Tuesday, May 27, 2014

GOODWILL: Not what it used to be, BUT!....

Hopefully not the case in your town, but the GW's around here have gotten a little big for their britches. Seems someone in the control-room has discovered the world-wide-interweb.

Not breaking news, I know. The primary purpose for this post is simply to lift the collective thrifter-spirit by showing you the magnitude of mistakes that are still being made IN OUR FAVOR at Goodwilliam. Check it out.

One pristine, black and chrome Eames DCM chair by Henry Miller. Waiting just for me. For $9.97. That's a big swing-and-a-miss for Goodwill (thanks bro...got any more?). I've lovingly named this little guy Blackie. I like to name my furniture.

Pictured below, Blackie is trying to talk his new roomie into wearing both his cushions for this photo. Big-K (the green Kroehler sleeper sofa) is a bit of a rebel most of the time.

I don't even think Blackie ever saw any actual real world butt-time. In addition to his overall immaculate condition, he was still wearing clear protective plastic covering on his chrome base as well as both painted seating surfaces(!).  

Shock mounts and screws all brand new.

Bottom line...I'll still be leaving time for semi-regular TML's at Goodwilliam. Who knows, I may happen upon the rest of Blackie's family. One can dream.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

First Date with Laurel

I remember it like it was last September. My first day in a strange land, unfamiliar with the territory. Google maps indicated 2 specific locations within a 4 mile radius that offered hope. The possibility of connecting with a like-minded soul.

Shortly after venturing out, I found myself at location #1...the Salvation Army Store of North Myrtle Beach. Yes, Myrtle Beach was the 'strange land'...and yes, this WAS last September. Anyway, allow me to continue.

My TSR (thrift-store-regimen) has been honed to the following basic behavioral pattern:

1) Enter the store. This is an absolute must...ALWAYS do this first!

2) My eyes immediately shift to wherever the lamps happen to be, scanning their silhouettes as a tourist would gaze upon a cityscape at night. I'm looking for the strange, the unusual, the teak, the Fiberglas, the tension-pole, etc.

3) The eyes then swing to the furniture, typically adjacent to my beloved 'lamp-section'.

4) Smallsville...anything-goes-time...I'm now picking up the pace, lapping the store with increased focus looking for rejected valuables of all kinds. You know what I mean. Maybe they're of monetary value, and maybe they are just so funky, funny, cool, and cheap that I can't leave them behind. Fun.

Even though I had no idea at the time, this was to be a good day.

Within 30 seconds of entering the store, I saw her waiting for me. She was quite homely. But there was just something about her...the right shapes, in the right places. Unusual looking at first, yet I could not stop looking at her.

After getting up my nerve, I made the decision. The decision to go ahead and buy her. How could I go wrong at $2.59?

Oh, I forgot to mention...her name was Laurel, and she was a table lamp. With her original shade.

You can probably see what drew me to this one - the overall shape of the solid cast brass base, and the pristine original lamp shade. At this point, I'd never even heard of a Laurel lamp...but at $2.59 I was positive I'd be kicking myself if I didn't grab it and enjoy it while researching it. I also relish the challenge of restoring and repairing. All this old gal needed was new walnut veneer inlay panels on all 4 sides. Couldn't wait to try that for the first time!

Here are the obligatory Before, During, and After photos of the veneer repair:

A few very good things came my way as a result of the chance encounter with my little Laurel. 

Through research on this lamp I learned quite a bit of valuable info on the the Laurel company, including the fact that their products are very sought after and that they often used fine solid woods such as pecan, teak, birch, and walnut combined with sold cast brass. While on this subject I was also introduced to the safest and best brass polishing techniques, as well as a reliable and ultra simple method of testing whether a piece is solid brass or is merely brass plate (the magnet test).
Additionally, I learned that no appropriate adhesive exists that will adequately attach real wood veneer directly to a brass surface. There MUST be a thin substrate of some kind that is is glued to the brass, then the veneer can be attached to the substrate. Interesting!

Well, I've bored you long enough. Please enjoy these last shots of my finished Laurel (wish I had a matched pair!), and always feel free to let me know what you think. 

One more time... I only paid $2.59 for this sweetie!! I love you Laurel. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tanks a lot Goodwill ($16 for a Shaw-Walker Tanker?...um, yeah)

Just curious...how similar is your reaction to mine when hearing the words *GOOD*WILL. Mine?...exactly like my dog's when she hears the word SQUIRREL! The head swinging left to right with that 'where, where, where' look in the eye.

But now for my defense. Because of the crazy good, slam dunk bargains I've stumbled on in many of these modest establishments, I associate those two words (*GOOD and *WILL) with discarded, unclaimed, and unrecognized treasure. In my opinion, if you're passing a Goodwill, always make time for a TML (ten-minute-lap). 

Check out what I found waiting for me on a TML last week at one of the GW's near me (pictures below). Hard to believe, but this little guy had been sitting in full view for 3 days! A beautiful Shaw-Walker tanker desk with rubberized top surface, polished stainless steel corner-caps and drawer pulls, and flawless gunmetal gray paint. For the whopping sum of $15.97. A true out of body experience.

How was I going to get it home? I don't know...I'll figure that out later.
Where am I going to put it? I don't know...I'll figure that out later.
Don't bother me with details...this was a no-brainer!

Enjoy the following photos:

Gotta go - think I heard somebody say Goodwill...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Eye in the Sky...(Chrome Orb Floor Lamp, Gino Sarfatti)

   Never underestimate what treasure may be waiting when you're out trolling. Do NOT prejudge that rundown thrift store and talk yourself out of making a quick reconnaissance lap. I know it can be tempting to just skip it, but here tangible evidence of why the TML (ten minute lap) is often time well spent.
   I embark on one of my reluctant journeys into the local Habitat ReStore, pulling the front door open I'm asking myself "isn't there something better you could be doing right now?".
   Immediately, the reason for today's visit becomes clear...suddenly our eyes meet. Actually, she only had one eye - but they still met.
   Most of you know this feeling. You see 'something' that you're sure is 'something', but other than the gut-feeling, you don't have a clue what kind of 'something' it is. Fortunately for me in this instance, the risk was a no-brainer. I happily paid the sum of $4.00, and took my chances. Online research here I come (among my favorite aspects of this hobby/obsession).
   RESULT: An dusty, dirty, yet unmolested example of a 1961 marble base, chrome orb shade Italian floor lamp. My research confirmed the designer as Gino Sarfatti, made by the renowned and respected Arredoluce Italian lamp manufacturer. Granted, the single orb-shaded version is not as valuable as the triple-orb, or better yet...the 'Triennale' with 3 articulating adjustment arms, each sporting a colorful conical metal shade.
   I'm calling this one a score because of its 'good condition' current retail value of $300-700 dollars once cleaned up and fully functional. One or two of these per day would work for me.
 Notice the pink $4 price sticker on the still very dirty chrome shade (above)...
 Both adjustment knobs in place...and even the black screw-on plastic top cap was there...
 The pile of disassembled parts, ready for clean-up...I'm drooling at this point.
 Dust and dirt actually seemed to preserve the high quality chrome...

 She cleaned up great. Sold very quickly, but I wish I would've hung on to this one.
She cleaned up real good.

  In retrospect, this episode is probably the one that really set the hook in my mouth regarding the serious potential that thrifting-for-profit can offer. These valuables however will not merely jump in your lap...you need to always be looking and learning, education yourself every chance you get on those 'never before seen' items.