A Delivery from Norman’s Kill Dairy (Part Two)

If by chance you followed my previous blog post … I acquired a vintage milk crate from the old Norman’s Kill Dairy, a historic Albany creamery.  Rather than just keep an old milk crate around – even though old retro wooden milk crates are kinda cool – I took some of the oak slats out of the crate, with plans to re-purpose them into a new artwork.  In the previous post, I removed the slats from their metal reinforced milk crate ribs, and I palm-sanded the front of each slat to expose the wooden interior.

Now for the fun part.

I need some more wood.  And by “need some more wood,” I have to apply the slats to some sort of wooden substrate backing.  Ergo … a trip to Silver Fox Salvage.

Silver Fox Salvage in Albany’s Warehouse District is a great place for vintage furniture and hardware.  Plus, I’ve found several window frames at Silver Fox that eventually became “Dream Window” projects.  For new readers to my blog, “Dream Windows” are old Queen Anne and Tudor and transom windows for which I take out the old, busted, stinky glass, and replace the panes with beautiful stained glass and Chuck Miller artwork.

Interesting little project you got there, man… hurry up and turn it into a litter box, I gotta make number two already…

The employees at Silver Fox kindly trimmed me a 12″ x 10.5″ slab of scrap wood.  And although they were more than happy to offer it to me at no charge, I purchased something else at the salvage hard – something that will be part of a future project.  Trust me, Jamie and Camille and the rest of the crew at Silver Fox do a great job, and I appreciate all their kindness and hard work.  I don’t want anybody accusing me of getting free stuff just because I have a blog.

Plus, Silver Fox Salvage has the most mellow grey cat that walks around the salvage yard as if he’s master of all he surveys.  And he gave me the “cool cat” seal of approval when he saw my wooden slats.

Then came a trip to Curtis Lumber for supplies – wood stain, shellac, paint brushes, rags, clamps, bolts, nuts, everything I need short of a guy named Curtis who knows his lumber.

Once I got the planks and supplies home, I went to work.

First, I stained the substrate board a deep black.  Even though I’m gluing the wooden slats TO the board, there are plenty of visible openings between the slats, and I don’t want people seeing the bare wall or hanging wire behind the artwork.

I then used painter’s tape to mask off sections of the wooden slats, and applied some of the black stain to the planks’ edges and sides.

My theory was that if I use the painter’s tape, it will keep the stain from spreading too far into the main slats … and it should give a nice two-tone aesthetic to the finished project.

Fifteen minutes after applying the black stain, I wiped the remnants of the stain off with one of the rags.  I then carefully removed the painter’s tape to check my work.

Looks like I did okay.  I’ll let this rest overnight, give the stain a chance to penetrate the wood grain.

Oh, and a correction and clarification from the first post.  One of my blog readers, who’s not from around the Capital District, asked if the name of the creamery – Norman’s Kill Dairy – meant that the cows were killed after milking.  I responded back by saying that “kill” is the equivalent of land or location in Dutch.  I was incorrect.  A Dutch “kill” is a body of water, like a stream or a creek.  And since the Dutch were the first Europeans to truly settle in New York, it explains the proliferation of Dutch locations in our area – Krumkill Road, Normanskill Creek, downstate in Fishkill…  Then again, now that this blog has moved to a worldwide portal, I have to remember that not everybody who reads these posts actually resides in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy area.

Meanwhile, as I progress on this project … little by little, step by step … there’s a part of me that realizes how far I’ve come in life.  That I’m working with materials that, maybe a couple of years ago, would have scared the life out of me for even trying or contemplating.  And with every art project I undertake … little by little, step by step … the confidence and creativity percolates forward.  It’s almost as if I can see the finished result in the tiniest recesses of my imagination, and slowly but surely those imaginative results are bursting forward.

And some people may say, “Geez, Chuck, it’s just a milk crate, you’re not building fallingwater or something.”  To which I say, “It may not be fallingwater, but even Frank Lloyd Wright must have started his creations with imaginative doodles and experiments … right?  Or maybe … Wright?”

The project continues.  I can see the final results.

And if I do this correctly … you will as well.  Trust me on this.