Damn it. The more I looked at my Honeywell Farms artpiece – the reconstruction and salvage of an old milk crate into wall art – the more I grew disenchanted with the piece.
I mean, yeah, I was able to remove the fugly battleship grey paint smears while retaining the original logotype of the New York City-based dairy farm … but still …
The more I viewed the piece, the more I realized that this artwork wasn’t a winner. The paint removal left the wood blotchy – you might not see the grey paint, but you can see the lighter-shaded wood where the grey paint once resided. And no matter what coating I used – no amount of touch-ups could make the piece shine. And you can barely read the words “Honeywell Farms” through all that background color noise.
In other words, kids … the piece was just good enough.
And whether you’ve read my blog for a day or for a decade, you know I never settle for “just good enough.”
Chuck tries again.
A quick search on Etsy. There’s a nice looking blue-printed crate, it’s a little pricey, but not to the point where I would feel guilty about tearing it apart. I’ll work with it if I have to.
One purchase later, and a brand new-to-me farm crate is sitting on my front porch.
Time for some crate-bashing. The crate was held together with nails and metal stripping; I simply shoved a chisel under the metal stripping and popped the nails out. You ever get the feeling that I take out a LOT of frustration in bashing these crates?
Here’s what the side panel looks like after I’ve separated it from the frame and bathed the wood in Pine-Sol and water.
This I can work with. Yeah, there’s a couple of fade marks at the top of the artwork – right around the word “PROPERTY OF” – but it’s not as obvious and distracting as existed on the previous signage. Plus, there’s some nice divots and cut-plugs in the wood frame – look at the “m” in “Farms” and you can see one. That’s cool. That’s age and patina, baby.
All right. What to do now, what to do now.
The side edges look pitted and worn. And I’m not a fan of those nail holes.
I taped up the face of the boards, so as to protect the logo. There was still a full can of Rustoleum blue oil-based paint left over from my last project, so …
Using a natural bristle brush, I slathered blue paint on the exposed side pieces of the signage. My theory – this blue paint should match with the blue lettering. I hope.
Next morning. Sure as the sun rises, I was able to remove the painter’s tape.
Whoo damn that looks sharp. And the blue on the edges surely matches the blue in the logotype.
Next up … I gotta stain this. First I applied some pre-stain, to eliminate any blotchiness when I stain the project.
After I wiped off the excess pre-stain, I stained the wood with a light coating of Minwax Pickled Oak stain. A few moments later, I wiped off the excess stain … and I got this.
Sweet tapdancing Jesus … look at that wood grain! And mind you, this came straight off the camera phone, I didn’t punch it up or anything. No blotchiness, no runs, just the natural grain of the wood enhanced with the logo of an old New York City creamery.
I gotta add a clearcoat to this. Another Minwax product – a fast-drying polygloss satin coating, along with 24 hours of curing … some decorative screws into the sides to resemble rivets … a quick trip to the art supply store for hanging wire … and it’s now up on the wall.
You know … the more I work on a project like this, the more I want to keep building these artwork crates.
I have one more crate coming from an online seller … and it’s very possible there may be a final one after that.
So far I have three wall-art crates – Normanskill Dairy (two versions), Wayne County Apples, and Honeywell Farms.
As you can imagine … I’m really having a lot of fun with this.
Fun is a good thing. 😀