21 Feb

Kid in a Candy Store

Southern Accents

Remember what that was like? Remember the awe and wonder you felt seeing so many wonderful things all in one place? The anticipation and decision making involved in choosing from so many options?

This is the essence of a visit to Southern Accents Architectural Antiques in Cullman, AL, for me and I would bet for anybody who fixes or builds furniture or does restoration. SA is a museum of architectural history and oddities that you can touch—and take home with you.

I am always amazed at what I see when I get to visit. I know I am going to see salvaged doors, mantles, shutters, leaded glass, claw-foot tubs, hinges, door knobs, and newel posts. All really wonderful handcrafted items with history and character. But there is always at least one thing that is totally random.

On a recent trip with a friend, I was not disappointed. She was there to find a claw-foot tub for a new home build. I was there because I never miss a chance to visit. I don’t know the number of items they have there, but it has to be hundreds of thousands, if you count all the hinges, antique keys, and drawer pulls. We browsed through rooms and rooms of salvaged materials and most of it I had seen the like of there or somewhere else.

But as I said, there is always at least one thing that is weirdly out of place—if you are in the market for a 5 foot tall concrete Chinese lion, they have one for sale.

10 Feb

Dining Table: progress

This weekend was beautiful here in AL. So, I was able to make progress on Kelly’s dining table. This first image shows one half of the top (leaned up against the wall), one of the leg supports, and the second half of the table on the floor. The larger spots on the table top have been filled and sanded to medium grade. Final sanding will wait until just before finishing with a penetrating oil. The leg support pictured has not been rough sanded yet. The second half of the table top is still about 10″ short of where it needs to be so I have a few more planks to fit.

Table Progress

The second leg support has been fitted and joined but the glue is drying as of now.

Table Leg Support

So it is coming along. It is going to be rustic and beautiful!

07 Nov

If I could turn back time…

My college friend Diann could do a mean Cher impression on this particular tune. Not me. But I wanted to post something about a functional piece of art done by my friend and colleague, Jason Burnett that does reverse time for abandoned objects. This piece, called “Steelmaster”, is only the second piece of legit art that I have purchased. I saw it at his first one-man show in Gadsden, AL. I loved it then and kept pestering him about it while I saved a few bucks.

He makes functional time pieces out of found items and random parts. Beautiful work. Jason tells me that the “ears” on this piece were at one time earrings–had to be a product of 80’s fashion. The recessed clock face was a sink strainer in a previous life. Recycled, renewed, and reclaimed resources–it is an example of “green” art. This piece is pretty mild compared to some of the larger pieces he has made. Very intricate and seemingly random, but held together by form and function. If you get a chance to see his work in person, you will see what I am saying.


21 Sep

Fine Dining

Dining table built for the '07 Coastal Living Idea House

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Some projects are too good to pass up, even if they are huge and you have a regular job. I finished one recently for a 7ft by 4 ft dining table custom built for the 10th Anniversary Coastal Living Idea House in River Dunes, NC. It was a lot of fun to build but a handle to get finished on time.

I was given two pictures by the designer who said “can you take this part of this picture and use that part of this other picture and make a table?” Well, yes. The wood came from Southern Accents in Cullman, AL and was reclaimed red oak timbers from a barn. Rustic as the day is long!

The challenge came in getting the joints to line up well. The wood was simply beautiful–loved it. [See pictures of it here] I made it in 5 pieces that connected using minimal hardware. Shipping it was a challenge, but upon arrival everyone was happy. It looked good in the house which was photographed in August and will appear in the November issue of Coastal Living. They did add a slight stain to the top to make it better match the wood flooring and lessen some of the redness of the wood. I liked the original penetrating oil finish, but I loved how the table looked in place with the chairs and settees.

This was a great project and I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to showcase how beautiful reclaimed wood can be. I hope to have additional challenges to make something old new again.