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silvertone finds a home & French chairs get a fresh start


I’ve been working on restoring an antique Silvertone phonograph for a few months.  I got into painting furniture, because stripping, refinishing and restoring is so tedious and takes forever.  Just give me a brush and a couple of hours and let it be done!  But, sometimes it’s worth it and I’ve found a labor of love is good for my patience every now and then.

I have wanted a photograph for several years and finally got one in a furniture lot I purchased shortly before the Lucketts Spring Market this year.  It had good bones and still worked (yay!), but it had been neglected and showed some pretty nasty water damage.

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I cleaned, stripped, sanded, stained and refinished the piece and, I must say, I am super proud of myself and how it turned out.  We do still need to replace the veneer on the bottom of the sides and back, but I felt like it was finished enough to bring it up into the house.  I was nervous about getting paint on it as it hung out in the basement and I wanted to be able to enjoy it.  I tried it by the piano, but it was too dark and heavy there, so I moved it into a corner of the dining room.  It fits perfectly…

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So, I listened to old 78’s as I cleaned yesterday.  “If you were the only girl in the world”, “It might as well be spring” and “Dream a little dream of me” crackled out of the old speaker.  Yes, I had to stop cleaning after each song to change the record and turn the crank again, but some things are worth the extra effort.  I even had a song in French that was fun to listen to.  No clue what the lady is singing about, but everything sounds good in French to Francophiles.

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I also still need to replace the speaker fabric, but I’m a little nervous about taking everything apart to do that.  I’ll get up the nerve one of these days…

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And I got a huge stack of records in the mail a couple of days ago, so I listened to some of those as well.  My blog buddy, Breida with a B, scored about 70 phonograph records at an estate sale for $12 and snapped them up, knowing I would want them.  She even shipped them to me from New York!  What a friend, right?

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And, my neighbor collects records, so he’s given me a few also.  I’m on the hunt for a few specific songs.  I’ve seen them on eBay, but they are pretty pricey, so I’m going to hunt for them when I’m out shopping.

The hunt, after all, is part of the fun.

(If anyone happens to have Bei Mir Bist Du Schon on a 78 hanging around, I’ll take it off your hands!  That’s at the top of my list.)


And, remember these chairs?

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They look different from the last time you saw them.  They were a greenish/gold when I purchased them a couple of years ago.  I painted over that with Shutter Gray and an Ironstone wash.  They didn’t seem to look their best in gray, so I painted one of them in Ironstone, but at this point they were so gummed with paint, it just wasn’t working for me.

I started stripping one of them with the heat gun and the paint was coming off pretty easily, but it was going to take me hours of not-so-fun work.  Plus that cane was a bear to strip.

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A few months ago, I had four caned dining chairs stripped for $50/each and they turned out great.  So, I decided to pass these chairs along to the pros as well.  For $60/each, they were stripped down to the bare wood and they look beautiful.  These are nice antiques with carved details and all of the caning is done by hand, so they were worth the extra investment.

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So, where do I go from here?  Should I just stain and finish them?  Keep them in a natural wood?  Or perhaps paint the frames white and just stain and oil the cane? Maybe an all-over white wash?  I’m not sure what I’m going to do, yet, so I’m just going to let them be until I’m 100% sure what I want to do with them.

Decisions, decisions…

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  1. I LOVE them with their natural finish!!!!! So beautiful as is!!!

  2. Carole says:

    An old phonograph! How lucky to find one is such good condition. My parents had an old one in the sun porch. I used to love putting the records on, and we especially love to turn the crank. They were big band fans, so they had many albums.

  3. Leave them natural…they are so beautiful!

  4. Absolutely leave them natural!

  5. I just did a set of barrel caned chairs in grain sack and I am in the same place you are. I am not sure if I love them! I would say with your beauties leave them natural. I might go back to that with these! HA I have learned along my painting journey, when all else fails and your stumped, go back to the beginning. Sometime thats is exactly how pieces are meant to exist. (However, not all of them, or us furniture painters would be out of business!!) :)

  6. Deborah Deaton says:

    I love the natural color of them since they have been stripped down. Sometimes less is more,especially when it brings out the beauty in a piece as it has in these chairs!

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