4/26/2012

On Chairs and Reading

I will write while I can. The disadvantage of writing a blog is that when there are technological glitches the blog doesn't get written. Our internet service has been intermittent at best for the last week. Discussions with our service provider leads me to fear there is probably an issue at our end of things instead of theirs, which I don't want to hear. At any rate I am "up and running" for the moment.

I took pictures of my reconditioned teak chair as promised. Whenever I thought to take pictures it'd either been raining or having just rained. So any really dark parts of the chair are still from dampness. It doesn't look hugely different except the green is gone.

             

As for following my methods I will say proceed with caution. First of all, the OxiClean method didn't result in a nicely weathered gray chair, like using dish detergent alone usually does. Instead it stripped a lot of the gray away. Maybe I should try it on my hair! I'm confident the gray will return but for now it's looking somewhere in between brown and gray. Secondly, DO NOT USE A WIRE BRUSH! The softness of the aging wood resulted in there being obvious grooves left by the rough scrubbing I gave it. I would certainly feel worse if the chair were newer, but as it is probably 20 years old I'm not too concerned. I do have a fear that it's "roughened" condition might make it even more susceptible to deterioration and lichen growth. Given all that, the chair is still usable and looks nice from a distance, sitting as it does in the corner by the garden. And thirdly, with a bit of a red face, I am thinking that the chair may actually be mahogany instead of teak. I recall that the company offered both, with mahogany being the more economical choice which we probably bought at the time.


We also own a teak garden bench that has resided in shelter on our enclosed back porch for all it's life, even longer than the adirondack chair. I do know this is teak for sure. Both were purchased from the same company, Wood Classics Inc., a mail order kit company. They are now operating under the Arthur Lauer brand and still offer kits. Just before Easter, in my attempt to make the house company ready and make room for all my outdoor and porch furniture (rattan sectional, wicker chairs, new Ikea Storsele chairs) I decided to put the teak bench outdoors for the first time ever. It's amazing how quickly the teak is fading from it's original reddish color. By summer's end I expect it will be gray. In one sense I was sort of sad to put it outside. In another I was happy to see it off the porch. It's never been a comfortable thing to sit on for any length of time, even with a cushion. Now I have the Ikea Storsele chairs in its place on the porch and have created a nice spot to sit with my coffee on early summer mornings. I'm hoping for a few weeks of enjoyment out there before the weather turns hot anyway. The porch faces east and by mid summer is too hot in the mornings, but makes for a nice evening porch. We also have a bigger west facing porch which is nice in the mornings then. We love having Sunday morning breakfasts there.


I had a chunk of black walnut from a tree we had cut down that I put next to one of the chairs. The driftwood is a piece I picked up on my last trip to Lake Superior. It's becoming one of my favorite corners in our house to relax with a book too.

Speaking of books I currently have two I'm working through. I have an "upstairs book" that I read in bed every evening and my "downstairs book" that I like to keep handy for when I have little snippets of time. For downstairs reading I like something that has short chapters or sections that I can read quickly when taking a short break or while eating breakfast and lunch. Currently my upstairs book is Anna Karenina which I'm enjoying immensely. My downstairs book is Steinbeck: A Life in Letters, a compilation of 600 letters written by John Steinbeck throughout his life. He was a prolific letter writer, usually starting his day writing letters as a warm up to his work of writing. It was interesting to learn he was a man not comfortable with using words for conversation, either face to face or via phone. It's also been fascinating to discover what life was like for a young and struggling author who eventually became so important to American Literature. I'll definitely be adding a Steinbeck novel to my upstairs reading list next.

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