Mid-Century Credenza Restoration

We thought we’d share the process we used to restore one of the treasures we found. Not necessarily THE right process, just one that works for us. Here are the steps.

Pic 1 - West Michigan Furniture Co. credenza as found, stains on top, compression damage, split front leg.
Pic 1 – West Michigan Furniture Co. credenza as found, stains on top, compression damage, split front leg.
Pic 2 - Detail showing damage to credenza top, including two very obvious black water marks.
Pic 2 – Detail showing damage to credenza top, including two very obvious black water marks.
Pic 3 - Applied Citristrip paint stripper to wood surfaces.
Pic 3 – Applied Citristrip paint stripper to wood surfaces.
Pic 4 - Preparing to deal with water marks.
Pic 4 – Preparing to deal with water marks.
Pic 5 - Water marks were treated with Savogran wood bleach (oxalic acid), applied with a toothbrush per manufacturer's directions.
Pic 5 – Water marks were treated with Savogran wood bleach (oxalic acid), applied with a toothbrush per manufacturer’s directions.
Pic 6 - Before and after treatment of water marks.
Pic 6 – Before and after treatment of water marks.
Pic 7 - After addressing all surface defects (water marks, steaming out compression damage, etc.), all wood surfaces were sanded to a minimum of 180 grit sandpaper.
Pic 7 – After addressing all surface defects (water marks, steaming out compression damage, etc.), all wood surfaces were sanded to a minimum of 180 grit sandpaper.
Pic 8 - Depending on type of wood, some may require pre-treatment with a wood conditioner which will help with even absorption of stain. Some woods (i.e. birch) absorb stain unevenly, resulting in a blotchy appearance if not pre-treated.
Pic 8 – Depending on type of wood, some may require pre-treatment with a wood conditioner which will help with even absorption of stain. Some woods (i.e. birch) absorb stain unevenly, resulting in a blotchy appearance if not pre-treated.
Pic 9 - After pre-treatment, apply stain. For this project we used Old Masters brand American Walnut Wiping Stain.
Pic 9 – After pre-treatment, apply stain. For this project we used Old Masters brand American Walnut Wiping Stain.
Pic 10 - After staining the piece, lacquer was applied as a top coat. We're trying to transition to environmentally sensitive products in our restoration work and to that end, used Valspar's Zenith Waterborne Lacquer. Zenith is a Greenguard Certified product.
Pic 10 – After staining the piece, lacquer was applied as a top coat. We’re trying to transition to environmentally sensitive products in our restoration work and to that end, used Valspar’s Zenith Waterborne Lacquer. Zenith is a Greenguard Certified product.
Pic 11 - The lacquer was applied with a Fuji Mini-Mite 3 HVLP spray system. This spray system makes the application of top coats a snap. With HVLP, there is less overspray, so there is less waste of product. Also, in using the waterborne lacquer, clean-up requires water instead of noxious chemicals.
Pic 11 – The lacquer was applied with a Fuji Mini-Mite 3 HVLP spray system. This spray system makes the application of top coats a snap. With HVLP, there is less overspray, so there is less waste of product. Also, in using the waterborne lacquer, clean-up requires water instead of noxious chemicals.
Pics 12-16 - The finished credenza. The entire project took about a week.
Pics 12-16 – The finished credenza. The entire project took about a week.
The finished top of the credenza.
The finished top of the credenza.
Before & After shot of coffee stains.
Before & After shot of coffee stains.
Again, the finished credenza.
Again, the finished credenza.
Pic 17 - Repaired leg of finished credenza. We did not get a before shot of this leg, which was split down the middle and had to be glued and clamped.
Pic 17 – Repaired leg of finished credenza. We did not get a before shot of this leg, which was split down the middle and had to be glued and clamped.

Links to products used:

Citristrip

Savogran Wood Bleach

Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

Valspar Zenith Waterborne Lacquer

Fuji Sprayer

Greenguard Certification

Broyhill Brasilia Gentleman’s Chest

Broyhill’s Brasilia line is popular among mid-century modern aficionados because it mimics the iconic architecture of Oscar Niemeyer, who designed buildings in the capital of Brazil in the early 1960s.

Mid-Century Vibe has this Gentleman’s Chest (called a Door Chest by Broyhill) available for sale.

Dimensions: 44″ wide x 19″ deep x  49.75″  high

Condition: Very good vintage condition. Age-appropriate wear.

**SOLD**

Jens Risom Floating Top Desk

Jens Risom is well-known among mid-century aficionados as a designer of Danish modern furniture.  We at Mid-Century Vibe have acquired a lovely Jens Risom floating top desk with an interesting back-story.

Jens Risom floating top desk.
Jens Risom floating top desk.

This walnut desk is secretary-sized with a return. It has three drawers, one of which is locking. (Yes, we still have the key!) The return has one door, which opens to reveal two adjustable file shelves. The entire desk features a wrap-around modesty panel (from the days when a secretary needed a little something to prevent people from looking up her skirt).

Mr. Vibe has refinished the entire desk with a generous application of Danish oil.

Modesty panels on front of Jens Risom desk. Note the book-matched veneer on the desk top.
Modesty panels on front of Jens Risom desk. Note the book-matched veneer on the desk top.

And now for the interesting back-story. Mr. Vibe found this desk at a small-town bank, a bank formerly known as American National Bank. In trying to track down whether the desk was original to the bank, Mr. Vibe found the original architecture firm after doing research at the Morrison County Historical Society (that’s a plug for Ms. Vibe’s day job!).  He paid a visit to said architecture firm and was astonished to discover that it had retained all the plans for the original bank, completed in 1959. Not only did the firm still have plans for the building, it had kept information related to the renovation of the bank in the 1970s, including furnishings and wall coverings. Guess what was listed on the furniture list? This desk.

Furniture specs for American National Bank, Little Falls, MN, 1977.

Mr. Vibe’s research also uncovered this invitation to the grand opening of American National Bank in 1959.

Artist's rendering of American National Bank, Little Falls, MN, 1959.
Artist’s rendering of American National Bank, Little Falls, MN, 1959. Courtesy Morrison County Historical Society.
Invitation to grand opening of American National Bank, Little Falls, MN, 1959. Courtesy Morrison County Historical Society.
Invitation to grand opening of American National Bank, Little Falls, MN, 1959. Courtesy Morrison County Historical Society.

This spectacular desk is available at MidModMen+friends, 2401 University Avenue West, St. Paul, MN.

**SOLD**

60″ wide x 30″ deep x 30″ high. Return is 39″ long x 16.5″ deep x 26″ high.

—–

P.S. We also have the officer desk with officer credenza in the refinish queue.

StarTribune’s “2013 Best of MN”

MidModMen part of StarTribune's 2013 "Best of MN"
MidModMen part of StarTribune’s 2013 “Best of MN”

The StarTribune has recognized MidModMen+friends  in St. Paul, MN, as their pick for best “MidCentury Furniture and Accessories” in the “2013 Best of MN”  special section.  We here at Mid-Century Vibe are very proud to be a part of MidModMen+friends (we’re the “+friends” part) and are honored by this recognition from the StarTribune.

The article points out that MidModMen+friends is part of the “retro ghetto” along University Avenue. Businesses that cater to fans of retro furniture and accessories include Spinario, located in the Art & Architecture Building, Classic Retro @ Pete’s at University and Vandalia, and, the forerunner of us all, Succotash, around the corner from MidModMen on Raymond Avenue. Succotash has been in business for close to 20 years and owners Noreen and Paul have made us feel welcome in the neighborhood.

Thanks to the StarTribune for this unexpected honor. Thanks also to all of the people who’ve supported MidModMen+friends by stopping in to the store, following us on social media and loving the  mid-century and modern life.

Stanley Occasional Table

Stanley occasional table
Stanley occasional table

It may be called an occasional table, but this beauty by Stanley is actually a table all the time. It’s been completely refinished by Mr. Vibe and has a marvelous box veneer pattern on the table surface. There are two drawers, making it very roomy.

Dimensions = 28″ square x 20″ high.

**SOLD**

Stanley occasional table
Stanley occasional table

In case you’re curious about what the table looked like before Mr. Vibe refinished it, here goes …

Quite the difference, eh?

(It looks even better in person. Take it from Ms. Vibe.)

Stanley occasional BEFORE refinishing
Stanley occasional BEFORE refinishing