Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Antique China Cabinet- Part 1 stripping off veneer

I was lucky enough to get this beautiful piece of furniture from my grandmother. I believe it belonged to her grandmother. Not entirely sure, but nonetheless, it is OLD! It was sitting in her garage just rotting away and I convinced her to let me take it home to give it some love and make it beautiful again.
Unfortunately, it has been sitting in my garage now for about 6 months waiting on pretty weather to start!
I actually needed to test it for lead paint since it is so old, but luckily it came back negative! I got out there this weekend and started to poke at it and figure out where to begin. I’ve never done a piece this big or that needed this much work. It is going to be a learning piece but I plan to take it very slow and do it right!
I enlisted the husband to help me remove all of the rusted screws and hardware. I do think that he was enjoying himself! ;)
Next, I (we) removed the door, glass, shelves, and drawer. I decided that the first step would be to start scraping off the peeling veneer from the drawer. I started with a flat head screwdriver just to see how much I could pull off easily.
I was so worried that I would loose the beautiful detailing and designs but it seems to actually be carved into the wood beneath, not just the veneer. YAY!!! Here is a close up of the design on the front
I really didn’t get much further with the screwdriver than you see in the picture above, so then I had to figure out what to do to get the glued on veneer with out destroying the drawer front.
I did some quick Googling and read several sites that said using an iron is the best way. So this is how I did it.
**disclaimer: please do not use this as a tutorial. I am learning as I go so if anything, it can be used to get some tips but I am NOT A PROFESSIONAL
Step 1. get your supplies together.
  • Iron. One that you are willing to destroy
  • rag. old one is best
  • bowl with water
  • measuring cup with water to fill your iron
  • hammer
  • paint scrapper
Step 2. Heat your iron and set it to the hottest setting with steam all of the way up
Step 3. wet your rag. doesn’t need to be dripping but very wet
Step 4. lay the wet rag over the veneer that needs to be removed
Step 5. place the hot iron on the rag for about 1 minute and let it steam and heat up the veneer. You are melting the glue here so some pieces my need longer time and others may not need as much time.
{the girls were pretending I was a dragon blowing fire every time the iron steamed! haha}
Step 6. remove the iron and CAREFULLY remove the rag. IT WILL BE HOT! (duh)
Step 7. acting fast while the wood is still hot, use the paint scrapper and hammer to gently pull the veneer away from the wood. Be careful not to gouge the wood! It should pull away much easier now.
Repeat when it becomes hard to peel again.
I was able to finish the drawer this weekend. The rest of what you see will easily sand off. I also plan to put a thin layer of paint stripper on there to remove the red paint and gunk from the carving lines. I had set the girls up to finger paint in the garage with me to keep them entertained while I worked but sure enough, that got out of hand so I had to stop. These days, I am lucky to get 10 minutes to myself to work on something like this so I was pumped!
Next, One of the sides of the cabinet is peeling too so I will have to tackle that next chance I get. Then I will be on to stripping the paint. I will update when I can!
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Updated Family Photos

Hello out there! I realize I probably don’t have any readers, however, I am peeking my head out from my “motherhood abyss” to show off my new family photos by my cousin at Tanya Pabor Photography. Here's my favorites that I plan to make a big wall collage of.
I also updated my banner at the top with a new silhouette using one of these photos. Hope you like them!
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