Sunday, April 14, 2013

I like old stuff better than new stuff

Yesterday we went to the salvage yard to try and find some timber that's the right size for the fascia of our house. The place was chock-full of gorgeous timber sash windows, and vintage 50s and 60s doors - both interior and exterior. I couldn't believe it - these beautiful quality fittings, tossed out, just so people can built their cement McMansions. It's a travesty.

It turns out that the guys who run the salvage yard actually demolish the houses. They knock down around four 20th century homes per week. People like me shouldn't go to places like that, because I just find it heart-breaking.

Everyone over here is so fixated on NEW NEW NEW, building ever-larger monstrosities, with no room to reflect on the beauty of the past. There is no way that a modern aluminium window has anything on a jarrah sash window, or a Bunnings chipboard door can compare to a solid hardwood door with carved trim. So why do people do it? I really don't understand.

On the other hand, last weekend we went to an awesome second-hand shop I've found, called Turnstyle. It was crammed full to the brim with amazing goodies from across the span of the twentieth century. I was looking for a desk, and found a marvelous jarrah number, circa 1940s. I also spied a chair that literally took my breath away as soon as I laid eyes on it, and which I decided I had to have - white vinyl, also a 1940s (or possibly 30s) vintage, with turned feet and original castors:

 As for the desk, scrunched up in the top drawer was the typed draft of a letter, dated 1984, where Mrs Sandford of Applecross requests that Jestset pay to fix her camera from damage it sustained on a trip to NZ earlier that year.

Desk top halfway through sanding. The whole thing could do with sanding back, but following an afternoon with the orbital sander I thought I might restrict my restoration to just the desk top!

I sanded it down using 80, 120, and finally 150 grain paper. Most woodworkers seem to like going down to 400, but I wanted to actually get behind the desk sometime soon! After getting it stripped back to raw timber I oiled it - check out the contrast!

Here it is in all its glory!

Yep, there's no doubt about it, I definitely like old stuff better than new stuff. It has history, and is also generally better made.  I'm sure my new furniture could tell some stories if it could talk, not least of all about Mrs Sanderson and her camera!

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