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. 

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