Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Current Restoration Project/ Wood Identification

I've been restoring this c.1920's mahogany cabinet over the past week. I would have liked to keep the original finish, but it looks as though years ago someone had applied a shellac over the entire thing, which was now peeling off all over the place. So far, the project has entailed many hours of sanding (because I wanted to avoid chemical strippers), and I'm finally getting close to finishing it.

From what I can tell, the wood is cherry. The best website I've been able to find regarding wood identification is hobbithouseinc.com. His pics are very good, and the site is very, very detailed with many wood varieties. Wood identification is tough, though, because of all the little subtleties that differ with any given example of the same wood. This looks to be American black cherry, I guess.

The coolest detail about this piece, by far, is the wood inlay on the front. I have no idea how this is done, but it looks complicated. Specifically, the shading that was done to make the leaves look curled and three dimensional. If anyone knows the method of shading, I'd be interested to know.

The doors, which aren't pictured, are large panes of glass inside wood frames. Since we'll be using this as our entertainment center, I don't want everything showing through the doors plain as day. It'd be nice to hide the ugly electronics a bit, so I'm planning on making a modification to the doors. I'll be adding a few horizontal and verticle slats to give the impression of many smaller window panes. I think it'll make the piece look more interesting as a whole, as well as serve as a visual obstruction of the crappy looking A/V equipment. More to come!