Sunday, September 2, 2012

Broyhill Brasilia curio curiousity, solid walnut Bissman nightstands-stunning! and maybe a bit more...

As usual, I'm behind in posting once more. It's all these projects that seem to jump out of the woodwork! First up, we have the saga of the Bissman solid walnut tall nightstands. As I'd never worked on solid walnut pieces before, I kinda knew that I might see some challenges I'd not encountered before. These didn't disappoint!

Here's where we started our adventure. Worn but still in great shape structurally. Just need some new clothes! Little easier said than done...

Initial sanding went pretty well with just a bit of whiteish residue. No problem, I was thinking about a little stain and that should cure that, right? Wrong! This residue promptly stuck it's ugly head through ever test area I threw at it. I think this was a wax build up from over the years that had embedded itself into the grain. Back to the sanding and start from scratch...

After quite a few more hours and uncounted sanding disks, I finally removed 95% of the wax. In the long run it was well worth the effort as you can see below. I did a test run shooting with a clear satin lacquer and it looked so pretty I didn't have the heart to touch this with any stain. I even considered just putting down some teak oil sans any lacquer. I may try this next time though...

Believe me when I say these pics do not come close to showing how great these turned out! If someone wanted an absolutely drop dead gorgeous desk, these would be beautiful separated with a custom cut glass top! No large file drawer, but can you see it?? 
Now about that Brasilia curio curiousity thing...
My wife stumbled across a small Broyhill Brasilia china base and deck that was not labeled as such on CL a few weeks ago. The seller had simply listed as vintage and the pics weren't too bad and the price was reasonable. The listing was quite a few days old and about 45-60 minutes away. Set up an appointment and expressed I was very interested. Please hold and there's a very good chance I'll take off your hands. Upon arrival, there were more than a couple of issues with the pieces. Two of the drawers would not open and close properly and there was some pretty major tattering of the veneer on the right side of the china top bottom edge. And the whole thing was kind of sticky to the touch. Yup, this thing needed some work and the seller wouldn't budge on the price despite the problems.
Well, I'd driven the distance so I went ahead and took this on. Sometimes I'm a glutton for punishment. As it turned out the seller had simply taken it upon himself to just wipe over the piece with some stain to "enhance" it's beauty and cover some of the damage. After we had removed the deck from the base in loading, he offered to throw some stain down on the balance of the base top that he hadn't already fuc**d up. I politely declined his very generous offer and now know why the pieces were so sticky to the touch!

As the base was the fastest fix, I set the top aside and refinsihed the top of the very scarred up base and marketed in house as it stood.
  I really planned on getting the top done and in place for the complete china but the day I took this in it sold as a base piece for a TV stand. OK, now what do you do with a china top and no base? Here's my solution to the problem. Whether or not you love this or hate it, I like this particular turn of events and it can always be undone!
One of a kind, and will fit with the rest of your Brasilia motif, I offer up a Broyhill Brasilia curio cabinet! The china deck deck on this particular setup really doesn't have any particularly Brasilia inspired lines except the hardware. Here's the end product with some 14" pencil legs that were  freebies from a friend. They were blonde but easily refinished to match.

With the 14" pencil legs in place, this piece stands at just over 5 feet tall and about 46" wide. Plenty of room to decorate with some smalls above or some nice art to compliment over it. Complete with some cheap crap Chinese Wadell hardware from Lowes (had to return one of the mounting brackets that didn't make the threader, gotta love the quality control from oversees!) and some new studs in the legs to match, this baby is really sturdy.
Let me know what you think of this particular redo for a china deck. Everyone coming through the store is always looking for credenzas w/o the tops and I think this idea may fly for those looking for a small curio cabinet. Now I just need to find more of the 14" legs as anything shorter may be a bit awkward and look a bit too stubby for a curio...Look forward to any input either way!
I'll save some of the other stuff for a later post. Please feel free to comment and follow along. I seriously enjoy the input and although I do monitor posts, as long as they are not spam I will let them go, for better or worse! I can take the constructive criticism in stride and appreciate your input! Also, if you feel so inclined you are welcome to repin any of the above to your Pinterest Pages for others to critique!



  1. Those Bissman night stands turned out great! We did the same thing with a no-name blonde china cabinet top. A customer only wanted the bottom to use as a credenza, so we added tall hairpin legs to the top and turned it into a curio cabinet, which sold quickly too.

    1. Thanks Dana, The nightstands have been getting plenty of stares and likely won't be around long. I've got another Broyhill Modern Classic china I'm seriously considering going the same way with. I'm guessing the Brasilia curio will find a new home soon as well!

    2. i need to do the the same with a top i have a watco oceanic tiki china cabinet ,i only want the base also
      but dont want to discard the top ,how can i see what you did to yours

      how do i use another profile here?

  2. Excellent curio cabinet idea. Thank the MCM gods for 14" legs. What will we ever do when these old parts run out?

  3. Hopefully someone will keep making at least something similar going forward. I'm always on the hunt for any vintage MCM parts including hardware. Always looking for solutions to problems and I seem to make something out of something else. Love the challenge!

  4. to 'a modern line
    love you post,blog. i have a i believe a 'warco oceanic tiki'
    cabinet ,i want to keep the base credenza but not the top.
    see picture by google images by the name.
    do you think it would ,what sort of legs would you consider for her.
    i dont know how to use anonymus