The heating guy came!! He's my new best friend!
It turns out the igniter switch burned out. One little electronic gizmo fails and a $10k system becomes a pile of junk. Unfortunately, the part had to be ordered. (I swear, there is nothing in this house that is not custom-made.) We're hoping it'll get here today or tomorrow.
To reach my heating unit, the repairman had to go through my garage and he remarked on my latest project, a large French sideboard with a carved front. "Do you sell antiques?" says he.
Uh...no. Refinishing antiques is my hobby. It never occurred to me to try and resell my lovelies.
This is the piece he was drooling over. I'm still not happy with the top. I think it could be more even-colored, so I'm going to redo the top one more time to see if I can get it perfect.
It's such a long surface that one half dries before I can finish the other side--hence the uneven tone. I'm going to try using some retarder in the stain to see if I can keep it from drying so fast.
The trick to a good refinishing job is not to skimp on the prep work. Strip the piece of all its stain and varnish, then sand it until it's as smooth as talcum powder.
In between sandings, I'll damp wipe it with a little thinner or water to raise the grain, then buff it with fine steel wool and then sandpaper. To give you some idea of the process, I start out with 60 grit paper and end up with 1200 grit for the final finish.
It's a pretty extensive process but it gives me professional results. People always think I've spent a wad of money when in fact it's just elbow grease and a little gentle artistry.
Here's a little curio cabinet I refinished last summer. The carved details are really a pain, but it looks so good if you put in the extra effort.
I taught myself to refinish furniture back when we barely had two nickles to rub together. We used to haunt this local antique auction house and wait until the end when the crowds had thinned and furniture went for dirt cheap. $40 for a mahogany wardrobe, $15 for a Queen Anne dining table. $5 for a box of small antiques like lamps and glass. I learned by trial and error how to bring them back to life.
I still enjoy refinishing furniture. I'm sure when Greg moves back, we'll have to sell some of our duplicate pieces. And I hope the new owners will enjoy them as much as we did.
What are your hobbies? Have you ever turned your hobby into a moneymaker? I'd love some advice on that. Maybe I could start a little side business.
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