Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hints that fall is coming

Finally, summer seems to be releasing it's grip on central Texas.  The temperatures have backed off the records and we even had a little rain last week.  Our rain gauge measured 3/4 inch over 3 days; no drought breaking downpours but measurable rain!

Chairs Before and After
With the cooler temperatures, I have resumed the much delayed task of refinishing and caning the dining table chairs.  I found the dining room set on craigslist and was delighted to discover a uniquely carved oak set with 6 chairs.  We got the set home and I started the project promptly but that was two years ago and only 1 of the chairs has been refinished and caned.   My excuse is that I wasn't sure the cane seat would survive use so let's call it a testing period.   Seriously, I did worry that the cane would split or break but, after 2 years, the one finished chair is intact so the project can go on!

The chairs need the blackened lacquer removed first and then new lacquer applied.  Furniture refinishing, while messy and smelly, is not difficult.    Some patience required and acceptance that the furniture is old therefore scratches, cracks and color differences are part of the appeal.

Ready for caning
The really slow part of this process is caning the seat.   Caning was completely new to me so I purchased a book The Caner's Handbook by Bruce W. Miller and Jim Widess.  It provides step-by-step instructions with pictures on the different styles of caning and I recommend it to anyone who wants to undertake a caning project.  All the supplies needed to cane a chair can be purchased online.    

Caning this sort of chair seat is a 7 step process.  The first 3 steps are easy and relatively quick.  The remaining steps get progressively more difficult as the tension on the cane continues to tighten as each layer is added.  
Caning Step 4
I have completed refinishing on two more chairs and started caning one seat.  My goal is to have the seats caned before Thanksgiving (this Thanksgiving, 2011).   I'll keep you posted.

1st pumpkin 2011
Oh, the garden?

I did keep the a garden alive through the record breaking summer and have a few pumpkins as well as both sweet and hot peppers to show for the water bill.  The fall tomatoes are blooming but haven't set any fruit yet.

Hopefully this tiny pumpkin will be sufficient for a loaf of pumpkin bread.