Monday, 15 October 2012

Picking in the West Kootenays

Whenever I went to the West Kootenays to pick, it was with my friends Jim and Lawrence.  Jim is from Calgary and Lawrence from the region.  We picked from Grand Forks to Nelson and all the places in between ... places like Thrums, Ooteschenia, Robson, Kinnaird, Castlegar, Blueberry, Glade, Krestova , the New Settlement and up the Slocan Valley.  Our home base was Lawrence's home in Ooteschenia .  Lawrence also speaks fluent Russian which was a big help to us.  We picked in hot sun, cold rain, snow storms, freezing weather with black ice over the roads .. we picked year round.
  A good deal of our picking was blind door knocking.  This is going to a house and knocking on the door.  We would introduce ourselves and tell the people what we were looking for.  Most people were very receptive to us and we found some great treasures this way .  This photo is the result of blind picking.  After we were loaded, the lady told us that her sister had some items for sale and was waiting for us.  This photo is taken in the Slocan Valley in the Krestova area.  (Jim and I in the Slocan Valley)
Great rug picked in the Krestova area.  This was a blind knock even though we had an idea she had some good items. We did not know what she had.   This small rug is very collectible.  It was found in the dog's bed.  We would go through barns, sheds, basements, attics, and the house itself.  We once hit an attic full of bats but kept on looking and just ignored the bats.  The urge to pick was stronger than the thought of the bats.

 One of my best picks was this boot bench.  It was on the back porch of a mobile home in a trailer park.  You could never judge what was in a house by its appearance.  A boot bench has a lift up seat.  This bench also has the original color.  Strip the paint off and most of its value will be lost.


Picking was a part time activity for me.  I was a high school math teacher for 33 years.  I am now retired.  I would often go to the Kootenays Friday after school and be home Sunday night in time to go to school on Monday.  One weekend I can back with 
30 blanket boxes of all sizes  and conditions.  

  At the time I had a Ford 250 Econoline extended van with no back seats.  Along with the van I had roof racks and a 12 foot trailer.  After a good pick the van, roof racks, and the trailer were completed full to the rafters.  This is me getting ready to go home from Ooteschenia.  This is small load.

The very first time I picked was in the middle of winter.  I packed up my van and trailer and headed to Castlegar between Christman and New Years.   The roads were bare until I hit Hope and it was deep snow all the way to Castlegar and back.  This photo is taken in Krestova.  We picked this house (pictured) twice. Often you would have to pick a house many times. 

Photos of some of the items we have picked over the years.
A pair of great tables with good original paint.  The owner would not sell us the tables unless we bought his pickup.  We would not buy the truck unless he sold us the tables.  We did get them all . The truck was a 1948 International pick up in working condition.  
These are called community tables.  The Doukhobors originally lived in communes and these were the dining hall tables.  The white one was found in Grand Forks and is 7 feet long, the bottom one was found in Pass Creek and is it 10 feet long.  Note the long overhang on the bottom table.

In this photo we are in our hotel room in Grand Forks.  We had just purchased about 100 wooden spoons and laddles.  We had also purchased 5 sweet heart boxes .   These are small boxes the same shape as blanket boxes.

Doukhobor dresser.  This is collector quality.  It has age, great form and good  original color.  When I first started, I did strip a small cupboard of its original paint.  Big mistake ... worth much more in the original paint finish. Thank you for reading this article about picking in the Kootenays.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Painting Shabby Chic

To paint shabby chic there are many methods. I am self taught and this is the method that I use to get the desired paint finish. I do not want my paint finish to look perfect, I want to see brush strokes and some imperfections. I like the primitive country look cash advance I am going to show my method by using this dresser which very few people would buy in its present condition. However, I do not see a junk dresser, I see a dresser with a black shabby paint finish. I will also line the insides of the drawers with old newspapers. When complete, the newspapers will look like they were put there about 75 years ago. I have found new papers do noy work well. Sometimes instead of newspapers I have used old sheet music, pages from old books, old non vinyl wallpaper...

1) Here are the supplies that I use. Methyl hydrate, orange and clear shellac, steel wool, orbital sander, buffer on electric drill, paint brush and dark brown Brie Wax. I dilute the shellac with methyl hydrate about 50-50 ...maybe a little more shellac. These can be found at the local hardware store. The methyl hydrate is also used to clean the brush. I have a separate brush for orange and clear shellac

2) A dresser that most would put out with the junk. However with shabby chic paint it can be made to add character to any room.

3) I do not strip the dresser before I paint it. I give it a sanding to make it rough so the paint will stick. I usually put on 2 coats of paint.

4) Once dry I will sand the dresser to give it its worn look. The best place to show wear is on the edges. Be careful you do not take too much paint of (unless that is the effect you want).

5) I use 80 grit sandpaper. Be careful it is quite course and can do damage to the paint.

6) Cutting the newpaper. You do not have to be accuate. You want the papers to look like they have been there for the past 75 years or more. Old sheet music is also good. I used old sheet music to line the drawers in our bathroom and kitchen.

7) The next step is to paper the inside of the drawers. If the insides are very clean, I do not put in the paper, I leave it natural. I use old newspapers (new ones do not work well). This dresser needed paper because to get the drawers immaculate would take too much work. Another good reason for papering is is if the drawers are a little loose, the glue will tighten it hard.

8) The drawer is now papered and ready for the shellac. The shellac will give it instant age. Do not spend too much time reading the articles or you will never get the papering done.... they are quite facinating along with some of the old ads.

9) I use regular water soluble white glue. I do not look for the most expensive and to date I have not had any difficulty with it. I use an old brush which cleans easily in water.

10) The dresser is now ready for a coat of shellac. I use the orange but clear is good too. I cover the entire painted area with one coat. Without this coat of shellac the wax would not go on easily.

11) The paper is now shellac covered. Leave the drawers open and the shellac odor will go away in about a day. The drawers may not look it but they are now clean and ready for use. The next step and the final step is the waxing. These photos are of the attack on Pearl Harbour.

12) The dresser is now ready for the wax. I use the dark brown Brie wax. First apply it with a rag then wipe it off with steel wool. Once this has been completed I buff it with the electric drill with the round buffer at the end. Wax in a well ventilated area ... powerful smell.

13) After buffing the last step is to replace the hardware. For this dresser I used the original hardware that was on the dresser when I bought it. In the store I will price this dresser at $125.00. Hope this helps. Thanks.