Monday, February 23, 2009

The Wonders of Howard's Feed 'n' Wax and an Arne Norell Safari Chair

A few weeks ago I purchased an Arne Norell Safari Chair from a very peculiar eBay seller who seems to think that it's acceptable to mix the selling of designer mid century modern furniture and...gag/prank "greeting" cards with a homosexual bent. Last time I checked, eBay allowed you to have multiple seller accounts - and I wonder how many potential furniture customers these guys are driving away by mixing their (for lack of a better word).

At any rate, I purchased the Safari chair for the princely sum of $109.99, on a buy-it-now auction. Now, it's not even like the seller didn't know what they had. It was listed very clearly as an Arne Norell Safari chair, and made mention of the many examples for sale on for many thousands of dollars. S0, they knew what they had, but still only wanted a measly hundred bucks for the chair?? Well, see the kicker was that "the wood is really dried out" and "the stitching on the arms is coming loose and will need to be restitched". OK. Now, for someone who doesn't have ready, easy access to a good upholsterer, as I do, the latter problem might present an issue. A minor issue, but an issue nonetheless. The former problem, however, is decidedly a non-issue, if you know about a little product called Howard's Feed-N-Wax, sometimes affectionately referred to around here as "Magic Jazz" (available at most hardware stores for around $8 a bottle).

You see, when applied to dried out wood with some fine grade steel wool, the Magic Jazz makes crusty old thirsty wood look brand new again. I've been using the stuff for years, and even I am still sometimes shocked and amazed at what a little Feed-N-Wax can do. Now, it's certainly not a magic salve for every wood finishing problem. There are some cases when an application of Feed-N-Wax will do nothing but leave a greasy, waxy film on your furniture. However, when you know when to use it, the stuff works magic.

I wanted to film a video of me giving the pieces of my Safari chair the rubdown with the Magic Jazz - but unfortunately, I don't have a video camera. However, don't rule out the possibility of that instructional video appearing sometime in the near future! In the meantime, I did the next best thing - laid out my pieces of chair on a table, and took several "before", "during" and "after" shots of the Feed-N-Wax application. So, without further ado, may I present to you, "The Magic Jazz Meets Rosewood Sticks- A Photo Essay".

Part 1: Rosewood sticks, as found, pre-Magic Jazz application.

Part 2a: Rosewood pieces, "half and half" - pieces on the right have been waxed, pieces on the left have not. Part 2b: This one cuts to the heart of the matter! Here you can see the left side pieces waxed, the right side pieces unwaxed - and on the center piece, the top half waxed and the bottom unwaxed! Trust me, the difference in person has 10 times the impact.

Part 3: The finished product, all waxed up and ready to go!

And, finally, the application tools. A little piece of 4-ought steel wool for application and a nasty old rag to wipe it all down with. Voila! A rosewood safari chair, good as new! Well, almost - I still have to get the re-stitched arms back from my upholsterer! I'll be sure to post a picture of the completed chair as soon as I have it back!


modmikey said...

thanks for the heads up. I have a teak dinign table that sucks up water like a camel, and it's as dry as the texas drought we're going through. I hope this helps. also, I'm looking for a teak dining table with a dark stain to match these Vamo Sondoberg chairs. I guess I might need to stain a table myself, but I'm not sure what to use.

daniel john said...

Wonderful article, very well explained.

Lil and Matt said...

Hi there,
Great post. Just curious, is the disassemby and reassembly of these chairs a simple procedure?