Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stair repairs, tearing tin and a desk fix-up.

Been a little off colour the past two weeks hence the lack of movement at the Crazy "Reno" House blog. Seem to have picked up a belly bug (or two) which you really needed to know right! Gross!!!
Anyway, I've a backlog of posts as usual, so here's some reno repairs I was going to post two weeks ago. Our neighbour has recently given us some "free" stair treads to replace the rotten ones. He managed to score himself a complete set of free stairs and he only wanted the metal frames, so we got the treads and they are in perfect condition. Probably saved us a few hundred dollars. We folk who live in old wooden houses seem to keep spares of everything "just in case"!
The bottom side is getting painted so they can be bolted in place.

The tops of the frames in three places were badly rusted, so Mr CH cut the tops off with the angle grinder, cleaned them up with the wire brush and welded new flat supports in place.

 He used the large flat washers that you use for cyclone rod tie downs. They cost less than 20cents each and are the perfect size for this job, and they have a pre-drilled hole.

Some repairs on the front wall weatherboards have been cut and patched with old boards.Which have already been undercoated (I am a bit behind in posts)

The awnings have had the tin "torn" for them and one has been assembled. Don't know if you already know this, but you can tear tin. In any direction, simply snip the edge and pull and it tears. You can score a line for the tear to follow or you can pull one way to manipulate the tearline. No more struggling with tin-snips. I did think of painting Mr CH in a pair of safety boots, but he is who he is - A THONG WEARER! Good thing he has a head for the motions of physics.

Sneaky peek at the new awnings.

The old desk that we found at lifeline has had a re-finish and is in it's new spot upstairs.

I don't think I showed the inside before. It has a funny little rack for paper/envelopes/cards etc. inside.
The key wouldn't open in the shop so we weren't even sure if it was a desk or not and bought it inside unseen. A pleasant surprise to finally open it at home after a bit of wiggling with different keys.

I saw a piece of furniture with this makers stamp on it , which was dated 1950 so this piece may be of a similar age.
A.F.H.Chatley furniture manufacturers, Preston?

The inside of the bottom shelves I simply wiped with a metho-soaked cloth, which re-set the shellac and made the scratches disappear. I simply stripped off the old shellac with the metho/steel wool method I used on the "super-ugly sideboard" fix-up. I then re-applied a dozen or so coats, sanding with super fine sandpaper in between each coat. You should ideally finish with a super fine steel wool buff and wax, but I didn't with this piece. I'll save that for the table that I'm still working on!!!

I forgot to take a before pic of the top until I was part way through stripping with steel wool. There are two ink stains in black on the top unfortunately, which I hoped would be camouflaged with some black stain.
 The inside (other than the door) was in good condition and simply needed only a few coats of shellac. I then used these two products (cheaper from an auto shop than a craft shop - 2 for $14) to add a bit of nostalgia to the inside walls of the desk.

I colour-copied some pages from an antique book (found in Grandma's belongings) onto some thicker scrapbooking papers, sprayed the paper with the spray gloss to coat them (mainly dust proofing rather than waterproofing) and then applied the pages to the walls in a patchwork fashion. I will (hopefully) do a post on the pretty book I used, as I think it deserves a post of it's own.
I wanted it to be a semi-permanent make-over that would be easy to remove later if I wanted to.

Some of the hand drawn sketches from the book.

We re-screwed the letter rack back inside, moving it as high as it would go to get more space underneath for a closed laptop, etc.
 Sorry not a very good photos.

 I forgot to take a pic of the top while it was outside and it's a tad dark in this spot. I stained the top with black stain which starts out very dark, however some stain pulls off with the first gentle wipe-over of shellac. The stains are not as visible as this (blurry) pic shows and you wouldn't notice them if you weren't looking for them. I was trying to bounce the flash off the white back door as I don't have a white ceiling to use - tricky and didn't work, ha.

Some of the small veneer chips are no longer as visible after naturally darkening with the shellac coating and overall we are very happy with the finished piece - it matches the formerly "super ugly sideboard" perfectly.

Never having a long enough "to do list", I also have started a little santa cross stitch. I'm thinking the  closeness of Christmas might motivate me to finish it in time, to use this year rather than next.

Found it in a Better Homes and Gardens from 1996.
How close is Christmas? Well if this weeks junk mail is anything to go by, it's pretty close. 1.3 kgs worth!
That's all, I'm done! 
Hope you all enjoy what's left of the weekend, we woke to the sound of steady rain on the tin roof, we love that sound. 
What a treat after hardly any rain for the past 4 months.


  1. Hi Simmone! Your desk turned out beautifully! I love the antique book pages used on the inside - what a great idea! Cross stitch looks great. Hope you are feeling better. xx

  2. Hi Simmone, I love your makeover and the way you guys just get in an do it! It makes me tired just thinking abut it. How lovely that you used your Grandmas books, the illustrations are just gorgeous. I am having a giveaway if you would like to join. Hope you are feeling better, Tam x

  3. Very impressed with the desk reno! :)

  4. Your desk looks great. And yep, we take any building materials that are going around the traps. Treads can be expensive, so that was good of your neighbour to pass them on. xx

  5. Thanks for the tin tip...who knew?
    Also, I love, love what you did with the desk. Those papers are so pretty. Great idea! My first grader, Lydia has wanted a writing table for her bedroom for a couple months now and today I found a little charming writing table with a curved side shelf on the bottom for free! I did such an illegal U-turn to snag that baby! I think I may copy your idea and put on some pretty papers like you did. I will have to re-read and print out how you did it.
    Your little cross stitch Santa is so cute. I have a soft spot for cross-stitch. It was my first introduction to the crafting sewing world: 4th grade after school craft club. I should introduce my girls to it, now that I think of it. Its a such a simple but satisfying creative en devour. A good winter project in front of the fire for us to do.
    {I was going to wish you a happy Thanksgiving, but caught myself and remembered you are Australian}

  6. I've just become a follower due to finding you on Fun & VJs! I live in an old Queenslander too so your posts are really interesting to me. I loved reading about all your grandmothers sewing bits and bobs too and that lovely picture of the embroidery cottons was amazing.


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