Issue No. 1, Part 1

Yes Genius, it is Wednesday. I’m aware. But I’m so excited about this project, that I just can’t wait. I am dedicating Mondays to makin’ stuff. To give you an idea of what I mean, I’m giving you a sneak peak to my new tradition to hold you over ’til tomorrow when I post this week’s Wreck…

I am so happy…I want to shout it from the top of a mountain. On second thought, maybe I’ll just stand on my bed instead. Seems less dangerous that way.

What am I shouting? Well,  I fell in love…with a piece of furniture. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m nuts, I know this (and so should you by now). But seriously, I fell hard for a antique-looking trunk/coffee table. I found it on Anthropologie’s website, and for any of you that have ever gawked at browsed their store, you know how dangerous that can be. Gorgeous wares, but ridiculous prices. Needless to say, I didn’t spend a grand for a coffee table. But the love is still there. I can’t get the idea out of my head. So what do I do? I concoct a crazy plan to build one myself.

I’d like to preface this project by saying three words: I’m no carpenter.

That being said, you may be wondering why you’re looking at photos of an old beat up window. What does a window have anything to do with making a trunk to use as a coffee table?

I’m so happy you asked! You see, what had happened was I went to a store called Architectural Salvage here in my ‘hood (San Diego). The plan was to attempt to find some reclaimed/vintage lumber that I could use to build this dream of mine. Although I would have loved to dismantle some of the wooden gates and doors to use for the trunk, it would have been prohibitively expensive ($300+ for a door).

The beauty of my brain, especially in places like Architectural Salvage, is that I don’t just see things for what they are. I see things for their potential. I see what I could create with seemingly random items.  As I continued my adventure, I came across piles of old leaded windows. In a stroke of genius (or insanity, I haven’t quite decided), I decided that I would use one of these windows as the lid of my new trunk.

After about an hour of combing the store, I settled on this little gem. Yeah, she’s a little worn. A little neglected, sure. Nothing a little TLC couldn’t take care of. Since purchasing this piece, I’ve cleaned the glass, I’ve also scraped the paint off the frame and sanded both sides down to bare wood.

I noticed that while the window frame itself is nice and sturdy, the glass part is a bit weak. Since this is a vintage piece, the glass is pieced together with lead. (as opposed to the glass being one solid piece with leading added for decoration) With the rowdy people I tend to have in my home, not to mention the total clutz I am, I decided that if this window was going to serve as part of the lid, it needed reinforcement. After some research, I found a product that would give me the strength without covering up that beautiful glass. I’ll be using clear polyester casting resin. If you’re interested, you can check it out online on the Blick Art Supply website.

Now that I have a general idea of where this project is headed, I proceeded with the design. The outside of the trunk will be stained to match the rest of my furniture, while all the inside parts will be painted with color enamel.

I taped off the window and painted the side of the frame that will face the inside. While I toyed with the idea of painting the entire trunk, I ultimately decided against it. Paint can crack and scratch. And with the wear this trunk is gonna get, I don’t see paint lasting too long. But since I’m crazy for color (among other things) I didn’t want to scrap the idea altogether. I decided to compromise. I thought it would be an interesting touch to have the color inside instead. Problem solved.

After finishing the frame, my little brother had the idea of painting the lead. While I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of having to tape all of the glass, I decided, go big or go home. So I’m giving it a shot…of color. Pink to be exact. (Forgive me for the photo, it definitely looks red here, but I assure you, it is not. Not that I have anything against red. My couch is solid red…and more red would just be silly.)

I will be applying a couple more coats of pink to the lead, then I’ll be staining the other side along with the edges. Once this is all dry, I’ll be able to work on reinforcing the glass with the casting resin I mentioned earlier.

Stay tuned, there’s a lot more to this project, and I intend to show you every step of my adventure!

As a side note, it’s worth mentioning that while I was sanding the frame, I tried using those fancy sanding blocks that Home Depot carries. They look a lot like a sponge; they’re kind of squishy but it has a gritty coating. I really wanted to like this product. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for this project. I think that there was just too much “give” because of its squishyness to really get the job done. So I returned to the Depot and purchased good old-fashioned sandpaper. Before I left, I headed to the lumber department and found a little piece of scrapped 2×4 to use as a sanding block. I stapled the paper to the block and it worked beautifully, with much less effort. My hands thanked me.



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