Blog

Interview with the author of the Rzuć Pan Okiem blog
Interview with the author of the Rzuć Pan Okiem blog

Wooden furniture restoration – interview with the author of the Rzuć Pan Okiem blog (Have a Glance in literal translation).

Having a meeting with Paweł Machomet (the author of the Rzuć Pan Okiem blog) at Concordia is a pretext for talking about wood and the revival of its… fame! How does it behave, what does it communicate and how to listen in order to save the stories encrypted in it? Let’s talk! 

Your scope of interest, i.e. furniture restoration is quite popular. It combines two significant trends: the interest in craftsmanship and do-it-yourself, as well as the need to go back to nature (wood). What are your reflections and observations in this matter? 

Paweł Machomet: I would add promoting the restoration of damaged, yet excellently designed items. I observed that more and more people resign from buying laminated chipboard furniture in a chain store and look for original items with a story. The requirement of investing time and money in their restoration wins over the comfort of use, availability and low price provided for by mass-production. During my workshops, I present the basics of disassembling, cleaning and finishing wooden furniture. These are the basic skills that can subsequently facilitate the development of one’s interest in the subject. The workshop graduate knows what to look for, what to do and what not to do. The interest in such events is enormous. I am glad that we are more and more eager to restore instead of throwing out and buying the new to be soon thrown out…

Does the awareness grow together with interest? What do we know about wood and wooden furniture restoration? Or, actually, what should we know, before buying a piece of wooden furniture?

I think that you can learn a lot about wood for instance from the Internet. Therefore, the level of one’s expertise depends on the willingness and time they plan to devote to learning. I am going to specify what to pay attention to when looking for old wooden curiosities. I can unveil the secret a bit: smell the furniture, especially the chest-type items. Why? They sometimes have the odour of mould so intense that even once renovated they cannot be used. It is also worth noting that even the most beautiful piece of furniture cannot be saved if penetrated by wood eaters. It is often indispensable to replace the devoured parts by new ones. That notwithstanding, if a beautiful Thonet with well-preserved coats catches our eye, we may believe that the deeper layers of wood are also in a good shape. It is crucial to know whether a piece of furniture to be restored stood on a wet surface (perhaps someone kept it in a damp shelter, an arbour or on a balcony). Wooden fibres absorb water. During my workshops, I am a frequent witness of moisture-caused discolouration on armchair or chair legs, which cannot be removed. This can significantly destroy the post-restoration vision in beginners.

And you – why are you attracted to wood? ;)

I think it is an outstanding material that lives and undergoes ongoing changes. My house is surrounded by a forest where I can always go for a walk. On summer evenings the scent of the forest is smelled everywhere, as the heated soil evaporates. I frequently say and emphasize the fact that I like wood that is slightly worn away, with patina and imperfections. I love old items, and wood keeps memories. Did you know that even the turntable I use to listen to my vinyl records is veneered with walnut? I recently bid on a nineteenth-century eclectic, walnut bed online. I only had to replace the bottom frame. It is exquisite. I also brought a piece of massive entrance doors of a tenement house from a workshop. I learned by pure chance that one of the restaurants in the city was selling out its furniture and decorations. I found it and saw this piece fixed to a wall. I cannot imagine the force that had to act on the doors to break them, but the piece I have is beautiful. There is still a whole lot of exquisite craft in this old, dusted piece of wood. I often look at it, admiring details, proportions and joints.

What is your story related to wood restoration?

One day, I decided to renovate a small beech table I had had forever. I was possibly thirteen at that time. I took the sandpaper and scrubbed for several days. I was delighted to discover pure wood under the thick layer of paint, whom I could give a new appearance. I remember that I took some varnish stain and painted the whole thing. Following that, there was a chair, another table, things went on. Based on my experience, I realised that we can do a lot with the furniture that someone else wrote off, having access to current tools and chemical substances. Importantly, we should listen to wood, i.e. observe it to verify whether there is something to hide or, on the contrary, to determine that its well-preserved surface can be exposed. We should not exaggerate and try to change the character of the item, as the changes might not be for the best. Sometimes post-bark beetles holes left as they are (but with a proper preparation applied!) look better than when ruthlessly filled with putty. In my opinion. 

Can you shed some light on what you have prepared for your April visit to Concordia?

We are starting with a lecture on April 7th already. I will try to share as much practical advice and basic information as possible, with the amateurs of old curiosities. We are going to go together through every stage of works needed while renovating a piece of furniture. As a self-learner, I am going to share some tricks related to e.g. removing undesired odours or cleaning the furniture with no electricity needed. I am going to answer any question after the lecture, even if not referring to its content. In short, everyone who tries their forces in renovation and faces a problem can count on my tips!
The workshops are held on Saturday and Sunday and have a unique character, as they are dedicated to wood. As many as two full days are devoted to wood, which makes me able to show the Participants much more than during workshops which also touch upon upholstery. We will for sure disassemble some constructions, talk about historic woodworking knots, remove old coats by means of hand scrapers, try to make and put on veneer and make up for some defects. Due to the support from the Altax and Autentico companies, we will be also able to try finishing with chalk paints made according to an eighteen-century recipe, oiling and varnishing without much change in the natural wood colour. Can’t wait!

The incoming event: September 9th-10th, 2017. Welcome!

 

Wooden furniture restoration – interview with the author of the Rzuć Pan Okiem blog (Have a Glance in literal translation).

Having a meeting with Paweł Machomet (the author of the Rzuć Pan Okiem blog) at Concordia is a pretext for talking about wood and the revival of its… fame! How does it behave, what does it communicate and how to listen in order to save the stories encrypted in it? Let’s talk! 

Your scope of interest, i.e. furniture restoration is quite popular. It combines two significant trends: the interest in craftsmanship and do-it-yourself, as well as the need to go back to nature (wood). What are your reflections and observations in this matter? 

Paweł Machomet: I would add promoting the restoration of damaged, yet excellently designed items. I observed that more and more people resign from buying laminated chipboard furniture in a chain store and look for original items with a story. The requirement of investing time and money in their restoration wins over the comfort of use, availability and low price provided for by mass-production. During my workshops, I present the basics of disassembling, cleaning and finishing wooden furniture. These are the basic skills that can subsequently facilitate the development of one’s interest in the subject. The workshop graduate knows what to look for, what to do and what not to do. The interest in such events is enormous. I am glad that we are more and more eager to restore instead of throwing out and buying the new to be soon thrown out…

Does the awareness grow together with interest? What do we know about wood and wooden furniture restoration? Or, actually, what should we know, before buying a piece of wooden furniture?

I think that you can learn a lot about wood for instance from the Internet. Therefore, the level of one’s expertise depends on the willingness and time they plan to devote to learning. I am going to specify what to pay attention to when looking for old wooden curiosities. I can unveil the secret a bit: smell the furniture, especially the chest-type items. Why? They sometimes have the odour of mould so intense that even once renovated they cannot be used. It is also worth noting that even the most beautiful piece of furniture cannot be saved if penetrated by wood eaters. It is often indispensable to replace the devoured parts by new ones. That notwithstanding, if a beautiful Thonet with well-preserved coats catches our eye, we may believe that the deeper layers of wood are also in a good shape. It is crucial to know whether a piece of furniture to be restored stood on a wet surface (perhaps someone kept it in a damp shelter, an arbour or on a balcony). Wooden fibres absorb water. During my workshops, I am a frequent witness of moisture-caused discolouration on armchair or chair legs, which cannot be removed. This can significantly destroy the post-restoration vision in beginners.

And you – why are you attracted to wood? ;)

I think it is an outstanding material that lives and undergoes ongoing changes. My house is surrounded by a forest where I can always go for a walk. On summer evenings the scent of the forest is smelled everywhere, as the heated soil evaporates. I frequently say and emphasize the fact that I like wood that is slightly worn away, with patina and imperfections. I love old items, and wood keeps memories. Did you know that even the turntable I use to listen to my vinyl records is veneered with walnut? I recently bid on a nineteenth-century eclectic, walnut bed online. I only had to replace the bottom frame. It is exquisite. I also brought a piece of massive entrance doors of a tenement house from a workshop. I learned by pure chance that one of the restaurants in the city was selling out its furniture and decorations. I found it and saw this piece fixed to a wall. I cannot imagine the force that had to act on the doors to break them, but the piece I have is beautiful. There is still a whole lot of exquisite craft in this old, dusted piece of wood. I often look at it, admiring details, proportions and joints.

What is your story related to wood restoration?

One day, I decided to renovate a small beech table I had had forever. I was possibly thirteen at that time. I took the sandpaper and scrubbed for several days. I was delighted to discover pure wood under the thick layer of paint, whom I could give a new appearance. I remember that I took some varnish stain and painted the whole thing. Following that, there was a chair, another table, things went on. Based on my experience, I realised that we can do a lot with the furniture that someone else wrote off, having access to current tools and chemical substances. Importantly, we should listen to wood, i.e. observe it to verify whether there is something to hide or, on the contrary, to determine that its well-preserved surface can be exposed. We should not exaggerate and try to change the character of the item, as the changes might not be for the best. Sometimes post-bark beetles holes left as they are (but with a proper preparation applied!) look better than when ruthlessly filled with putty. In my opinion. 

Can you shed some light on what you have prepared for your April visit to Concordia?

We are starting with a lecture on April 7th already. I will try to share as much practical advice and basic information as possible, with the amateurs of old curiosities. We are going to go together through every stage of works needed while renovating a piece of furniture. As a self-learner, I am going to share some tricks related to e.g. removing undesired odours or cleaning the furniture with no electricity needed. I am going to answer any question after the lecture, even if not referring to its content. In short, everyone who tries their forces in renovation and faces a problem can count on my tips!
The workshops are held on Saturday and Sunday and have a unique character, as they are dedicated to wood. As many as two full days are devoted to wood, which makes me able to show the Participants much more than during workshops which also touch upon upholstery. We will for sure disassemble some constructions, talk about historic woodworking knots, remove old coats by means of hand scrapers, try to make and put on veneer and make up for some defects. Due to the support from the Altax and Autentico companies, we will be also able to try finishing with chalk paints made according to an eighteen-century recipe, oiling and varnishing without much change in the natural wood colour. Can’t wait!

The incoming event: September 9th-10th, 2017. Welcome!