• Child’s Chair Restoration

    Child’s Chair Restoration

    When I delivered this child's chair to Beth at her place of work, handing it back to her in the parking lot, she took it and placed it on the pavement right there, to try out. I wish I had thought to take a photo of her, sitting happily on her beloved heirloom child’s chair; it was priceless. I will never forget seeing the little child magically come out in her….

    Here is what Beth wrote about her restored antique:

    Steve restored a child-sized chair that has been in my family for over 130 years. He removed old paint and glue that had been shoved into the spindle and leg holes. It is sturdier than ever before and the beauty of the wood has been revealed. Our little chair will continue to get used and passed on for another 130 years! --Beth Wyatt

    Thank you, Beth!

    Here we go:

    Before pic showing loose joints and general wear and tear:

    Joints steamed:

    Re-gluing the top:

    Re-gluing the base:

    Final finish view in my shop:

    Little Child's Chair out of the parking lot (!) and home once again:

  • Piano Bench Restoration

    Piano Bench Restoration

    This is a fun restoration challenge from another long-term client.  This piano bench, a gift from the client's parents,  is the great kind that also stores music inside- handy, practical and also comfy for seating while playing.  Her parents had found the bench serviceable, but in need of assistance, especially because of a poorly done patch on a previously broken leg.  My client decided to restore the bench, having especially fond memories of it in her family home.

    Here we go with the bench frame disassembled:

    Leg frames steamed of glue and new dowels applied:

    Frame re-glued:

    Final finish with bench closed:

    Final finish with bench open, showing the interior storage compartment:

    And here is the piano bench back at home with its piano:

  • Good-for-Another-100-Years Antique Oak Table Restoration

    Good-for-Another-100-Years Antique Oak Table Restoration

    This table had never been refinished in all of its roughly 100 years. The base was in dire need of repair as every joint was loose and devoid of any glue. The top had several splits which needed attending to. The table glides were missing several "butterflies" which keep the tracks aligned for the purpose of pulling the table apart for inserting the leaves. I recreated these and then lubed the glides with Slip-Ease and they've never worked so well. (The table has three leaves, not shown.)

    I carefully and completely took apart the table and steamed the pieces where necessary and then restored it back to its original beauty, turning back the hands of time, while still incorporating the 100-year-old style and soul of this heirloom table for Cathy and Tim Hayes.

    Good for another 100 years.

    Picked up from and delivered back home to Santa Rosa, CA.

    Starting out with this restoration:

    Next photo shows piece after steaming all joints:

    And now the reveal:

  • Antique Walnut Secretaire & Hutch Restoration

    Antique Walnut Secretaire & Hutch Restoration

    This secretaire and accompanying hutch were commissioned to me by a long-time client as a wedding gift for her grandson. This piece was built mid-1800's and probably on the east coast. The base was built with solid walnut sides and face frame with yellow pine top, back and interior. The pigeon hole is walnut with Birdseye Maple veneer.

    Secretaire/hutch was picked up in Forestville, CA and delivered to the client’s grandson’s home in Benicia, CA.

    Pic #1:

    Pic# 2 Steaming original felt from writing deck:

    Pic# 3 Clean and ready for new felt:

    Pic# 4 Factory number revealed:

    Pic #5 Showing face board in need of repair of split on one end and hole on the other:

    Pic # 6 Cabinet base doors before repair and strip:

    Pic #7 Joints steamed of glue and ready for repair:

    Pic #8 In repair:

    Pic #9 Doors after repair and strip:

    Pic#10 Preparing for new felt:

    Pic #11 New felt applied, not yet trimmed:

    Pic #12 Trimmed and complete:

    Pic #13 Base of cabinet finished:

    Pic #14 Upper hutch cabinet sides, face frame, crown molding, and doors were built with solid walnut, with top, deck and back built with yellow pine. Side view upper cabinet before strip:

    Pic #15 Front view without doors before strip:

    Pic #16 upper hutch cabinet completed:

    Complete in my shop:

    Secretaire Hutch is snuggled in its new home:


  • Walnut Armoire Restoration

    Walnut Armoire Restoration

    This Walnut Armoire has been in the family since it was new, dating back to 1864. It was sent to me in many pieces, in a terrible state of disrepair. The bottom rear left foot had been replaced with a chunk of wood just to hold it up and these kind of “repairs’ carried through the whole restoration project. I never quite knew what I would find next and had to undo not only the ravages of time, but the ravages of amateur “fixes”.

    This piece was brought back to life by the will of my client; he saw its potential and mine as its restorer. We were a perfect triumvirate of restoration- my client, his armoire and me.

    This armoire was repaired and restored, including (but not only!) replacing the bottom left leg panel, taking apart the entire cabinet and steaming off all old glue including on the base, side and face panels and top crown of cabinet. It was basically in need of a complete rebuild from fore to aft including fabrication of runners and trim pieces.  After rebuilding, the original wood finish was restored to its natural beauty. It now resides as the focal point in the living area of their home. I'm proud to have been able to have brought this piece back to life for them.

    I have a large gallery here of BEFORE, DURING and AFTER shots- sadly, some of my shots with my iPad just do not do the wood finish full justice….but you can get a good taste of this in depth restoration!

    Piece picked up from and delivered back home to Santa Rosa, CA.

    Starting with the pieces:

    Here is a shot of the same panel in repair:

    Some shots of that makeshift "leg":


    More details and restoration techniques:

    They say it is all in the details.....doors before restore:

    Each step exciting:

    From bottom to top and in between:

    Drawer glides-will glide again!  Before and afters: