looks pretty good. The teak rays were all original and intact and cleaned up nicely along with most of the rest of the corrosion on the balance of the body. I didn't even have this one finished and my wife drags out another time piece she had stashed away. "While you're doing one you may as well do both" she says. Thanks, I was just thinking how bored I was going to be after finishing this one. :-)

No batteries required for this piece. I don't think it had ever been tested before buying but after spinning the time adjustment wheel to see if the motor would even turn I plugged it in and it keeps perfect time. My lousy photography does not do this vintage "Lux" beauty justice! Much prettier in person...
Finally, just a thanks to Mr. Mod @ http://mistermodtomic.blogspot.com for his Sherlock Holmes MCM super powers in running down some photos of the scoop chairs and ottomans I picked up.
Here's what he had to work with:

and here's what he found:

Absolutely the same manufacturer. Still don't know who that is but now that I see how it's supposed to look I can go talk to my upholstery pros. Hope to get some after pics of these up soon... Hey, Mr. Mod. Got any ideas on that dresser further up in the post :-) ?? 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Finished Wythe-Craft restore and couple of unidentified scoop chairs and ottos...

Here's the conclusion to the Wythe-Craft pieces I recently acquired. First up, how the sanded top stained...

The color turned out great and here's the tip to getting most of the 60's walnut veneer pieces to match the rest of the finish on the cabinet when you only need to strip the tops. The Minwax Early American stain over the walnut veneer is almost a dead match for 80-90% of the pieces I have top stripped. There have been a couple of darker pieces that I've had to custom blend by mixing in some walnut stain with the early american, but it still makes for a great base stain and is normally a good match by itself.

After the stain dried down thoroughly I dusted and blew off any wayward particles and put three coats of satin spray lacquer. The satin is a good match for the original luster of the original finish. When I refinish cocktail and end tables I will more often use a polyurethane finish although it's a little harder to get this to flow out as easily as the lacquer. I've also found that to achieve the same degree of gloss as the lacquer finish it's better the use the semi-gloss urethane as it dries a bit more matte than the lacquer.

Hard to argue with the results! Yes, I was very happy with how this piece worked out. The bar pieces also cleaned up very nicely as well. These are going to make some one very happy!

Next up, a pair of scoop style MCM chairs and ottomans. The chairs came sans the seat and back cushions. These are nicely constructed pieces and have really nice lines, however they have no manufacture markings anywhere on them. I would really like to see what the original cushions looked like so I can replicate. I have loads of reference books on MCM furniture and can't find anything close. Any one out there seen this style before and can recommend a link??

The shells themselves are pretty comfortable to sit in and when I figure out how to handle the cushion debacle, they are going to be sweet! I may have to run these by my upholstery pros to see if they can be of any assistance. I'm sure they have seen so many pieces they might have some ideas on how to handle. Vinyl is in pretty good shape with only a couple of nicks and the frames are rock solid and just need a little TLC to bring them back up to speed.
And here's the Heywood Wakefield king storage headboard I just picked up, or should I say my wife picked up as I had to staff the store. It's a M790 6/6 and I've found these hard to come by and usually too rich for my budget when I do see. Can't wait to get a start on this one. I don't think I'll have any problem finding this a new home when finished. H/W never made a queen bed, only twins, full size and a few styles of king size.

The "new" Heywood Wakefield company does offer one queen bed online in the "dog bone" Encore line and I would guess it's probably one of their best selling items despite the very chunky price tag they are commanding for it.
If someone recognizes the black MCM chairs above, I love to hear from you...
Post again soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Here's a new one on me...Wythe-Craft furniture

I really hadn't planned on hunting for more projects but in perusing CL on Saturday using some of my normal keywords I came across a listing for simply "bar and buffet". It was very simply stated in the body it was a vintage solid wood bar and buffet. It sometimes pays to troll the most mundane listings and this time it was one of those "pay dirt" times.

Needless to say, I was immediately hooked and e-mailed an interest as no phone was included in the listing and crossed my fingers. Finally received an e-mail back with a contact number and to call after 1 PM on Sunday. Five after one I was on the phone and minutes later I was in route with hand truck and pads already loaded!

I didn't see any pedigree when I was loading but after getting home I discovered a cloth tag on the back of the bar base. Wythe-Craft furniture for the family room Wytheville, Virginia.

After researching in all the usual locations, I still don't know anymore than I did to start with. I found a completed sale for a MCM chair on 1st Dibs with no price and a couple of pieces that had sold on an auction site w/no pics. If any of my readers can provide some insight as to the company or any other info I'd be grateful.
Although not "solid" wood, these are very nicely made cabinets with a nice thick walnut veneer. Thankfully it's a nice thick veneer, especially on the credenza. This top was a mess and I initially had my doubts as to how much I could do for it.

Like I said, I really hadn't planned on another project as I wanted to get started on some Heywood Wakefield bedroom pieces, but by default this turned into the project du jour. 
The bar won't need to be stripped as it only has a few water rings that some steel wool, mineral spirits and some Restor-A-Finish should take care of. The credenza top was not even a question mark. It would have to be stripped back to bare wood and restained.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how well this came out up to this point. Some of the stains and rings were pretty deep in the top, but fortunately they gave way before the veneer was compromised. About 4 hours later I had the bottom sections cleaned up and restored nicely and had finished the final sanding of the top. I did manage to get the top restained but neglected to take an after pic so it will have to wait for the next post along with a tip many of you in MCM refinishing world may appreciate.
I was reading Mr. Modtomics blog -  http://mistermodtomic.blogspot.com this morning about a nice Broyhill desk he had scored and was asking for other styles of MCM Broyhill Premier line. I recognized his desk right away as a Saga series as I had recently restored this nice room divider which promptly went to a new home.
Here's another line from Broyhills Premier series, the Modern Classic style. This is even more understated than some of the other sets but still has really nice MCM lines. Don't have the table and chairs anymore as some one else loved them too, but still have the china available. Note the vertical lines on the Y-shaped pedestal base match and the matching lines on the china. Classic Modern indeed!

I should be back on the blog train again in the next couple of days. Just a reminder to give me a heads up on the Wythe-Craft if you have something useful to share or link to. Many thanks.....