Coat Tree After
Coat Tree Before
For as long as both Melanie and I can remember this old coat tree has been standing in
her parent's house - first in Hagerstown, Maryland, then in two locations in West Virginia,
and finally back in Hagerstown, Maryland. After her mother moved into a senior care home,
we 'inherited' it, which was great for me because, being obviously old, I really liked it.
As you can see from the 'before' picture, it was in pretty rough shape and having been heavily
used for who knows how many decades? Any glue that might have been used had long since disintegrated,
and the finish was heavily worn. A few small nails held everything together in a very wobbly
manner. It probably started out life in York, Pennsylvania. from whence her parents both harkened.
After disassembling everything, I sanded off what remained of the original finish and filled
all the holes and deep grooves with wood putty. The base feet pads were leveled by laying
a full sheet of 150-grit sandpaper on the workbench top and dragging all four back and forth
until it sat without teetering. Elmer's Carpenter's Glue was used to hold all the parts together;
no nails were used this time around. Embarrassingly, I did not notice until making this
page that I incorrectly positioned the support blocks horizontally along the feet rather than
vertically along the main pole. Oops, that was rather stupid of me. Nobody else will even
know, so don't say anything to anyone ;-)
Minwax stain and three coats of Minwax satin polyurethane were applied, with sanding between
all coats. I prefer polyurethane over lacquer (e.g., Deft) because
it does not show scratches as readily, but it sure is a pain to keep from running, especially
when the temperature is below about 65 degrees. It was about 60° in the garage when I
did this, but I managed to only end up with a barely detectable run down at the very bottom
of the main pole.
The coat hooks up top look in the picture like they are coated with bronze or brass, but
in fact the color is due to rust and crud. The wire wheel on the bench grinder handily wore
off all the oxidation, then a few coats of clear acrylic were sprayed on to preserve the shiny
appearance. I was tempted to paint them but wanted to keep it looking original.
The coat tree / family heirloom now sits in our kitchen, close to the garage door. It will
easily last another half a hundred years or more.
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Posted April 10, 2015