Candace Couse

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Finding (Re) Purpose

Much of this week was spent cleaning out the barn. I practically wore a home-made HazMat suit compete with face mask and gloves as I tore through decades of rot, wood, furniture drywall and a thousand unlikely things in between. Actually, the "things in between" were not really that unlikely: spiders, webs, and mice. The spiders in the barn were--naturally--feral barn spiders and they smoked cigarettes, listened to Elvis and had a look in their eyes that held the promise of revenge. I did my best to avoid them and always had a parent or guardian in my presence when I was forced to pass close by. 

After one day of work, following my mandatory two hour cleansing bleach bath, I went out to examine one of the few items I salvage from the wreckage. I had pulled a rattan covered chest that was stained, broken and frayed. Thinking I would tear off the rattan and possibly refinish the chest I set to work pulling out hundreds of tiny rusty nails with pliers and pulling off rotten rattan. The chest was made from cedar, which got me really excited and I went mad trying to uncover it.

When I finally started on the lid I was sorry to find that the rattan covered a coarsely filed softwood.  I decided I would make a bench seat chest by padding the top and recovering it. It took much sanding with a power sander to remove the glue used to hold on the rattan, but I eventually was able to stain it with a colonial maple colour and set to work on upholstering it.

When I finished I showed it to my grandmother who informed me that the chest used to sit in her bedroom when she was a child and that it had belonged to her grandmother before that. Imagine that! Perhaps this chest was made in the 1800's. Pretty neat, I think.

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