Tag: Furniture

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  • Giving New Life to an old Hamilton Drafting Table: Final Construction

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    Follow along as guest blogger, Doug Murray, goes through the process of refurbishing an old Hamilton drafting table found in a barn! This is the final installment, so make sure you start at the beginning with his first post.

    The end of an era! I can’t believe it’s over. This desk started as a massive pile of flotsam and materialized into a serious labor of love. I had no idea how satisfying it could be to restore such an amazingly classic Hamilton drafting table.

    The initial phase of construction was the frame, which went together very smoothly. Long eight inch bolts ran through all the preset holes and mated up with their specific support posts and beams with half inch nuts. The frame was only seven pieces, but this was an excellent “footprint” to see where this large desk could actually fit. Moving around the frame was ideal. I was...

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  • Giving New Life to an old Hamilton Drafting Table: Sanding, Stain, and Finish

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    Follow along as guest blogger, Doug Murray, goes through the process of refurbishing an old Hamilton drafting table found in a barn! This is part 4, so make sure you start at the beginning with his first post.

    Final Sanding, Stain Application and Protective Varnish Finish

    Well I’m in this project about a month already and I can kind of see the finish line. I have to remind myself, “Don’t get impatient! This is the point of the project where rushing will cost you greatly.”

    I’ll talk a little bit about my finishing process and then explain how the Hamilton desk was fine tuned. After all the repairs and sanding, it’s good to go over every piece with a fine grit sandpaper; 180 to 220 will do just fine. Then take a towel and give all the pieces a good rub to remove all particles and contaminants. Some people like to use a...

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  • Giving New Life to an old Hamilton Drafting Table: Repair Time!

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    Follow along as guest blogger, Doug Murray, goes through the process of refurbishing an old Hamilton drafting table found in a barn! This is part 3, so make sure you start at the beginning with his first post.

    Well the good news about getting through major steps in a big project is the sense of accomplishment you feel when achieving goals. After section 2, I was very excited to be done with the varnish and stain removal. The bad news is that people sometimes apply dark stains when they are trying to hide blemishes. In the case of my Hamilton desk, this was an understatement.

    Removing the dark stain and varnish did reveal the beautiful bare oak grain. What it also exposed was 60 years of use, wear and tear and abuse. In some ways, when you are restoring classical pieces, it is good to leave the blemishes that show the pieces natural age. Leaving some wear and...

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  • Giving New Life to an old Hamilton Drafting Table: Stain and Varnish Removal

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    Follow along as guest blogger, Doug Murray, goes through the process of refurbishing an old Hamilton drafting table found in a barn! This is part 2, so make sure you see his first post.

    Stain and varnish removal is no fun at all! When considering the scale of any project, this is probably the most labor intensive stage. My Hamilton desk is composed of 34 individual wood pieces. Unfortunately, the previous owner decided to apply a deep brown stain on top of the original faded varnish. They then applied several layers of a hi-gloss varnish. This created a nasty tar-like look. I’m sure when they completed the application, they were very disappointed with the results. The problem with staining and varnishing without properly preparing the surfaces is that the finished product will never look good.

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  • Giving New Life to an old Hamilton Drafting Table: The Beginning

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    Follow along as guest blogger, Doug Murray, goes through the process of refurbishing an old Hamilton drafting table found in a barn!

    Oay, Here we go! I found this desk on Craigslist stuffed in the back of an old barn in Massachusetts. The project was massive from day 1. I somehow managed to stuff the entire collection of scraps and boards into my pick up and headed off down the road wondering how the hell I was going to fit this project in my studio!

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    The good news is that everything fit in the studio, the bad news is, there's very little working space. When the previous owner declared the desktop to be 88 inches wide by 48, I laughed and figured he had messed up his measurement. My jaw dropped when I starting grasping the scale of the drawers, cabinets and that massive desktop. His math was accurate, much to my chagrin.

    When stepping out and committing to a restoration project on any piece, you should...

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