such a useful gentleman … all scrubbed and polished
I’m very partial to sweet gentleman’s wardrobes. Especially the art deco ones from the 1930s and 40s. I’ve not met many that are made out of solid timber – the beautiful silky oak one I found for Julian last year is an exception! – but their veneers are usually very pretty and provided they’ve not been attacked with a modern paint brush, they are very easy to clean up and polish.
A couple of weeks back – two weeks ago this Tuesday to be precise :-) – I was driving home from having dropped Abigail at school. The car windows were still frosted up from the cold night. Thick, drizzly rain turned the streets and houses into one big blurred, grey puddle. I was dreaming only of getting back inside to my knitting and hot tea asap. Then, down a side street, sitting on the footpath amongst a pile of unwanted vacuum cleaners, rugs, coffee tables, television boxes and cumbersome old monitors; was a dear little gentleman’s wardrobe – with a lovely curve to his face – the rain leaving almost no trails in the thick grime that covered his very scratched surface.
Now you have to understand that Mum and I had been hard rubbish thrifting only two afternoons before – and had come home with quite a haul, not much of which had been cleaned up and absorbed by our wee home (you’ll be relieved to know that “new” bits and pieces may only enter once no-longer-needed bits and pieces have gone!). So when I pulled into the driveway, dirty and damp, with an equally dirty and damp item of furniture in the boot, Mum became slightly hysterical. Indeed, she declared my fondness for hard rubbish an illness and took to asking Abby and Julian whether or not they thought I was demented.
Undeterred, I bumped that wee wardrobe out of the car, along the driveway and pushed him up against the wall of the house. There he cowered, only just protected from the rain by the eaves, and I confess, he looked very shabby.
:: a very embarrassing testament to Australia’s government sanctioned racism of yesteryear … “European Labour Only” … can you imagine LOOKING for that mark when buying a piece of furniture! ::
Sacha arrived a day later. Abby began school holidays. Mum and I made a quilt and readied her for Vancouver. Abby, Sacha and I made merry. I knitted. Life got in the way and the little wardrobe remained in the drive. Until today.
:: left side done, right side waiting ::
A serious bout of knitting last night saw the first sleeve of the Blaithin finished which meant that I could not possibly leave my armchair this morning until said sleeve was knitted onto the body of the cardigan and second sleeve started. Then it was outside with the steel wool and metho – just supply me with these and a piece of old furniture and I’m happy for hours! – and scrub, scrub, scrub. As long as the wood’s finish is only an old fashioned varnish or shellac, the metho dissolves it … turns it into a thick, syrupy glug. Then, with more scrubbing and wiping up with a soft cotton cloth and more metho, it all comes off like a treat. Thankfully, all of his dreadful scratches were indeed only skin/varnish deep and within an hour, the little gentleman’s wardrobe was looking SO spiffy!
:: woohoo! what a difference! ::
I had to keep calling Abby out to snap photos (my hands were too hideous with muck) so we could oooh and ahhh over the before and after results. I mean, check out the photos with the before door handles and after door handles. What an improvement!
:: spiffy! ::
Now, all scrubbed clean, the wardrobe has migrated to the front porch – right outside the front door – where I applied his first coat of Danish oil. He’s gleaming and I know he feels just marvellous! Tomorrow I will rub in another coat of oil, finish cleaning out his interior, add the shelves I had cut at Penhalluriack’s, and then move him on in where he will take up residence in the hall as our new games cupboard.
:: mmmmmmm …….. ::
As for me, I’m off to take a very long hot shower with lots of soap – the eau-de-metho is more than a little unpleasant. But that Danish oil – why you can dab that behind my ears anytime – mmmmhmmmm!