Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chair 1 of 4 = COMPLETE

Back in my old apartment, the one with a garden and garage, I redid my first salvaged chair.That was May of 2009 and it has been sitting in my living room ever since. If you read my blog back then, you may remember I mentioned that I had a second one just like it. Well the second one multiplied thanks to P's mom who had a similar single chair to donate to the cause and I had 3 ugly peeling wooden chairs. I decided the next two would match and I would do something a bit more fun than black on black. This time I didn't have a garden (read: no spray painting) and it was the coldest weeks of winter the Mann has seen for decades. So, for the past two weeks I have been engaged in an indoor sanding, painting, waiting, painting rhythm. For Christmas, my husband bought me a band sander because he is romantic like that. Seriously though, he has a knack for buying the most unnecessarily powerful industrial strength items. Hence why we own a wet/dry vac but that's another story. I was excited to try out the band sander which is what motivated this project.

I started out with the wooden chair and once again could not bear to take a complete before picture. The above is  what it was looking like after one coat on the legs and two coats on the upper. I was excited to try a new paint type and method, Lack with a foam roller. I think Lack translated to lacquer and I am pretty sure it is oil based. Either way, the finish is smooth and shiny but it took 3 coats to get there. Since I was doing this by hand and each part of the chair required painting four sides with three coats, I saved time and paint fumes by leaving the back and seat au natural. I have plans for those.

As far as the new sander, it was too intense for such a project. I could not get into the parts where the legs met the base. It is not able to bend and the back of the chair has a natural bend to it. However, it did strip the old finish from the wood really well on the straight legs. Overall, it was much quicker than the last chair I hand sanded but I am left pining for a tiny iron shaped hand sander to get in those curved and crevices. I also got lazy and did not follow up with hand sanding which would have really fixed all of my complaints.

So, after sanding, I wiped it down with a damp paper towel to get rid of any residual dust. Then I got right to the paint. The interesting about this chair is that its previous owner completely reinforced all the joints. I'm talking serious screws and glue that I could not remove. So I broke out my small paint brush and got as much white lack in those crannies as possible. I realize I could have properly covered the screws with wood filler but that would have required another trip to the hardware store so I made do.

I applied each coat using the Sherry method of thin and even to build up the coverage. The first coat of paint did very little to effect the look of the chair leaving me doubting the outcome and wishing I had considered primer. However, coat two was already showing a huge improvement. Leaving a day a of drying time between each I had the third coat on by the end of the weekend and was pretty happy with the look. I decided three is the magic number here.

Then I decided to move onto another painting project while waiting for the rest of the materials I ordered to arrive via post. Since the paint was open and the roller still in good condition. I cleared off this entry way table I build a while back and moved it into my kitchen painting station. It has been naked pending my decision on a color. First I  wanted black than white than I considered a color like navy and even a stain. White won once I saw the final result on the chair but that's another project for another day.

Around this time, my apartment was beginning to smell like paint and the weather was breaking a bit so I moved my projects to the balcony to breathe for a couple of days and then my fabric arrived. Determined to do things the right way, I washed the fabric and let it dry before getting to work on the upholstery step. I must admit, I didn't take any pics of this phase which would have been nice. I don't find upholstering hard or scary and I credit my mom for this. She re-upholstered our dining room chairs when I was a kid and I watched. They came out great. I also upholstered some sheep (used in a production of Joseph) for drama club in high school which was a nice way to practice. Anyway, The foam was the other half of the piece I bought for the first chair and the fabric was ordered from which is Germany's answer to I can say I will not be ordering fabric online from a private seller again unless I get a recommendation. I ordered two types in three colors and was only happy with the quality of one. The other faded unevenly after I washed it and has a lot of defects in the print. The third is the same as the faded in another color but I have not washed it yet. So, I just cut the foam and used wood glue to clue it to my wood. I decided to add some foam to the top as well and this required piecing 3 cuts together but was not hard. The next step is generally to cover everything in quilt batting but that was a failed odyssey that I am not yet ready to talk about so I just went straight to the fabric. Finally, I have this,

I am really happy with the finished chair and can't wait to get its twin into my workshop to have a matching set. I know I should have done this assembly line style but I really wanted to see the outcome and I only had enough foam for one chair which is the excuse I prefer over my own impatience. Have you ever upholstered a wooden chair? Do you have any idea what type of primer I should use on the next chair?

ETA: All photos taken on my Samsung Galaxy S2 using the Retro Camera app except the last one which used an app called Camera Effects. I am rather let down by the quality and will go beck ot using my real camera for future projects.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Technology Got the Best of Me

I figured out the app problem. It was not really complicated but then became a bit more problematic. First, one of my two MIA posts went to my old wedding blog but now I know how to change the settings to only post here in the future. It becomes more problematic in that the app is not so great. I tried to post twice on Saturday and got an error which forced the app to close twice. I sent the second one off to Google as a bug report in hopes of a future update. Eventually, my post and accompanying photo logged as processing but nothing came of that. So, it looks like I will have to rewrite that post when I upload the photos on my lap top.

On a related note, I must admit to being completely dense at times. I used my phone as a camera for the first time at a party on Sat. and there are some really good photos I want to share with their subjects.The next morning, I tried to think about how I could do so without emailing the photos one at a time. I came into my office this morning and when my office mate asked if I uploaded the photos so she could view them, I got momentarily frustrated and told her I have not figured out how to easily do so. Then, before she could answer I screamed out I can plug the phone into the lap top! And this is just one example of how I miss things that should be apparent. I also wore my sport pants inside out to do sports last week. Not clear to anyone else as they were black but I should have realized as the inside was a bit fleecy and the outside a bit shiny...such is my life.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Blogger App and Green Onions AKA Frühlingszwiebeln

I got a smartphone for Christmas (thanks P!) bringing me right into 2009 just in time for 2012. The point of this is not to tell you I was shamefully behind on my technology consumption but rather to now complain that technology has let me down. Once of the first apps I grabbed was blogger and I posted twice, once about snow and then about green onions. Both posts are not visable on the blog. The snow one may have been a bit of a whine but the green onions was based on an article I found on how to re-grow the green bit.

This is the green onion re-growth method I tried to post.

As mentioned in the original post, it is a simple method to freshen up the green bits once used or slightly wilted. This interested me for two reasons. First, I really prefer green onions to traditional onions even though I know they are not intended to substitute for the other, I often choose these instead. Second, I recently had dinner at a friend's place and he wanted to just use the white part and throw out the green in a salad he was making. Growing up, I only remember the opposite, use the green, disgard the white bit near the roots. I was not sure if this was a German vs. American thing or personal preference. I'm pretty sure P always starts witht he white bits too but he mostly never says anything when I use the green.We agreed to put half of the green bits int eh salad and everyone agreed it tasted good. Which brings be back to the linked post above. In the comments, some people noted that they throw out the white while otheres claim the white is the best. May it is not a cultural difference at all if I assume an English blog is mostly commented on by Americans (which is a huge and completely not scientific assumption). So now I am intrigued, do you use the greens or the whites? Have you ever re-grown green onions? And where did you learn either practice? Is it a cooking thing or a regional thing or just a case of I do it because my mom did it. I'm pretty sure I fall into the latter mom category.