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January 2009
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Globe library card catalog refinishing assistance needed

Web2137 Knowing our extreme interest in old library card catalogs - specifically those made by Globe, the acknowledged masters of this particular furniture item - reader Gerry Comninos writes us the following from South Africa; photographs of his unit are available in our woodwork set over at Flickr:

I am busy restoring one of The Globe company’s earlier pieces of library furniture.

I have recently acquired a Globe card index file which is about 100 years old. It has a patent notice - the patent was filed by a certain gentleman with the very flamboyant name of Royal Lee Vilas in 1897.

There are library cards in the drawers indicating a date of 1908. The index cards can be “locked” by turning the knobs on the drawer front.

I intend to restore the cabinet to its former glory. As you can see the desk top is missing and the roller top has been broken. Other than that the cabinet is in perfect working order. All the drawers slide perfectly as do the card lock mechanisms even after years in our rather harsh climate!

I have searched the web for a similar piece for reference purposes but to no avail.

 I am trying to collect information regarding this cabinet and I wonder if it is at all possible to obtain (or if you could tell me where to get) the following information.

    1. Any image of the complete cabinet and the missing top so that I may replicate it faithfully.
    2. Do you perhaps have a copy of the original brochures or catalogues of this cabinet?

Does anyone have advice for Mr. Comninos? If so, please post it in the comments here!

for sale: Greenway House, Bisbee AZ - $1.25 million

Reader Scott Cahill writes to tell us that he recently visited the 1906 Greenway House in Bisbee AZ, which is currently up for sale for what seems like a good deal to someone who wants to live in that part of the country. American Bungalow recently ran a nice spread on the house, which sits on about 2.5 acres of attractively landscaped high desert. This enormous (10 bed / 13 bath) brick Craftsman "bungalow" - I use that term with some trepidation given the complexity and size of the place - has been well-maintained and is an excellent example of the style, with Western details taking the place of the Asian influence often seen in Southern California's similarly-sized "ultimate bungalows." Almost all of the original features - including Victorian stamped tin ceilings and rococo gingerbread to gorgeous custom-made stained glass, light fixtures, tilework and beautiful painted / stenciled trim - are still in place.

The original owner, Brigadier General John Campbell Greenway, was a fellow Rough Rider to Teddy Roosevelt and the latter is believed to have visited this home on several occasions. The house is handicap-accessible and includes a fully-functional 1930s Shepard Elevator to the second floor. Main house is approximately 8550 sq ft, not including: carriage house, 2500 sq ft; attic, 4000 sq ft; basement, 1000 sq ft.

restaining, bleaching or otherwise altering stained wood

Hot on the heels of my (cranky) criticism of a newspaper columnist suggesting painting wood trim comes a very good question from one of our readers. Anyone have good advice?

What would you recommend for real wood trim and doors but that are in a stain the owner hates?

I don't have a period house (it is maybe 10 yrs old) so real restoration is not an issue.  Unfortunately, however, I hate the orangy-tinted stain that is all over the house (no, I'm not the original homeowner).  I've gotten used to it over the years, but I still don't like it.

For a 2 story house, with baseboard, door trim and doors plus stairs, the idea of having it all refinished is a nightmare. I can't imagine how much it would cost, and so painting over it seems like a much more manageable and affordable solution. (esp when the doors and trim are not a nice flat surface, but instead have a lot of grooves).

For someone who can handle painting but not refinishing, please convince me! [for example, would it be more affordable to try to sell the trim/doors and start from scratch??]

Greene & Greene-inspired remodel in New Berlin, WI

3258814416_bac4a61cdb_oMaster craftsman and Greene & Greene expert Tom Gallenberg recently finished an extremely impressive remodel project for client in New Berlin, WI; take a look at all the photos in our Flickr set.

Tom writes:

Most of the woodwork was out of African Mahogany with an oxidizing treatment and an oil finish. The kitchen cabinets and trim package are an original design. The fireplace cabinets have a true divided german leaded glass door with the mullion design of the the original Thorsen House.

The client tells us a bit about the beautiful kitchen backsplash:

The backsplash is a mixture of three different shades of greenish/gold tile from North Prairie Tileworks in Minneapolis. All the tile was custom-sized to minimize cutting during installation and eliminate any visible sharp edges. The six electrical covers are made of the same tile in order to hide them as much as possible.

The color was chosen to blend with the paint coloring of the kitchen walls and the three different shades of greenish/gold paint in the adjacent great room. The three shades of gold in the great room are divided by bands of trim and the lowest portion of the wall is green. So the horizontal band of the backsplash mimics the horizontal frieze area in the great room, with the tropical green granite countertop mimicing the lower level green paint color, as well as the green tile on the fireplace (also from North Prairie) and the green Guildcraft rugs (from Northfield Carpets in Minnesota).

We chose a simple subway pattern because we wanted the backslash to be understated rather than call attention to itself. The narrow brick-like size was chosen so that the bottom row could fit effortlessly under the kitchen window trim, where we had very little space. We didn't do the narrow granite backsplash for the counter because my wife didn't like the look of it. (Enough said?)

Home Depot to Close all 34 Expo Stores

I'll shed tears for the innocent people who are losing their jobs for shareholders’ vacation homes – since it seems that big business forgot the entire point of growing a business is to employ people, and that making a profit is simply a related function. I won't, however, shed any tears for the misguided, ridiculous idea – and poor taste – that was Expo:

Home Depot Inc. announced Monday that it was closing its 34 upscale Expo and other home specialty centers and laying off 7,000 people as a result of the crumbling US housing market and worldwide economic downturn.

The company said it would close its 34 sprawling Expo Design Center stores by April, including eight in Southern California, and 14 smaller stores.

Some employees were stunned. “Shock. It was shock. It's just 7,000 of us, just gone,” said Chris Toliver, who works in the appliance section at the company's Expo store in Westwood.

“I’m young. I'm 22,” he said. “But what hurt the most is the people in their 40s or older, people with families, who are losing their jobs here. Unemployment is nowhere near enough to feed a family.”
You might also be interested in reading an informative guide on the Home Depot return policy.

Live Auctioneers has plenty of treats

Picture 1 Live Auctioneers are a gateway / aggregator to hundreds of live (and non-live) antique auctions. Among the thousands of items viewable and biddable, there are hundreds of terrific items of interest to Arts & Crafts aficionados. Here are a few of my favorites from upcoming auctions: