Monday, September 29, 2008

Suncoast Woodcrafters Guild Meeting, September 2008

Warm thanks to Brian Lucas, Tom Hourigan and the entire membership of the Suncoast Woodcrafters Guild for allowing me to teach a seminar entitled, “The Bare Bones of Furniture Refinishing / Applying a Spray Lacquer Finish” at the recent September meeting.

After setting up three work stations to demonstrate various furniture stripping and refinishing proceedures, I gave a brief talk about necessary supplies and the setting up of the work area.

Then came a brief demonstration of stripping the old finish off of a coffee table I'd brought along.

Next, I worked on another pre-stripped tabletop and prepared it for the new finish by sanding and staining it in front of the approximately 36 other woodcrafter members present that evening.

Somewhat short on time by this point, I quickly demonstrated applying a new finish using spray lacquer. At the end of the evening, I was presented with a most lovely framed certificate of appreciation, as shown here...

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the attentiveness of all attendees and the great questions I got asked! The two tables that I took to the class ultimately got completed and look lovely again.

To join or inquire into this great woodcrafters guild, go to

By the way, the 5-page handout notes that I made up for the seminar are posted in the guild's website... should you feel inclined to want to strip and refinish a piece of your own furniture.

Thanks for visiting,

Carolyn Clarke

Monday, August 25, 2008

Furniture Refinishing Basics Seminar

Thanks for visiting.

If you live on the Sunshine Coast of B.C. and have an interest in learning some bare-bone basics about furniture stripping and refinishing, I want to tell you about a little evening seminar I'll be teaching for the Woodcrafter's Guild in September.

Entitled, “The Bare Bones of Furniture Refinishing / Applying a Spray Lacquer Finish” … it is a class for beginners and will include…

· A brief talk about supplies necessary and set up of the work area
· A brief demonstration of stripping an old finish off & preparing it for a new finish
· Preparation and staining
· Applying a new finish using canned lacquer spray

I intend on bringing a small furniture piece to demonstrate on, which means that you’ll get to see me actually demonstrating the process.

When? Tuesday evening, September 16th at 7:00pm

Where? Chatelech High School in the woodworking shop

There's no cost, except you may wish to become a member of the Guild, if you're not already. So, if you're interested in learning some basics and witnessing a transformation come and attend.

Warmly, Carolyn Clarke

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Kitchen Makeover

Hi and welcome! Thanks for visiting Furniture Rejuvenation.

It has been an exceptionally busy month with little time for me to enjoy the gorgeous summer here on the west coast of British Columbia. What, with having a day job AND a refinishing business too, I have almost no time to kick back and do what most people do through the summer months... darn, I haven't even put my toes in a pool or the ocean this season, not once. The canoe threatens to sit idle for yet another year. Moan.

While I pine for the missing playtime, I also relish in the bounty of enjoyable work I have had over these last months. I am strong in body for my commitment to fitness and from lugging heavy boxes (part of my day job) and furniture around. My arms and shoulders have never been stronger.

My most recent wood rejuvenation job certainly contributed some serious physical workouts for me! A very grubby and tired kitchen in a lovely home being staged to be sold soon (and containing more solid oak cabinets than I had EVER seen before) got scrubbed clean before a new finish was applied. Layers and layers of grit and grease, accummulated over 20 years gradually came off, revealing the most beautifully grained oak I'd seen in a long time.

While the photos don't really do it justice, here's the transformation... starting with a BEFORE shot of the cuboards. Pretty grubby, hiding all the oak's beauty potential.

Below is the stack of cutlery drawers, caked and streaky with dirt and looking very lack-luster in colour.

This following photo shows the stack of cutlery drawers (on right) AFTER my cleaning and preparation for the new finish. The fridge door (on left side of photo) has already received its newly applied finish... quite the difference, hey!
The final photo after this one will show you part of the kitchen transformation completed.

How great it was to help this once beautiful kitchen to come alive again. We all know that kitchens are the most important selling point of a home in the real estate business. I am sure that my wood attention has helped make this home more appealing to potential buyers.

If you live locally and need help to bring your wood cabinats (doors, door frames, mantles, etc.) back to life, call me... I can probably help.

Warmly, Carolyn Clarke
Furniture Rejuvenator
Sechelt, on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of B.C.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chocolate Brown-Coloured Furniture Is "It" These Days!

Hi and welcome.

What an intensely busy few weeks I've had since I last wrote! I hope you're getting more time than I am to enjoy your summer. Mine has been filled with much concentrated work in our counselling business, at my other day job AND in my refinishing work. All good... I'm just a bit pooped out so I'll make this brief.

This blog post is really to brag... hope you don't mind. Below are photos of my latest furniture rejuvenation project. When I complete a furniture job and feel really good about it, I know I have done a good job. Being the perfectionist that I am, I am typically quick to find flaws with even some of my best work... not this time.

Before and after images definitely tell the story best of this diningroom suite. Stuck in "country mode" the owner of this table and chairs had me bring the table (and replacement square-shaped chairs) into the present age by darkening it to a brown-black, a now very popular colour ... all done over the old finish (which was in beautiful condition).

Have a look...

It's hard to tell that this is even the same table... but it IS!

(The chairs, which were also originally in the light oak colour also turned out richly gorgeous!)

P.S. This cost $750 vs. the $1500 - 1800 it would have cost to completely strip and refinish.

I can do this to update your "stuck-in-the-past" furniture... talk to me about it!

Warmly, Carolyn
your Furniture Rejuvenator

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Preventing Wood Shrinkage and Splitting

Much like our skin gets dry and split with extreme heat or cold, wood is succeptible to the extremes in temperature, too.

The problem? The lack of moisture!

Proper care for solid wood furniture is critical. The reason for this is humidity... moisture content... water, the all-necessary elxir of life for all.

When humidity drops below 30 to 35%, solid wood furniture beings to dry out, shrink and be prone to splitting. There are two key ways to prevent moisture loss...

1. The best way is to use a humidifier... preferably a warm air humidifier which doesn’t grow mold and present other potential health hazards as with cold water humidifiers.

Not only will your skin benefit the added moisture, so will your furniture, offering you a lifetime of beauty and wood health. Many furnaces have built in humidifiers today and while many people believe that it is enough, unfortunately it is not, especially when it’s extremely cold or you have solid wood furniture in your home.

2. Another way to infuse moisture into your fine wood furniture is to apply a coat of natural oil (such as Tung (MinWax or other), lemon or orange oil) once a month. Wipe on a heavy coat, let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes and then wipe off the excess. Check it the following day for seepage and wipe again if necessary. The furniture will drink up the oil and replace lost moisture making it less prone to splitting and cracking.

Prevention! By following these few, inexpensive treatments, you will never have a humidity problem with your furniture. Working with wood is a warmly rewarding task you'll likely really enjoy.

Thanks for visiting,
Carolyn Clarke
the Furniture Rejuvenator

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Silverware Cabinet Alive Again

Hi and welcome!

How honoured I feel to have been asked to strip and refinish a lovely 100-year old family heirloom silverware cabinet recently. It was great-grandmother's pride and joy and had spent many years on the top of the diningroom cabinet. Over time, it began showing its age with a tired and patchy finish.

The once black feet were now mostly chipped and a chunk of wood was gouged out of the left front foot of the case. Inside the cabinet, the fuschia felt was dusty dirty and full of grit. "She'd" definitely seen better days!

Knowing that this family heirloom was destined to become the wedding gift for the granddaughter's wedding this summer was impetice for me to take exception care in restoring it to like new condition. The trickiest part of the entire job was making sure that none of the messy stripper or staining products I had to use got inside the box and stained the felt! Needless to say, I worked VERY carefully.

Several hours of TLC work later, "she" is completely transformed!

Take a look at the transformation inside the cabinet...

As I always take before and after photographs of each furniture piece, it was a tickle to first show the owners the before images, reminding them of the condition it was in when I received it from them.
THEN, what fun I had lifting off the cloth cover that had been keeping it hidden to that point... SEEING THEIR EXPRESSIONS was priceless! Obviously, they loved the transformation.

I know that they will gift this cherished box (along with all of its antique silverware) with exceptional pride. What a gift for me to have been able to make it lovely enough to be passed down in the family.

If you have a cherished piece that you would like transformed, please call me...

Carolyn Clarke at 604-885-8885

I LOVE working with special pieces like this!

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Thanks for visiting Furniture Rejuvenation.

Every aspect of my work, whether it's related to my wood finishing profession or the counselling business I share with husband Richard, transformation is at the root of it all.

Transformation, especially of the visible kind, simply fascinates me. What IS transformation? A few words that come to mind include...

Shape Shifting...
... meaning the change of an identity into an other.

In our counselling work, we help individuals change their limiting beliefs and held-in emotions to "unclutter" and align with new self and life positives.

In my furniture work, there is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a tired, old piece of furniture be brought back to life using refinishing or rejuvenation techniques... seeing the dings disappear and the beautiful depth of colour and grain leap out before my eyes again.

Here's an example of a rejuvenation job I completed recently... an older table troubled by shoes having been put on the surface, as well as normal wear and tear to the legs. Table and chair legs are especially susceptible to dings.



“I never realized how tired and worn the coffee table I had been gifted with years before was getting until Carolyn worked on it. As you can see by the before and after pictures, the difference is dramatic and I am proud once more to have this piece front and center in my livingroom.”

Testimonial by Rob T. from Vancouver, B.C.



Do you have a tired piece of furniture "with good bones" that needs a little "shape-shifting" transformation? More than likely, I can help out... and I'll be excited all over again at the thought of transformation through the magic of TLC.

Warmly, Carolyn Clarke
Furniture Rejuvenation Artist

P.S. I appreciate being shared around, thanks.