China Cabinet Base/ An Unusual Story

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Project by Patch2020 posted 01-16-2015 03:20 PM 1180 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My Dad had a business when I was growing up building mostly oak tables but we also built some special order cabinets. Back in the early to mid 1980’s, a lady came in and wanted a china top built to sit on a buffet she already had. Fast forward to 2012, her son walked into my cousin’s furniture store and wanted a base for it. He told my cousin where they bought the top and he laughed and told them that I was back in the area and would be able to build it for them. I had moved back to Athens because my Dad was in bad health and wanted to spend time with him. He remembered the top and that we had used roofing tar and mineral spirits to make the stain. Too late to make a long story short but I used the same construction methods we used back then and the customer loved the cabinet. He didn’t think I had charged him enough so he gave me about 250’ of air dried cherry lumber he had cut from trees on his property. The corner cherry desk I have posted is made from the lumber.

-- Patch2020, Tennessee

2 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


2739 posts in 2396 days

#1 posted 01-16-2015 05:12 PM

Nice cabinet, great story. I’m curious about the “roofing tar & mineral spirits” stain. Seems that the tar wouldn’t harden. WWhat’s the recipe?

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Patch2020's profile


97 posts in 1447 days

#2 posted 01-16-2015 07:48 PM

There is no set mix. Air temperature and humidity play a part in how it mixes. We would start mixing the two together and get it to where it was thin but not quite thin enough to use and seal it in a bucket and let it set overnight. Then the next day thin it on down to a usable consistency and color. The lighter you go with it the quicker and easier it is to use. When you try to get really dark with it, it doesn’t thin enough and will dry blotchy and thick. To be honest with the stains available today and for their prices I only pull that trick on something like this where I want to be as true to the methods as I can.

-- Patch2020, Tennessee

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