21. June 2015 · Comments Off on The Armoire Project · Categories: Uncategorized

A week ago today we brought home the old-fashioned vintage armoire that someone in the neighborhood had put out for the bulk trash pick-up, and stashed it on the back porch, to await the judgement of a neighbor who does wonderful woodworking. He came over and briefly looked at it, gave his opinion that yes, it was pretty old, a good bit of it was mahogany, recommended a good wood glue and shellac for finishing, and wished us luck – as it looked as if it would be a pretty nice piece, once repaired.

Some of the brass bits, after cleaning.

Some of the brass bits, after cleaning.

So, this week, we began taking it apart; detaching the doors and all the brass parts, the mirror, and the interior shelves. Most of the attachment was by long wood screws, augmented by thin panel nails along the angles where the top, bottom, back and sides met. Both the bottom sides had become very loose – and where the skirting around the bottom had been pulled away, there were a fair number of sharp ends of nails sticking out. So – we did a little more disassembling, and pulled out all the nails, and today we began reassembling, with an installation of fresh wood glue, new and longer panel nails and re-setting the screws which held it together at essential points. It is so humid today – more rain expected – that the glue is taking forever to harden. So – the whole thing is left for overnight, with clamps in place. My daughter is polishing and cleaning up all the brass bits – the hinges, lock and catches, et cetera.

The inside - stripped out

The inside – stripped out

We did a run to Lowe’s for glue, steel wool, a can of shellac and four casters to mount on the bottom corners, for this sucker is a heavy one. When we turned it on its side so that we could look at the bottom, we could see where there were inch-thick squares glued to each corner. It looks like the armoire had been put together with the option of installing casters if the customer wanted them, but I’ll have to cut and apply another wood square of the same dimension so that the rollers will stand slightly taller than the reinstalled skirting.

Left bottom corner re-glued - Week 1 Restoration

Lower left corner, glued, clamped and re-nailed

This first bit is is just insuring that the basic box of the armoire is all square and stable, and the angles and corners are tight. Once that is accomplished, we’ll install the casters, and turn it right side-up. Likely we’ll move it into the house before we reinstall the doors – because that makes it about twice as heavy and hard to maneuver. The eventual purpose is to make it into a media cabinet, and have it in the den with the TV on a set of folding shelves or a stand inside.

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