Wednesday, April 9, 2014

green man

I am that person at estate sales with the maniacal grin clutching things she spent an hour digging out of the corners of the basement no one else wanted to go.  I find impossibly cool things.  Sometimes, they look like useless, broken things - and in order to retain my buying privileges I have to prove they're not.

Enter this broken pressed oak chair back,  I think I paid 50 cents.  I convinced myself that if nothing else I could make a picture frame out of it, which would have worked fine, but I came up with a better idea.  In an effort to continue my reign of terror over my houseplants, and to make up for the devouring of the big staghorn we brought with us from Miami, this project was born....

The timing was perfect, as some good friends of ours were driving up from Miami and willing to bring staghorn pups from my MIL's 6 foot diameter ball of fern (they also brought up their adorable son who gave our kitchen sink the baby bath seal of approval).  The first step I expected to be the easiest, removing the fabric and tacks.

Not so much...

This took hours.  There were multiple types of tacks on each side, and far too many of them - about 20 per square inch, and many of them were hopelessly rusted.  So this quick project spanned a few days just in tack removal.  Once that was done I scrubbed the whole frame in the sink because it was filthy.  After it was cleaned I glued and clamped the broken bits.

I then traced a piece of aluminum flashing to fit on the back where the fabric had been, and glued this on with super glue (and let me tell you, if you don't have rolls of pennies to serve as weights you're missing out)

Turning it over, I started fastening hardware cloth to the edges with an upholstery stapler, cutting to fit as I went.  When two sides were done I used a spatula to stuff moss in between the wire and the flashing.  Then I wired on the staghorn pups and finished stapling.

Only then did it occur to me to restore the finish...
just good old Howard's and their wax

Better late than never right?  Some hanging hardware, and I'm done.

The only things I would have done differently would be to clean the finish before putting on the flashing and wire, putting on the hanging hardware before the plants, and maybe painting the hardware cloth green.  But it's done now, and I have a great spot to watch this well-traveled fern die a slow and horrible death....


  1. A slow and horrible death, eh ... I can relate. :P Still, I think it'll look fantastic even with dying plants. It was/is a pretty amazing chair!

    1. Those poor orchids always look half dead, but they've lasted three years and have even bloomed - they'll perk up when it's warm enough for them to go outside. And the chair, yeah, I couldn't just let him wind up in the trash when the clean out crew came - I have a huge soft spot for green men and north wind faces...

    2. Oh, and I thought of you today!
      too bad I don't have $450 burning a hole in my pocket!

    3. He looks heavy enough that some idiot would think twice about stealing him from our driveway, doesn't he? I don't have a spare $450 either though, Just trying to figure out what we have to chop next so we don't go more than $200,000 over budget, Haha. My bad.


I am human and I need to be loved...