Friday, 28 August 2015

Cupboard repair...

We have a fair bit of furniture in our house from the 1950's and some built during the second world war, it's good stuff, although these days people don't seem to go for brown furniture that much, they much prefer to murder it with paint shabby chic it, but we like it.

The problem is that it's not always in perfect condition, and some times small repairs are needed, which was the case with this small cupboard we got free.

Looks pretty good now it's done (well we think it does) -

This is where it lives now.
It had some damage to the side, and it was quite obvious and not easily hidden.

The damage - 

Not great.

So how to fix it? well it just so happens my lovely wife bought me a book on furniture restoration a while ago, so I thought I'd put some of what I've learnt into practice.

Basically I had to repair the plywood that had broken off, obviously if I was going to paint this I could have just filled it with a bit of car body filler, but as we wanted to keep it as original as possible that wasn't an option.

The first thing to do was find a bit of plywood that had a similar grain to the original, once I found that I then had to make it thinner, I could have gone online and found a veneer perhaps, but this fix cost about 50 pence (the cost of the plywood)

I clamped a small piece of the plywood in my vice and cut it down the middle with a had saw, I made sure I cut enough to allow for mistakes.

Clamped and cutting started - 

I used some off cuts to stop the vice marking the wood.

Once I'd cut the wood I then had to sand it down on the opposite side to make it thin enough to match the thickness of the original plywood.

Cut and ready for sanding - 

This is the side that will be stuck to the cupboard.

Sanded to more or less what I needed thickness wise - 

The curve won't matter once glued down.

Next I had to prepare the cupboard, this was just a matter of marking around the damaged part and then tidying it up.

The wood inside the pencil marks is to be removed - 

Next a bit of careful surgery.

Using a square and a sharp knife I cut along the pencil lines, making sure not to push too hard as I didn't want to cut the wood any more than I needed, this wasn't too hard, and once I'd cut along the lines I used the blade to carefully lift the wood away from the cupboard, and I was left with a nice neat rectangle.

Most of the wood removed, it came up easily - 

Much easier to fix when you have tidy edges.

When I'd removed all the unwanted bits I then had to cut my patch, I did this using the sharp knife and a square to get the edges nice and clean, then it was just a matter of gluing the patch onto the cupboard, I left some over hang on the front and top edges so that I could take a little off at a time, it's easier to take a little off than it is to add a bit, it was a little proud of the original wood, but a light sand fixed that.

Patch stuck down, just needs trimming - 

A good fit, the grain isn't quite the same, but it'll do.

And now the tricky bit, colouring the new bit of wood to match the old, this is difficult because a lot of what gives a piece of furniture like this it's colour (patina) is age, years of being polished and if we're being honest the build up of dirt over the years as well.

Wood stain added - 

Needs some tweaking.

The colour isn't too bad, and it has to be better than having a big chunk missing, I'm still tweaking the colour to see if I can get it a little closer to the old wood, in some lights it's hardly noticeable, but all in all I'm much happier with it now it's been repaired, and apart from the colour matching issues it was an easy fix, so now I won't be quite so quick to write of a piece of furniture because it has a bit of damage, we can rebuild it.

Seems less obvious now it's in it's place in the front room - 

Just don't look too closely ;-)
Thanks for reading.

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