Friday, September 30, 2011

Reuse Fabric Upholstery

107 : the place where the sun shines even when it’s raining outside!

Yesterday, Maaike started the course with a lesson: Phil had brought seats from home, and Maaike took this opportunity to teach us how to cover a seat cushion with some striped fabric, to show us how to watch out for pattern distortion. The secret? To smooth the cloth carefully, without pulling too much on it, and to take one's time, not hesitating to reposition staples.

To finish the cushion properly, we learnt how to put a dust cover under it to avoid the dirt from going in the chair. 

It was then time to take care of a chair we've all had a hand on to finalise it. The fabric chosen was some black velvet, and the tricky part was to fix it getting around its legs on the corners. It was not easy as we had to cover all the Dacron, but to leave the wood apparent. After having cut the excess of fabric, we put tackles on it so that it doesn’t move, and then we sew the two pieces of fabric with a curved needle. 

After that, each of us went on to other projects. Look at the armchair I filled with Glen: we first put coconut fibre until we cannot feel the springs anymore, then some flock to smooth it, and finally we covered everything with some Dacron to suppress the last bumps.

It was about time for the final test: sitting on it!

After the habitual feast, Miki and Peter went on with the gorgeous sunny yellow chairs we had started last week, using the curved needle tips Maaike had just taught us.

HURRAY! One of them is almost finished! 

With the black velvet one and the red stalls painted last week, our efforts start to bear fruits and we are prouder than ever of our projects!

- Claire M 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And Then Came Colour

Another industrious week with TAFE Outreach in Redfern! A quick round up revealed no less than 45 chairs in various stages of repair. While there are plenty waiting for some attention, I'm amazed to note that the group is tackling 3 arm chairs, 2 occasional chairs 6 cafe stools and 7 dining chairs all at once!

We're trying to work in stages - getting through the sanding on selected projects before applying finishes, so that we don't ruin great paint jobs with fine dust from sanding.

We can't help ourselves though - slowly the colour and the final fabrics are sneaking into the work pile and onto the furniture. And Oh! What a difference it makes!

The red stools got another light sand between coats of paint. A pair of scandinavian dining chairs that were stripped of one cover last week were stripped again in a game of Reuse Pass the Parcel. Miki, Claire and Lesley used steel wool to rub in a 50/50 solution of mineral turps and linseed oil - finessing the timber finish to a smooth dark caramel.

Our lunch break was suitably gourmet - We're becoming far too accustomed to baked treats and vegetarian delights. Cashew nut rice, apple crisps, home made hommous, dolmades, orange and avocado salad and guacamole! Why would you eat anywhere else?

After lunch we gave in to the fabric temptation.

Fabric donations have been rolling in, from upholstery designers and Bower Donors. Miki spied a deliciously happy yellow bedspread that provided just the antidote to the somber black vinyl that had once sat on these frames.

Bedspreads are a great option for reuse upholstery, usually thick and durable, they are often beautifully patterned and textured as well. Just remember to avoid fade marks and any wear and tear in the fabric when selecting a section to use!

The result is disarmingly charming -  I can't decide if it's 50's madmen or 70's kitsch in style, but it's like no other pair of danish chairs in town, and definitely brings a smile!

I'm ecstatic to see so much enthusiasm and productivity in the Redfern  Bower Reuse & Repair Centre and can't wait to see what everyone acheives next week.

- Maaike

Monday, September 19, 2011

Paint, oil and other fun things

Wednesday came around again and the enthusiastic team of Furniture Reuse and Restore students assembled at the Redfern workshop to continue our projects and learning. Once again it was a 2 team approach, but with lots of swapping over of personnel between the woodworking and upholstering teams so that most got some hands on experience with both.  

A lovely old Oak Armchair is coming along very nicely with the re-springing completed, and the timber arms sanded back ready for varnishing.

At the upholstery bench a team was eagerly continuing work on a set of Romanian chairs that are being converted to more modern looking stools. Extra attention was required to day due to the tricky re-assembly of 8 chairs into 6, and some parts requiring a little hand work to get things together.

At the timber work bench a set of children's size bench seat and table was being continued with a lot of drilling and screwing work required to get them all together. In previous weeks the timbers had been bevelled, sanded, and oiled in preparation for this assembly, and today was the day.

All the team took a hand in the work and gained first hand experience in the use of power drills to drill, countersink, and install woodscrews. Thing wet very smoothly and before long the benches started to take shape

Mention must be made of the spectacular ‘bring a plate’ lunch. Once again people broght along an amazing assortment for our buffet style lunch, and it was an culinary success. Special thanks must go to Maaike for preparing not just one, but several delicious dishes. There was no shortage of dessert either with cakes, strawberries etc galore.

Somehow we managed to push on after all this into the afternoon with our projects getting further keen attention, and many getting very close to completed. Some of the converted stools were even able to get the first coat of brilliant red paint

And the Oak armchair was oiled with linseed oil. You’d never believe it had once been discarded. 

We all look forward to continuing next week…..


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Redfern Week 3

The Recycled Furniture class continues to get in the swing of things, with the Redfern workshop feeling ever more comfortable.

Phil began the week’s session with a sanding lesson, including some handy tips on how to get in to hard-to-reach grooves.

He also provided some info on staining, stripping and some of the OH&S issues that go along with these practices.

Following the allocation of some dust masks, we all got down to sanding back a number of chairs that had recently been acquired through The Bower’s Reuse Referral Service.

From there it was over to Maaike, who demonstrated how to manually re-spring an armchair.

It was clearly an illuminating process for many of us.

A number of those present remarked on how they were continuing to gain a much greater appreciation of the upholstery process and the time involved.

It was also revealed that Sam perhaps did too good a job on his reupholstered chairs, which have now been “kidnapped” by his daughter.

The “bring a plate” lunch is now in operation, with particular compliments to Miki’s remarkable couscous. Full marks to all for resisting the urge to nap after partaking in such an impressive spread.

The Bower would once again like to thank everybody for their keen participation and speedy learning. 

More next week, when we look set to tackle some timber work.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Save the Green Way Project

Download a petition to Save the Greenway

read on for the full letter from Carmel Tebbutt, MP For Marrickville

Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 10:26:10 +1000
Subject: Save the GreenWay - Petition

Dear Resident

Thank you signing the petition to save the GreenWay.

Despite overwhelming community support for the GreenWay, the O'Farrell
Government has confirmed our suspicions and scrapped the funding in
the 2011/12 State Budget.

Over the past few weeks I have been inundated by messages supporting
the GreenWay, as has the Member for Canterbury, Linda Burney. Already,
we have received thousands of signatures backing our petition to save
the project, and more are coming in every day.

The GreenWay provides much needed green space for walking, cycling and
recreation and a safe habitat for local flora and fauna. Labor
committed to this project to translate the community's vision into
reality. Barry O'Farrell has ignored this vision and the views of
Inner West residents.

However, we will continue to fight for the GreenWay.

We want the voice of the Inner West to be heard loud and clear in the
NSW Parliament, and we will continue working towards our goal of
10,000 signatures.

I have attached a copy of the petition [at the top of this post] which we will present to
Parliament. If you have friends and family who also want to show their
support for the GreenWay, please send signed petitions to:

Carmel Tebbutt MP
244 Illawarra Rd
Marrickville NSW 2204

Thank you again for your support.

Kind regards

Carmel Tebbutt MP
Member for Marrickville

244 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204 | PO Box 170, Marrickville NSW 1475
Phone (02) 9558 9000 | Fax (02) 9558 3653 |

The Marrickville Men's Shed

The guys continue to roll up on Thursdays and are hard at work sorting out 11 years worth of donated tools and hardware into custom built cabinets. If you know someone who might like to join in, tell them about the Shed - there's plenty of room. The guys meet Thursdays 10am-1pm.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bowerography 2.0 gets hands on!

Saturday September 10th, 2.00 to 4.00pm – Bookbinding Demonstration

 (book and pic by someone else)
BOWEROGRAPHY 2.0 is in full swing. We'd love to see you next Saturday at The Bower for a spot of DIY bookbinding, or if that's not your cup of tea, maybe some aromatic candle making the following Saturday or DIY upholstery after that.

All Bowerography events are free and held in The Bower Eco-Library  (up the stairs in the middle of the shop) Hut 34, The Addison Road Centre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville.

The noble art of DIY bookbinding is the topic for this coming Saturday. So sign up for some seriously creative re-use. Joanna will show you how to bind scrap books, notebooks, albums and more from re-use stationery and other salvaged materials in The Bower.

Saturday September 17th – Candlemaking
Our lovely co-op brothers and sisters from Alfalfa House have kindly donated some beautiful homegrown bees wax for this candle making workshop. We will show you how to use unused bric-a-brac, glass jars and bottles and everyday packaging to create beautiful centrepieces, gifts and mood lighting options. Come along to this wonderful demonstration and take home some beautiful candles!

Saturday September 24th – Upholstery
Suppliers, materials, techniques - anything stopping you from doing your own re-use upholstery? Stop by for an upholstery demonstration and ask any questions you might have. This is not a BYO workshop as space is limited, but you will learn sound basics of DIY upholstery.

Please RSVP to reserve your place and pass this on to your friends and networks. All are invited!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Week 2 in Redfern 107

We have rarely encountered a more enthusiastic bunch of people, the new space was alive with chairs being pulled apart, benches being sanded and planks stained.
Our Reuse Repair Recycle Furniture classes continued this Wednesday with the second week of teaching timber and upholstery skills in our Redfern Workshop space.

The Group split into two with half focusing on timber, finishing wooden benches and staining timbers ready for next week and the rest of us getting stuck into our upholstery again.

Some people grabbed the larger chairs we started last week and some of us started stripping 3 new metal frame chairs that came into The Bower the day before.

Everyone worked at lightning speed now starting to feel confident with even the most dilapidated of chairs, and before long the gorgeous timber and cane arm chair from last week got it's final sand and we started re-weaving the base with hessian strips and adding coconut fibre to match the back of the chair we had completed the week before.

Maaike focused on the retro armchair and showed us all the special tricks to replace the unusual missing spring with a new one and then tie off the springs before adding a layer of hessian sack ready for padding and the final layers of fabric.

We all decided the old fabric on the metal frame chairs we found the day before was too tatted and damaged to save and set about pulling out all the staples, which takes a little bit of time but with five people pitching in and taking on three chair it was finished in no time at all, and once we had stripped the fabric off the back and seat they were in surprisingly good condition and all that was left was to deciding what look we wanted and what salvaged material we would cover them in next week.

The single old dining chair which started the day with just its springs re sprung, also got a lot of love with every one of us lending a hand to sand the frame and before you could blink - re-web, stuff and cover the back and seat, then add mountains of recycled flock to the seat ready to be squashed down into a plump cushion.

We really can not thank all the participants enough for such an enjoyable day, everyone helping each other and working as one giant team to accomplish vast amounts of work and breath new life into the forgotten chairs, everyone having fun with a smile on their face making reused creations out of 'junk' to last for generations to come.

- Richard