Friday, March 19, 2010

Um- yikes.

I came home with a new project yesterday which can be best described in one word- terrifying. There are other words to describe this project (filthy, disgusting, overwhelming, hazardous to your health...), but terrifying is the best.

Here's the contestant.
I paid $5 for this chair in its current condition knowing full well that the upholstery was in horrible shape.

But the frame was still good and would just need some reinforcement. What really drew me to this chair (besides the fact that it's a chair- I think we've been over my "chair thing" right?) was the paint. I love how genuinely aged and distressed it is. You just can't mimic that authentic wear.

Unfortunately, the paint's going to have to go. For one thing, salmon just isn't a color that I use in my house. For another, I don't know how old this chair is so that lovely peeling, chippy paint might very well be lead-based. No good.

After dinner I dove in with a flat head screwdriver and a pair of needle nosed pliers and began stripping the upholstery, starting with the back.

And just so you know, I will be sharing all of the vile, disgusting surprises this chair had to offer along the way. So be warned. The first one- an empty spider nest with a few dried spider carcasses sprinkled about.

Whoever recovered this chair last decided to use cardboard for the under side.

That seat scared me. Seriously. I fully expected just about anything to come out of there, so I left it alone as long as I could.

Discover #2- another spider nest. It was right about this point where I'd begun to think that $5 wasn't such a good price after all.

Once again, the previous upholsterers improvised with the materials, using a piece of burlap sack for the seat's back.

Discovery #3- mouse pellets. LOTS of mouse pellets. This was no surprise since whenever I'd move the chair I could hear those things rattling around on the cardboard. YICK!!! Luckily, though, their depositors had vacated the premises.

Discovery #4- a BIG dead wasp. This fell out onto my drop cloth at some point so I didn't notice until later. Which was probably a good thing because if I'd seen it come out I probably would've screamed.

With this lovely sight before you, let me just pause here to say that I did not wear a mask or any other protective gear during this process, and sincerely wish that I had. Not only was I breathing in the dust and mold that was covering this chair, but I'm sure there were other even less desirable things entering my system because I didn't protect myself. My husband reprimanded me for this, and so I want to urge any of you who take on a project of this level of disgustingness to please, please at least wear a dust mask, if not a hazmat suit. Today my under-eyes look like floatation devices, so I am seriously regretting not wearing a mask.

Once I got the seat completely freed from the frame (which, by the way, consisted of strips of denim used as webbing- somebody was certainly using what they had on hand!) I just turned the whole thing over into the garbage. I then proceeded to remove the studs and tacks used to keep the cardboard on. By now I was convinced that the gal I bought it from should have paid me to take it away.

And here it is- bare of all its dusty, grimey coverings and ready for the next step- sanding!

The stripping back part took me a couple of hours and caused some minor injuries (is my Tetanus shot current?), mainly because I didn't wear gloves and I wasn't using actual upholstery tools.

One of these tack lifters would've been much more effective I'm sure.

I'm not sure when I'll be able to get going on the next step. Maybe this afternoon if the kids cooperate. But I'll be sure to post my progress as it is made!

This is Part 1 of 5 depicting the transformation of NC. Click the following links for subsequent posts.
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

1 comment:

Anderson Family said...

I made the mistake of sitting down to view this latest post while preparing to enjoy a big chocolate chip cookie which Jennifer had brought home from the coffee shop for me--I almost lost my appetite! I'm glad you have that big garage so you had room to quickly flee from the nasties that might have jumped out at you! Your a braver man that I Gungadin!!

Actually, I think that we had a very similar chair, early in our marriage, and your dad took an upholstery class and re-covered it with his own two little hands. I can't wait to see how it turns out with your skills and eye for detail.

Now I know why the posts on your family blog have been sparce lately--THIS is where you have been!! Now I'll know to check here more often...