Over a year ago, I took a quick weekend trip up to Nashville to help a friend get unpacked. On my way back home I spotted a retro dinette set on the side of the road and dang near wrecked my car making a u-turn. I was certain that something so awesome would cost more than I wanted to spend but ran inside to ask the price anyway. I had a girlfriend with me and she was all “Don’t you already have a kitchen table and chairs?”
I claimed I was going to clean it up, reupholster, and sell it, which I partly believed. But deep inside I knew that if I could get my hands on something like this, I would never be able to let it go. If you saw the vintage retro diner sign I made for our kitchen, you know that a vintage retro kitchen is my dream.
I asked the dude inside how much the set was; “You want the price before I clean it up … or the price it’ll be after it’s clean?”
I’m no stranger to dirty and don’t mind a little cleaning so I told him to give me the price ‘as is’.
I wanted to tell him he was crazy for selling something that amazing for such a low price, even if it did look like hell. Instead, I kept my poker face on, forked over the money and then causally asked if he would thrown in a pair of lamps he had on display. He did. I felt like I was in the friggin’ twilight zone. I mean, I’ve never seen that show but I was certain that what was happening was not normal. I looked at my girlfriend, gave her the holy-schnikes-bulge-eye look, crammed it all in the car with our luggage and high tailed it back to Atlanta.
Aside from being super dirty, it’s got a couple flaws. One of the little wings is missing the white laminate and a few of the little feet were missing from the chairs. But the table top is almost flawless. From different angles, the table looks like it bows in in the middle, but I’ve checked it several times and its just a trick of the eye (trompe l’oeil for you art majors out there). With the leaf in, it looks much better. Yes, it even came with a friggin’ leaf!
For those of you wondering, this piece was made by Brody Seating.
The first obstacle I decided to tackle was the severe rusting of the chrome.
Turns out, removing rust from chrome isn’t super hard. There’s a super easy, super cheap and best of all, chemical free way to handle this.
Wet aluminum foil.
Watch carefully, this one’s tough.
Get some foil.
Crumple it into a ball and run it under cold water.
Now get to scrubbin’.
If your rust situation is pretty serious, you may be tempted to use steel wool; don’t do that. Rust is oxidized metal, or metal that has extra oxygen atoms. The aluminum has the power to take away those oxygen atoms, breaking down the rust, leaving you a nice shiny chrome surface. Using steel wool may remove the rust but it doesn’t have the same properties as the aluminum foil. Steel wool will also create tiny little scratches and gouges in the chrome so, while it may remove the rust, it will leave you with a not so shiny surface with lots of scratch marks in it. No bueno.
Check this out, here are the table legs before:
Here they are after:
The next time you come across a fabulous thrift score that’s a little rusty, don’t pass it up! Take the foil offa your leftovers and get after it!
Stay tuned for the solution to this hot mess: