The Three Worst Kind of Craigslist Buyers (And How to Avoid Them)

And you, sir, are worse than Hitler.

- DMV Manager

We’ve been very active on Craigslist recently. We just picked up a Kohler sink for the bathroom-to-be, but mostly we’ve been selling. We do sell stuff on CL pretty often, but the process of clearing out the loft made us very active merchants.

I wish these guys would come buy some of our junk.

I wish these guys would come buy some of our junk.

When you sell stuff on CL, it’s usually a good experience with friendly people. Sometimes, it’s a funny experience with slightly off-kilter people. More occasionally, though, you have an irritating experience with a clueless or actively rude person.

major

These folks fall into three main categories, sometimes overlapping. To combat them, I developed some coping techniques. Take a look and chime in if you have other ideas (or other Craigslister bad behavior categories).

1. Mr./Ms. No-Impulse-Control

This person emails, “Oh, I have to have it, can I pick it up tomorrow at noon? I will totally be there!!! Thank you!!!!!” and then they never show up. At least have the weenie-tiny cajones to text me and say, “Sorry, I can’t do it after all.” I mean, what’s the worst that happens? I text back, “Ok, thanks for letting me know”? I really hate sitting around waiting for Craigslist fantasists.

They should be forced to wear one of these (via).

They should be forced to wear one of these (via).

How to Identify and Deal: These folks are the MOST EXCITED PEOPLE EVER. Make sure you get their phone number and always contact them using it. Otherwise, they may disappear behind the email relay. Be very specific (you need to be here by 7:00 because I have a back-up offer; you should bring help because it’s 87 pounds; there is a scratch on the back, would you like a picture?). Specifics cause fictional interest to evaporate. If not, at least you have a drop-dead time.

2. The Cheapskate

This person demands a price concession before seeing the item without any niceties. At least see the thing before negotiating! We price things cheaply to begin with, but are open to offers…once you are standing here with money.

MjAxMi02NmFlMTJhMjIzZGNhNWE1

I’m not including the people who say, “I only have $20 to spend on this item, and I’m wondering if that would work for you? Thanks for considering it.” It’s all in the approach!

How to Identify and Deal: If they don’t just blurt the lower price during the first communication, they may start pointing out problems with the item to set up a later lowball. If you aren’t flexible, say that you are firm on the price in the post and repeat as necessary. If someone lowballs us, I counter and add something like “and we’ll help you load it.” If their email or text is outright rude, though, I just delete it.

3. The Time Lord

This person exists outside space and time and doesn’t understand your terrestrial “clocks.” Arranged to stop by at six, then annoyed your porch light is off at nine? That’s reasonable.

drwhen

How to Identify and Deal: This person generally gives a wide time span rather than a specific time: “I’ll be there between 7 and 8:30″ for instance. As with the make-believe buyers, I try to drown them in specifics. “We have limited availability this evening, so it would need to be no later than 7:30; otherwise, we have a back-up buyer.” Ask for a status report: “We need this thing gone tonight, so call me if you are going to be later than 7.” They won’t call, and you can move on.

While these techniques help weed out the jerks, they really work as general guidelines. In short:

  • delete rude responses.
  • always get a phone number.
  • be extremely specific.
  • set a drop-dead time.

Happy Craigslisting!

Posted in D'oh! | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Waited Over 300 Posts to Use This Quote

Demo is underway on the loft! OH, YES, the remodeling has begun!

The general plan is to increase floor space (by pushing out the knee walls), heighten the ceiling, add skylights and larger windows, put in a master suite (including bathroom and a walk-in closet), rewire the whole loft (and part of the rest of the house), re-roof and re-floor. Also, add central air conditioning to the whole building. So, you know, no biggie.

Before

During the Great Purge and Dejunking

During the Great Purge and Dejunking

Finally empty

Finally empty, except for…

...a load-bearing poster!

…a load-bearing poster!

Demo Day 1: We’re lucky to have found a contractor who is cool with splitting up some of the tasks (we’re doing the electrical, flooring, tile, and finish work). At one point, I mentioned to Kev that we could handle the demo. Yes, we could have done that, but it would have taken us 14 years. This is one situation where it is so much more satisfying to have someone else do a job. For one thing, they really know how to get it done!

First thing they did was get rid of the poster, then saw horizontally through the wallboard.

First thing they did was get rid of the poster, then saw horizontally through the wallboard.

Finally got a good look at the original insulation.

Finally got a good look at the original insulation.

"It tucks in!"

“It tucks in!”

End of day one: most of the wall board down.

End of day one: most of the wall board down.

At the end of the first day, we had to remove the live wiring now exposed by demo. I’ll cover that process when I talk knob-and-tube elimination. I very much enjoyed pulling that stuff out and capping it, and I’m looking forward to the larger-scale rewiring.

Demo Day 2: The remainder of the wallboard came down and all the old insulation was removed. We have a dumpster (UK: skip) of ginormous proportions in the side yard, and lumber delivery drivers arriving on the regular.

We keep the cats locked away from the area during the day (no one needs such a critical audience), but it’s fun to watch them explore after everyone’s gone home.

Inigo is uncertain whether any of this is prudent.

Inigo is sure none of this activity is prudent.

Framing reduced for access ahead of new framing. The carpenters kindly stacked up the reusable insulation for us (it's now stacked in our garage and one of the cars lives outside).

The carpenters kindly stacked up the reusable insulation. It’s now stacked in our garage. Count no man happy until he has a half a garage full of fiberglass insulation.

Demo Day 3: They started work on raising the collar ties so that we can have a higher ceiling. (If I can touch it while standing flat-footed, it’s too dang low.) After the carpenters left for the day, I moved all the insulation and vacuumed to reduce air gunk, both up there and in the house at large. (Lesson learned: a Dyson will not suck up a stray roofing nail.) With the insulation gone, we could really see the space, albeit by romantic work lights.

From the top of the stairs toward what used to be a carbuncle of a closet.

From the top of the stairs toward what used to be a carbuncle of a closet.

Lengthwise

Lengthwise

And towards one side of the eaves (by romantic work lights)

And “sideways” into an eave

One thing I love about this process (of many things — the professionalism of the crew, how fast the work is proceeding, the unimaginable HUGENESS of the dumpster) is seeing how the house was put together. The roof deck isn’t plywood, it’s made of full boards. The chimney is red brick where it shows above the roof, but inside here, it’s blonde; I’m guessing that’s a cheaper kind of brick used where it wouldn’t show. The wiring was very logically laid out, which made it super-easy to systematically cut it back. The exterior wall is wide shiplap, and there are blue chalk notes and measurements there and on many of the now-exposed surfaces.

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I’m a serious geek about old-house stuff, so I can’t wait to investigate the progress each evening. The stripped-down loft is a huge improvement on the prior “finished” version, and the old wood even smells good — it’s sort of a shame to cover it up!

Posted in American vs English, Before & After, Construction, Walls & Floors | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Micro-Scale Urban Salvage

The Burns bear, perhaps the most valuable widdle bear in the world, could be anywhere. It could be in your house. You could be looking at it right now. It could be right in front of your face as I’m saying this, waggling back and forth, perhaps being held up by a loved one.

- Kent Brockman

Before the big upstairs project started, we needed to clear out all our junk. I tend to be pretty annoyed by having to move items any distance at all, preferring to give them away rather than haul them any further. I’d be a rubbish Sherpa.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images/Getty

Wonder if they’d notice me ditch a few things before base camp? (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images/Getty)

But before everything kicked off, I did want to salvage a few things that I thought we could use later, mainly door and window parts. It turns out, I’d also be a rubbish salvage person because (a) I’m slow, and (b) I’m made slower by my need to comment on everything I recover.

,n

“This little hatch door is earlier than the house–I bet they bought it used when they finished the attic. Wouldn’t it be a great headboard? The mortise lock looks like someone just took it off the shelf at the hardware store. I wonder if they got it at the old hardware store they tore down last year. What was the name of that place?”

Freezer bags and markers are your very good friends when you are trying to grab stuff like this. Whenever I just pile up screws as I remove them, I always lose one and later stand on it barefoot.

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If you are tearing stuff out, the area must not have too many spectacular features (yet). Even so, there are usually good things to be had.

Good stuff to salvage:

  • Door hardware: Door hinges (and hinge pins!), knobs and mortise locks.
  • Window hardware: Sash lifts and locks (on older wooden windows). The paint slides right off!
  • Doors themselves: Ours are weird sizes that won’t work in the future upstairs; we’ll donate to the Restore. If you don’t have a use for the hinges separately, leave ‘em on.
  • Switch and outlet plates: Reuseable or donate-able if not damaged. I already have about 20 spare plates from two swap-out projects, but I only found two undamaged to add to the count for the Restore.
  • Smoke and CO detectors: Reuse or donate (if still good) or dispose of appropriately.

Stuff to maybe salvage for donation or sale:

  • Distinctive wood trim: definitely grab if there’s a fair bit of it and it’s stained, maybe grab if it’s painted and in good shape or if you (or someone) might be willing to strip it. Old wide trim is hard to find; the trim up here is splintery, lead paint-caked, and nothing special.
  • Paneling and shelves: ditto.
  • Clothes rods/hooks: always useful.

Stuff to salvage carefully and/or after checking with the demo crew:

  • Light fixtures: Even completely outdated but working lights are welcomed at Habitat Restores. If you have old, original fixtures, you can take them out and restore or sell them (even if inoperable). Or take them out, box and label them as original and leave them in the basement or attic for the next owner.
  • Newer working switches and receptacles: As long as there is no sign of faults or scorching, reuse or donate.
  • Newer insulation: A couple of years ago, we went to Menards on Black Friday to buy insulation. It’s practically new! We suited up (including dust masks) and gathered that stuff up to re-deploy or give away.

Here’s the upstairs all stripped down and ready for demo.

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Terrible blinds left for shade — it gets hot up there on sunny days.

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It’s all happening!

Posted in Salvage | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Another Catastrophic Appliance Event

Ralph: I wanna be in the bake-off!
Wiggum: There, there, I think your grilled crayon sandwich was delicious.
Ralph: You only had a pretend bite.
Wiggum: No, I’m eating it, look!
Ralph: Can you taste the thumbtacks?
Wiggum: Ah, crap.

We have bad luck with ranges (UK: cookers). From the original broken range here to the one in London that tried to fall on anyone who walked by, it’s been a real thrill ride.

When we remodeled the kitchen, we chose a smooth-top electric range, even though we prefer to cook with gas. There are some real practical advantages to ceramic tops.

  1. Our kitchen is small, and the flat surface extends the working space.
  2. The best location for cooking was not the best location for venting.
  3. We didn’t want to run a gas line.

The first range was fine — not a huge joy to cook on, but fine — until it went rogue and torched a lasagne. We scrambled for a replacement, picking the first vaguely acceptable option on sale.

GE JBS55 (now discontinued)

GE JBS55 (now discontinued)

The good: it worked. The bad: it was not well-insulated, well-calibrated, or particularly speedy. What we really wanted was an induction range. It cooks like gas. It’s newer technology, safer, and more efficient.

Induction is also more expensive. Plus, they only come in stainless (except $5,000 Vikings). I like stainless, but we have white appliances, including the new dishwasher. I actually considered buying a reconditioned induction range and painting it, but appliance paint is not recommended for ovens. Eventually, companies will produce induction ranges in white, I thought, and then we will upgrade. And buy new pans.

When I think about the future, I always seem to think I will have lots of money and/or that my approach to spending money will have changed.

In the future, I always have lots of money, and my approach to spending it has changed.

Be careful underappreciating perfectly acceptable appliances — those vibes have real-life consequences! Our GE range was only five years old when it decided to start defaulting to ON. No flaming lasagnes this time — Kevin turned off the cooktop and it demurred. It blinked on and off randomly and hotter than normal. Fa-fa-fa-fa-fire hazard!!!

We had to flip the breaker to stop it — same as with the last range! Shouldn’t appliances default to OFF? Can anyone tell me why that’s impossible? I contacted GE, where a nice lady said she could set up a non-warranty repair. With a little research, we found that the cost means that repair is less prudent than replacement.

Remember when stoves used to last 30 years without service? This type of thing is turning into one grouchy old lady.

(via)

1930 Electrochef (via)

In the absence of a white induction option, we decided to stick with the radiant top. With some research, we found a top-rated LG model on sale.

LG

LG Electronics LRE3083

No beauty, but it does do this:

First thought it was black-lighted inside!

At first, I thought it was black-lighted inside!

On paper, it’s an advance on its predecessor:

  • Convection oven (UK: fan oven) — I miss our English fan oven (the one that didn’t fall over), so I’m excited about the upgrade.
  • Five cooktop elements, including one variable size with a “fast-boil” option.
  • Reviews say the technology has improved. It’s not gas or induction, but it’s more responsive and intuitive. I’m skeptical but slightly optimistic. Skeptimistic?

The LG was back-ordered to this week. But yesterday, we received a polite phone call saying delivery would be two weeks later. In the meantime, we’re using the microwave and an induction element we bought for making beer, with the one pan we have that works on it. IT’S NOT A GREAT PAN.

The dishwasher died late last year. Now the range. These things come in threes, so…I’m  keeping my fingers crossed for the toaster or a blender rather than the fridge.

Posted in American vs English, D'oh!, Electrical, Kitchen | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Number One

It’s toilet time for Tinytown.

- Bart Simpson

We bought a toilet.

toto rowan dual flush toilet

Toto Rowan Dual Flush Toilet

It’s scheduled to ship in about two weeks, and then it will sit in the living room for hopefully not too long before it will get installed in our new…upstairs…bathroom??

The throne is the first purchase for the upstairs remodeling project, which looks like it might be about to happen after a misfire last year. The roof is overdue, and the roof project involves insulation, which means the old insulation needs to be pulled out, so the walls needs to be opened up…basically, no better time.

 

We’ll be doing some of this project ourselves (details to follow), but most of the heavy lifting will be done by professionals. Except for the heavy lifting involved in moving our pointless junk out of the loft.

If you are local to MSP, the Bridging furniture bank is a great place to take extra furniture, lamps, and rugs.

If you are in MSP, the Bridging furniture bank is a great place to take extra furniture, lamps, and rugs…

...and the Habitat Restore is the destination for extra house parts, cabinetry, lighting and hardware.

…and the Habitat Restore is the destination for extra house parts, cabinetry, lighting and hardware.

The guy at the Goodwill, he also knows my name.

I should be excited, but I’m feeling pretty apprehensive about the whole thing — not apprehensive enough to not do it, but edgy. This is not an atypical reaction for me to upheavals, even good ones. But you can’t open a magazine without reading incredibly enthused copy about how WONDERFUL it all is and just LOOK AT THE AFTER PHOTOS!!!!!

fifties-housewife-apron

I just could not wait to have the house in pieces and to spend wads of cash on two-by-fours, joint compound and Xanax!

It’s enough to make a person doubt their completely valid concerns!

Obviously, magazines want to sell home renovation stuff (and Xanax), so it’s understandable that they aren’t going to dwell on the worrying and expense side of things (with this exception: “Oh, we splurged on [something weird] and it was SO worth it!”).

I’m not trying to sell you anything, so you can believe me when I tell you:

It’s ok to freak out a little bit about remodeling.

It’s a freak-outable event!

Of course, make sure you check a few basics off your list — reasonable budget, reputable contractor, workable timeline. But once you’ve controlled what you can control, you’re still facing quite a process. The excitement — and the fun — will be a part of it too. Eventually. At least that’s my working hypothesis.

Posted in Bathroom, Construction, Plumbing | Tagged , | 4 Comments

This is Permanent (As Far As We’re Concerned)

Homer: Don’t worry, honey, I found us a roofer last night, and you’ll never guess where!
Marge: Knockers on Route 98.
Homer: How did you know!?
Marge: I’m psychic.

Our friend Terry re-roofed his own house with long-lasting cedar shakes. Soon after, he came home and found his father-in-law spraying the roof (and adjacent windows and cars) with sealant. When Terry asked what (the hell) he was doing, he said, “This will make that roof last 50 years!” Terry responded, “What do I care? I don’t have 50 years!”

via

Cedar shake roof (via)

He never did get all the sealant off the windows.

2015 is the year we re-roof, and since even asphalt (or fiberglass or whatever-not-cedar) roofs are guaranteed for 30 years now, we need to pick something we can happily live with for the duration. I’m optimistic that we have more than 30 years to go, but in this house? Who knows.

Our roofer-elect uses GAF shingles, and will bring us samples to consider, but since the internet exists, it’s worth narrowing the choices in the meantime.

There are some givens for the equation. First, our house is white, and is likely to continue being white.

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The conundrum, such as it is, is that the experts recommend gray or black roofs for white houses. The current roof is gray, but in the meantime, we’ve added a garden wall that is decidedly in the warm end of the spectrum.

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Wow, look at the greenery — I am so ready for spring.

When you’re talking houses, should the collar match the cuffs? I don’t particularly like our current grey roof, but that’s partly because it’s all beat up. I’m interested in trying a warmer tone, but I would prefer to avoid that generic flat-brown color that was the default around town during the 1980s.

via

This seemed to be on all the houses when I was a kid (via).

With all that in mind, here are some of the GAF options that might work (all images are GAF’s):

GAF’s Timberline HD Weathered Wood

Close up photo of GAF's Timberline HD Weathered Wood shingle swatch

Sort of gray, sort of brown.

via

And on a house. It’s not a warm tone, despite being in the brown category.

GAF’s Timberline HD Barkwood

Close up photo of GAF's Timberline HD Barkwood shingle swatch

Sort of dark brown.

And on a house.

And on a house. That roof is actually made of chocolate. Too dark for us, I think.

GAF’s Timberline Natural Shadow Shakewood

GAF's Timberline Natural Shadow Shakewood

Sort of tan.

I don't think this is a real house, but that's the color.

I don’t think this is a real house.

Or! Or…there’s the mix of all colours that requires no single choice to actually be made.

GAF’s American Harvest in Golden Harvest

GAF Golden Harvest

What (neutral) color ISN’T it?

I suspect GAF might have developed this option especially for all the indecisive customers. Theoretically, a mix of colors should end up looking more organic. Maybe? Or might the overall effect just look either (a) completely twee or (b) like a 8-bit video game screen?

There are other color blends, but “Golden Harvest” is the one that most appeals to me. The color, anyway, if not the ridiculous name.

Here's what it looks like on a fictional house.

Here’s what it looks like on a house.

Some of the other American Harvest options. With Golden Harvest, these are the colors in this line for this area; in other parts of the continent, the choices will be different.

Some other GAF American Harvest options. With Golden Harvest, these are the colors for houses in the north; elsewhere, the choices will vary (for some reason).

Maybe I’ve gone off the wrong direction and should be sticking with gray? Maybe I should ask the Kev’s opinion. And yours — what do you think?

Posted in Repair & Maintenance, Siding & Roof | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Undenting the Sideboard

That’s a bit of a whoo-hoo indeed.

- Homer Simpson

The sideboard veneer fix is done and revealed, but I also wanted to share how I got a dent out of the top. This particular dent occurred when I dropped the mirror on the front edge.

Two views of the mirror dent

Two views of the mirror dent

I did not expect to have any luck with the problem, so I am charged up over how easy it really was.

There are many tutorials out there about using water and a hot iron to pop dents. Here’s a good video showing the basic technique:

Basically, you dribble some water on the dent, let it soak in, and then use a hot iron to fluff up the compressed wood fibers. For our buffet, though, there’s so much long-term wax build-up that I was concerned about causing white iron-shaped marks on the finish. I didn’t want to use a heat source that I couldn’t observe in process.

Most of the tutorials were for unfinished wood. To get the water past the existing finish, I poked four or five pinholes into the dent.

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To keep the water on the edge, I used masking tape as a dam, then dribbled water into the dent. I left it for a little while to penetrate into the holes.

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I was concerned about water damage, so I kept mopping it up to check and then dripping new water on the spot. It was probably underwater for 10 minutes all told. I removed the tape and wiped off the water, then used a hair dryer on high aimed right at the dent.

It didn’t take long — the heat and water plumped up the spot quickly. The process dulled the existing finish slightly, but the Restor-a-Finish and wax brought it right back (as well as filling in the pin pricks). I can feel the dent if I run my finger over it, but it is vastly improved.

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I am a born skeptic, and I really did not think this would work. But paint me green and call me a pickle — it did!

Posted in Before & After, Furniture, Repair & Maintenance | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

It’s Our Tricenbloggial!

Hey, are you still here?

- Lenny

This is our 300th post!

Dancing-Homer-Gif

If you hang around here (and if so, welcome and thanks!), you know that we’re blog hobbyists (blobbyists?) with full-time jobs — pushing out 300 posts over 2.4 years is actually something to celebrate.

Here are a few random items since the last time we marked a milestone.

Project Cage Match

Every day, it’s a toss-up between the floating bedside table and the fake fire crackler for the most page views.

bedside fireplace

Later this year, we’re going to wire a floating fire table for sound and break this corner of the internet.

Biggest Blogging Sin

rocky horror waiting

So, anyway, this bedroom project…

We should really stick to one project until it’s done. But at least we’re giving you a good idea of a realistic old-house DIY pace for people with day jobs and a long to-do list.

(You buying that?)

Favorite Negative Comment

“Eat poop.”

ugly baby

Apparently, we really aggravated someone!

Our Favorite Post Since the Last Time We Picked a Favorite Post

The Kev is a practical man, so he likes the time I saved the house from burning down by being a light sleeper prone to noise-induced panic.

sadf

Something in this picture is about to go very wrong.

As for me, the project I’m grateful for every day is our DIY quartz counters.

sdf

No pain, no gain.

Most Surprising Traffic Spike

Doh on AT

Apartment Therapy unexpectedly used our floating table project in a post, which was gratifying and fun. Before we realized they’d done that, though, we had five or six outlier-traffic theories in quick succession, including one involving Skynet. Thanks, AT!

And thank you for stopping by! It’s very much appreciated. If there’s something you’d like to read about here before our next random sortofversary, please drop us a line.

Posted in D'oh! | Tagged | 6 Comments

Fear No Veneer

So you see yourself more as a buffet-style intellectual.

- Declan Desmond

200px-Angry_DadWe bought our Duncan Phyfe dining set and buffet from an angry man. “This stuff is classic, but my wife wants oak,” he fumed. He was annoyed that we wanted to sit in the chairs before buying, and irritated that we could not fit everything into the truck for one trip. We had to leave the excess pieces outside so we didn’t bother him when we returned.  But he gave us a good price, and between that and his mood, we didn’t do an in-depth inspection on each item.

We did notice that the veneer on the buffet (UK: sideboard; Chez D’oh: cyborg) seemed to have some superficial water damage, but the piece was solid otherwise. The veneer was all there, just bleached out and loose. And so it has been ever since.

We intended to fix this quickly, but the YEARS fly when you have 40,000 home projects in the queue. Recently, I further damaged the veneer, so it sprang to the top of the list.

Sideboard before

Sideboard before

Close-up on the damaged veneer (and some stray Christmas cookie decorations?)

Close-up on the damaged veneer (and some dust bunnies, why not)

I’ve never repaired veneer, but fortunately, this damage is far enough from the eye that my newbie imprecision won’t be noticeable (or at least not as noticeable as the existing problem).

I emptied the sideboard and flipped it on its back. After cleaning the whole piece thoroughly, I carefully scraped out the old glue from underneath the loose veneer.

A razor blade did the trick.

A razor blade did the trick.

I pressed the veneer down to make sure it would go back into place and hadn’t warped beyond use. I spread clear-drying carpenter’s glue underneath the veneer as evenly as possible.

Same razor blade

Same razor blade

I pressed the veneer into place, clamping as I went. I also glued in and clamped the broken bits, which were (luckily) shaped distinctively enough to be able to place them definitively. (Here’s info on replacing veneer if you don’t have the detached pieces.) Then I used a WHOLE LOTTA CLAMPS to press evenly around the curved front.

All the clamps we own, plus a couple of rocks

All the clamps we own, plus a couple of rocks

There were still a few voids after gluing. I used wood filler on those areas. I always way-overfill, but you need some overfill to allow sanding back smooth with the wood surface.

Gloopy overfill

Gloopy overfill

And here’s where I screwed something up so you don’t have to! After the wood filler set up, I decided to take the palm sander (with very fine sandpaper) to the whole area. I barely touched one corner and almost ran through the veneer.

No. Nonononononono.

No. Nonononononono.

So…after that, I used very fine sandpaper by hand very carefully to achieve a smooth(ish) finish on the base.

Same area with wood filler sanded in

Same area with wood filler sanded in

I’ve had some practice matching stain colors. I used a combination of cherry and ebony gel stain to match the existing finish. It isn’t perfect, but it blends pretty well considering the extent of the damage.

Finally, I rubbed down the whole finish with some Howard Restor-a-Finish in Cherry on super-fine steel wool (UK: wire wool). I love this stuff, but be aware that you can’t use polyurethane stains or finishes over it.

howard cherry

Howard’s is super-easy; apply with the grain using steel wool (to take out minor white spots like those on the door), then wipe off with a clean rag. MADE OUT OF OLD UNDERPANTS. Keep that in mind next time you come for dinner. Then I top-coated with Howard’s Feed ‘n Wax. I put it all back together, and here it is.

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In natural light (the Howards just adds to the original stain, doesn’t change its color)

I know it’s not perfect, but I’m pleased with the improvement on the bottom left corner, where the veneer was the worst.

Formerly broken veneer

Formerly broken veneer

I also took a dent out of the top from the wayward mirror — super-easy! Next time.

sideboard b and a

Posted in American vs English, Before & After, Furniture, Repair & Maintenance | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

No Veneer? Have No Fear!

Actual year may vary. Consult calendar for current year.

- Commercial Voiceover

I’m working on a post about reattaching loose veneer, which would be done except the finish doesn’t want to dry during 2015. All the veneer was still there — it was just hanging off with a detached corner.

It looks better than this now, and wetter.

It looks better than this now (and wetter).

But not all loose veneer can be saved, and sometimes, veneer is just gone. While I watch gel stain dry, I decided to start on the other veneer post.

Veneer chipped? Broken? Missing entirely? Well, then, consider these options:

1. Paint It!

If you are going to paint a piece, you don’t really need to fix the veneer. Instead, you could just level off what’s there:

Painted dresser with replaced drawer fronts

Painted dresser with replaced drawer fronts

2. Patch It!

Maybe you don’t want to paint. If you want to keep the stained-wood look, here are resources on how to patch in new veneer pieces:

  • Second Wind of Texas has a good tutorial on patching veneer, including stain ideas for when you are forced to use a different wood species. (She also suggests that you could replace small pieces of veneer from the same piece by removing a bit from the back of a leg or other unseen area — great idea.) The before was a real mess, so the after is remarkable:

Second Wind of Texas Mahogany Dresser Redo

3. Paint Part of It and Patch Part of It!

You can also do a combined approach, painting part of the piece while keeping intact areas stained. There are a variety of examples on this Apartment Therapy post, including these examples:

AT dresseraf

AT project 1

When done right, these pieces look terrific (I especially like the blue outline).

4. How and Where To Get It!

If you need to patch veneer, you need to know the thickness that you are trying to match. Ideally, use some calipers to get the thickness — if you have no calipers but do have a detached piece, you could take the piece to a big-box caliper-seller and furtively measure it. Judging by my observations of the Menards measuring area, that’s a well-known technique.

Our calipers. I don't know where they came from.

Our calipers. I don’t know where they came from.

Earlier in my veneer project, I thought I would need to patch some of the veneer, so I did a little shopping. A variety of thicknesses and types are available. If your local place doesn’t have what you need, try:

  • Rockler (woodworking and carpentry supplies)
  • Certainly Wood (veneers for people who really know what they are doing)
  • Amazon (mainly focused on adhesive edging)

If you only need a small piece, consider eBay for off-cuts and leftovers that might be plenty big for your purposes.

(Or you could buy more furniture.)

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