Friday, July 29, 2011

Can you be too Big of a Fan??

Everyone knows that I am a huge fan of two teams.  I love the Georgia Southern Eagles and The Atlanta Braves.  My summers are spent pulling for the home team in Atlanta and when fall rolls around I'm pulling for the good old Southern boys in Blue!  I would consider myself an average fan in the fact that I wear Georgia Southern or Braves hats and shirts, I have some memorabilia from each team, I attend games and follow both teams rather closely when they are in season.  But I got to thinking about something today as I was hitting the re-fresh button on my computer for the 50th time over at  You see the baseball trade deadline is August 31st and I am trying to predict what the Braves will do in the trade market.  In fact, I have wasted a good bit of time trying to follow something that I have absolutely no control over.  The Braves front office couldn't care less who I want to see the Braves acquire via trade.  Have I become one of those obsessed fans?

The same thing can happen to fans that follow their football teams with a passion.  In Pro football, fans obsess over the draft.  They try and predict where their team will pick and who they will pick and how that particular player will impact the team.  They follow trade scenarios and can even tell you how much "cap" room their team has to bid on free agents. 

In college football it is all about the recruiting.  A rabid fan can tell you the stats of a high school Junior quarterback that his school has had an eye on since the kid was an 8th grader.  He can also tell you how one recruit would be great for his school but terrible for his rival's school.  He knows the personal bios of the entire coaching staff and has not paid his mortgage this month because he spent the money on season tickets.  This guys gets nothing done for his employer on National Signing Day.

High school football fans have even started to become wild maniacs.  Message boards full of fighting words are now the norm.  The last time I checked, high school kids were still just kids.  Are we really talking smack over kids playing a high school football game?

MLB Baseball started the "Fantasy" movement with a bunch of folks who liked baseball stats and wanted to play General Manager.  Look how much that took off.  You can now play Fantasy in almost every sport.

Fans are great for the game.  Without fans, there would be no game but I do feel like it can be taken overboard. The guy who poisoned those trees over at Auburn because he was an Alabama fan is in my opinion an idiot!  Who does stuff like that??  If Furman beats Georgia Southern this year, I'm sure that I will be a little upset, but I'm not going to hurt anyone over it.  Give me a day or so and I have already forgotten about it and am looking forward to the next game on Saturday.

So what kind of fan are you?  Are you just a fan who follows his team and pulls for them on gameday, or are you one of those rabid fans who obsess over all parts of your team's program? 

I'll be looking for your answer as soon as I get back from checking on the Braves and their trade prospects!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Finished Product- Steady Eddie's Chest!

The hardware came in today for the chest that I have been refinishing.  I'll just let the pictures tell this story!

This is the time period hardware that I picked out.  I polished them on a polishing blanket to give them a worn look that will go well with the piece.
First drawer complete!
One of the larger drawers
Just a refresher from where we started!
The finished product!

What a beautiful Antique!
I really had a good time working on this project and it was good for me to get back out in the shop and get my mind off of the banking world for a couple of hours each day.  I hope that Mr. Ed is looking down from his fishing hole in the sky and smiling at the job that I finished for him!  Somehow I know that he is very proud!

Thanks Mr. Ed for all the memories that you are still creating for me even though you are no longer here!  It sure was fun!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Waiting on Finish!

Beautiful Tiger Oak!!
Down to the bare wood now!
Nice color shades!
It is going to finish up nice!

Only thing left to do is give it a couple to three coats of finish and add the new hardware!

Thanks for following!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Making new again!

How do you go from this.....

To this...

You use a lot of these...

It occurred to me that some of you may be wondering what steps I take when I am trying to revive an old piece of furniture like this one.  It is really not that difficult, it just requires some patience and a strong desire to complete a job well done.  I'm not much on the patience part, but I have a very strong need to finish what I start and finish it well.

The first step is to try and clean the furniture the best you can by wiping away all dust and dirt.  I use a damp cloth or some form of wood cleaning agent.  Now it is time to start stripping.  I use a Citrus stripper because the fumes are not bad at all and it seems to work just as well as some of your other stronger fumed products.  Some of those guys could make you fail a drug test at work if you are not careful.  I try and start on what I think will be the easiest section to work with.  This will tell me what I am up against as far as how easy the old finish will come off (or how hard in most cases). 

I spread the stripper with a paint brush working with the grain.  This particular piece was only finished with a stain, so the stripping agent was already starting to work as I was applying it to the surface.  If you have a piece that has been painted, it may take a while for the stripper to really start eating at the paint.  After I applied the first coat and saw that it was already working, I grabbed my plastic scrapper and stared scraping the old finish off.  I then applied a light second coat and repeated the process.  The remaining finish came off with a rub of a damp cloth.

After drying it is time to start sanding.  No stripper will remove all of the old finish, so sanding is necessary to properly clean the surface and prepare the surface for a new coat of finish.  I use different sanders to complete this task including a belt sander, a mouse sander and a dremmel tool.  I start with a course paper to remove the rest of the old finish and work my way down to a fine paper to get the desired smoothness that I need.  Once all is sanded I clean the surface with mineral spirits and allow to dry.  It should look something like this...

It is now time for your final finish.  Some people will stain wood or repaint.  I like a natural oak color, so I apply polyurethane.  One coat, let dry, lightly sand with steel wool, apply next coat.  You should end up with something that looks like this...

Finished drawer ready for new hardware!
or like these...

All 4 drawers with 2 coats of finish!
This project has been kind to me so far in the fact that it has not been too difficult.  I only have one more side to strip, then the rest of the chest will get a new coat of finish applied.  It is cleaning up well and should be a beautiful piece of furniture when I finish.  I visited a local refinishing shop yesterday and the owner told me that this chest was probably made in the late 1870's to early 1920's.  He ordered me some new hardware to match that period and I can't wait to see how it is going to look.

Get out there and bring something back to life.  It is very rewarding!  Stay tuned to see how it ends up!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Steady Eddie's Chest

Mr. Ed Cox was one of my favorite people.  He passed away last year.  He lived a long and happy life and was in generally good health and spirit right up until the time that he went home to be with his Lord.  I wrote a little piece about Mr. Ed that you can read here.  I am good friends with Mr. Ed's Grandson, Kyle.  Kyle and his family have been taking on the task of cleaning out Mr. Ed's house and gathering up things that are dear to them.  Kyle told me that they found this old chest of drawers out in Mr. Ed's storage barn, and that if I wanted to try and refinish it I could.  I took the opportunity on a rainy Sunday afternoon to get started on what I think is going to be a beautiful piece.  Check out Steady Eddie's Chest!

Doesn't look like much does it?

Rear view.  The top piece and mirror are no where to be found.

You can tell that someone starting to work on the piece by the two drawers that are already stripped.  I hope it was Mr. Ed.  I kind of like knowing I am finishing what he started.

So this is what I was given.  It is in really nice shape and all of the wood looks to be in good order.  I removed the drawers and all of the hardware.  I had to do a little repair on the floor of one of the drawers, but luckily Mr. Ed left me some finishing nails that I needed in the very same drawer that needed repairing.  I was disappointed to find that someone had removed all of the locks from the drawers and filled in the keyholes with wood filler.  I am going to try and find a small brass plate or badge to cover up these places, or I may even try and find new locks.  I think it will dress the piece up a little and finish the drawers off nice.

So is this piece going to be worth the effort??  Take a look at the next two shots and you tell me!!

First two drawers with just a bit of cleaner.  These were the two that were already stripped.

All four drawers stripped, sanded, and ready for hardware and finish!
I am having fun with this piece so far.  It has been fairly easy to clean up as the old varnish is taking it easy on me and coming off nicely.  I have pictures of the finished top, but I am going to save those for the next blog post so keep watching for updates as I bring "Steady Eddie's" chest back to life!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blast From the Past!

Look out world!  Here comes three 18 year old small town South Georgia boys to do a little fishing.  I bet you can't tell which three!!  I'll give you a little hint.  Me and my two buds Blake and Allen are in the front of the boat showing off what we thought were impressive "come hither ladies" bods.  This picture was taken in June of 1991 in Panama City where the three of us were enjoying our Senior Trip after High School Graduation.

I found this picture and was reminded of our little fishing trip as I was going through some old high school stuff the other day.  My classmates and I are in the middle of planning our 20 year high school reunion and I have had quite a few laughs remembering some of the good times that I shared with some great friends.  Classmates are posting old pictures over on our class Facebook site and everyone seems to be getting into the spirit of the upcoming reunion.  One of the girls posted a picture of a bunch of them on their Senior cruise, so I thought I would offer this picture of this little afternoon cruise aboard the SW Anderson fishing charter boat!  It was part of a fleet for the Captain Anderson's restaurant.  I think we were supposed to go out and catch the "catch of the day"!  It didn't work.

The crew included myself, Allen, Blake and Lee.  We left for Panama City for a week of play and spent most of our time playing volleyball on the beach, chasing other young co-eds, drinking beer, or going to the dog tracks.  We kept seeing a plane fly over carrying one of those signs that said "Fishing Charters Available".  We had nothing else to do, so we decided to give it a shot.  Allen, Blake, and I should have stayed back on the beach with Lee, but you live and you learn.

We set sail with all of these people that you see in the picture with high hopes.  The pictures shown in the lobby of the ticket office and the restaurant promised a boatload of fish ranging from big to bigger.  None of us had ever been on a charter fishing boat before so we really didn't know what to expect.  Most of our fishing had been confined to larger farm ponds, a small lake or the river.  As we were sailing on our little journey, I noticed that the ocean provided a little more bumpy ride than the Ocmulgee River, and one of my partners had started to change colors.  Blake was not coping very well with the seas and did not do so well at all when they came by with the chum bucket full of squid that would serve as our bait for the day.  As they were dipping out a full scoop of squid and placing it on the rail next to where we would be fishing that afternoon, Blake decided that his stomach had seen enough.  He was last seen laying on the floor of the boat sucking up air conditioning in the captain's quarters.

Allen and I got ready to fish as the large boat came to rest above some structure that had been placed on the ocean floor for fishing purposes.  We were instructed to simply bait our hooks and drop our lines straight down to the bottom.  This seemed kind of like boring fishing to us, but we did what we were told and dropped our bait just waiting for the massive grouper or flounder to take our line.  Now remember that I mentioned that the seas were a little ruff.  Now imagine 30 folks standing next to each other with lines in the water.  This was not a good combination.  We spent the better part of our day catching each other.  Lines would get tangled at the drop of a hat and the only fish that were being caught were little fish not much bigger than the bait.  The captain kept telling us to keep our lines straight in front of us.  He was either very high or very stupid!  This trip was turning into a bust!

Allen had just about had enough.  This wasn't fishing.  He kept telling me that he wanted to cast his bait out further than the other lines so that he wouldn't keep getting tangled up.  The only problem with that is that we had been given strict orders from the captain not to throw our baits.  Well the day was coming to a close and it was quite obvious that this particular boat would not make the picture wall back at the landing.  Allen said the heck with it.  He baited his hook, drew back, and let it fly.  He was immediately reprimanded by the captain and told to bring his bait in.  As he was reeling he set the hook and told me he had something.  Of course I thought he was joking until I saw his line zip across the 30 other lines in the water leaving a tangled mess in it's wake.  Fish on!!!  Allen fought the mighty fish for a while as we were waiting to see what he had hung.  Was it grouper, flounder, dolphin, a shark??  The possibilities were endless.

Allen had caught the biggest fish on the boat!  We made it back to shore with our prize.  I hope no one ordered the catch of the day that night at Captain Anderson's restaurant, for Allen caught a 15 pound Bonita fish.

Something tells me they don't taste quite like grouper!!

Glory days.......!