I tend to see the beauty in everything, the useful in the useless and the repairable in the broken.
The wonderful Deanna Lewis of Heirloom Restorations gave me the opportunity and challenge to do just that. She gave me measurements and a photo of rustic shelving that will go into one of her amazing historical renovations here in Richmond, the "Netherwood's".
The first step this past Monday, the 10th, was to force open (without breaking) the cargo container. Using my noodle and a little brute force, we got in. Well, the joists Deanna needed were under probably over 100 pounds of aged materials. I went home, changed into grubs and grabbed my 20,000 lb tow hook. Popping my Chevy into four wheel drive, I carefully teased 3 joists out.
These puppies were 144 years of ick. I bleached, washed and inspected them. "Measure twice, cut once" was an adage that my Grandfather, David Genz, always said. Certainly, that was done. I set all of the 33", 21" and 18" into a little heated area in my garage to dry them out.
The next few days were spent planing between my Grandfather's 1951 Craftsman and my electric Makita from around the 60s. Then there was the sanding... talk about vibration. Hours and hours of sanding from 60 grit all the way to 220 with my trusty orbital. I rounded sharp edges, smoothed to a soft skin texture and distressed/weathered natural areas of the wood, turning each into a unique art piece.
Polyurethane. Wax. 320 grit sand paper. This equation equaled hours of teasing and over perfection. The result is a stack of floating shelves that those major companies would be jealous of. Those are pretty much mass produced as well as some just being overpriced fakes.
These...these are the wooden bones of Richmond brought back to life. They were damaged, laid useless, begging for another chance. People walked, danced, sang, ate their dinners and had family times over top of these. Now they will be brought into the light and their warm, rustic characteristics admired for some time to come.