Thriftscore! vintage late 1800’s Ice Box

Vintage White Clad Ice Box

This is better than a thriftscore. This is another one of my favorite ways to procure neat antique items: picking them up from the side of the road for free.

Our neighbors just moved out. They were taking care of their elderly grandmother and sadly, I believe she passed away. What’s even more gloomy is that it looks like the lot of grandmother’s things were put in the front yard with a sign that said “FREE”. The kids in our neighborhood are particularly savage and within hours they were using this woman’s crutches like stilts, racing around in her wheelchair and were literally smashing the rest of the items with a hammer simply because the stuff said “FREE” and they felt they were free to destroy it. It’s true, we asked them and that was their response.

I love the past simply for it’s own sake and I treasure the stories behind old things so I was glad to have rescued at least one item laid out in the yard to be given away and good care will be given to at least one item that belonged to this elderly woman. A “vintage” White Clad ice box from the late 1800’s. I put quotations around vintage because it’s most certainly a reproduction. I don’t mind that. In researching it a bit, even the repros of this go for around Truth be told, I may’ve just glossed over it if it weren’t for it’s unique hardware. I love the latch and the manufacturer’s plate on the front. From what I can tell it’s real brass.

The door opens and there’s a small bit of storage inside. I thought perhaps to use it as a night stand or and end table. Uninspired reuses, I know. Do any of you have any more clever ideas on a possible use for this neat little thing?

PS – my readership has spiked alot in the last few days. Where are all you coming from?!

PPS – please notice my fantastic Queen poster in the background of the first pic.

Advertisements

A Piano Stool Rescue. Part I

If you recall, a few weeks ago I posted a picture of the Christmas present I bought for my wife last month. Now with a great item like this, we need two things: great seating and great lighting. Three things if you count great prices

We’ve had our eye out for all of these and we solved out seating problem by finding a late 1800’s/early 1900’s era ball & claw piano stool at one of our favorite antique stores in Simi Valley. We already figured we’d likely end up with a piano stool because we wanted to be able to push in our seating to keep it out of the way and the leg space beneath the vanity is very small. A piano stool would be one of the few things that would fit the bill. It also had to be functional. The stool would not be just for decoration but for actual everyday use.

The stool was in unfortunately bad shape when we took a closer look in it at the shop and the shop owner dropped the price down from $65 to $25.  Twenty-five was still a lot for an old stool that we weren’t sure we could fix. The cast iron piece that was holding the seat to the swiveling rod (which didn’t turn) was completely shattered and the seat itself was broken in two pieces. We decided to go for it and I had to enlist my dad’s help to fix it.

I didn’t get around to taking a before picture of the crumbled cast iron but here’s all of the problems it had and the solutions that we came up with.

Granted the stool is not all back to it’s original pieces so it’s not a pure restoration. In order to make this seat sturdy enough for daily use we had to add to it somewhat. The X-shaped cast iron piece couldn’t be welded of course so it was brazed from the inside and then a metal plate was made to go in between the wood seat and the piece. The pieces were both painted with a glossy black coat to make the cast iron and the plate look uniform.

Putting the seat back it, we discovered it was lopsided so my dad even it out using washers as shims and then put wood dough (which I plan to use a mahogany stain on) in the excess space.

These photos don’t tell the story very well but here’s the now-sturdy stool which is in dire need of a deep cleaning. There’s a hundred years worth of dust gathered in the grooves of the ball & claw feet. But right now the wood needs some serious attention:

Tho’ it’s hard to tell in the photographs, one treatment with Howard’s Feed-n-Wax made a considerable difference in the wood (see the picture on the right). Howard’s is my favorite wood cleaning product I’ve used so far in my venture into restoring/refinishing. It really keeps the wood from drying out, replenishes the moisture, and gives it a nice shine. For best results, leave it on for 20 minutes before wiping off, just as the bottle suggests.

So that’s where I am now…in mid-clean. I cleaned the ball & claw feet as best I could but it still needs a great deal of attention. I’m going to need to figure out the best way to properly clean those feet.

More pictures to come as the project continues! Not bad for a $25 piece of turn-of-the-century furniture that might’ve been thrown away otherwise!

I Tweet.