Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eames Shell Chair by Herman Miller Restoration (work in progress)

Every Spring I partake in a furniture rehab project of one kind or another. Last year I made myself a coffee table sized for gaming with a couple matching side tables, and the year before I made a new kitchen table to match some stools I had purchased.

This year the project is a restoration of an Eames Fiberglass Shell Chair.

From Eames Shell Chair by Herman Miller Restoration - Day 1

Why this chair? Three reasons.

1. I love the designer.

As a fan of Mid Century Modern design, I have started a collection of a few pieces I have found for a good deal. A few Emeco Navy Chairs, a decent Wassily knockoff, and an LC2 repro were the start but I wanted an Eames in my living room. But I don't have the cash for a 670 lounge chair.

2. I love restoring things on the brink of trash-able.

Along with my love for MCM design I also restore old electronics, vintage video game systems, toys, and synthesizers. I love making the decrepit desirable again.

3. I hear that fiberglass is a bitch to work with.

You may wonder why this is listed as a plus. I try to take on new projects often, ones that go beyond what I possess in my daily skill set. And while I have heard horror stories of working with fiberglass, I have someone to back me up, my father.

My father has spent the past 40 years of his like working on cars. He started out doing small engine work on motorcycles, before moving on to cars. It was at a job he held in his twenties at a Chevrolet dealer that he made an interesting discovery, fiberglass didn't make him itch. This was advantageous for his boss, since every corvette made had fiberglass body panels. My father spent the next few years working on every Corvette that rolled through that shop.

So while most people are very cautious about getting involved with fiberglass, I was eager to jump in since I had a pile of "son points" racked up for the past few years of tech support. With him in my corner...

It was time to find a chair.

I had very little to budget on this project, I could have gone out and bought a knockoff but that wasn't the point, the point was the project. I scoured craigslist for a few months until I found what I was looking for. A chair being sold as a package with a few work lights, I figured I could sell the work lights to offset my costs if I had to throw everything away, he was asking $100, I took him down to $60, got a ZipCar to drive from Harvard Square to Worcester and picked up the ugliest chair ever.

It was dirty, smelled awful, looked worse, and the base was basically unusable, it was exactly what I was looking for. The chair originally was upholstered and the previous owner was going to reupholster it, which never happened, but at least most of the foam was off of it, which was great since the remaining foam smelled like rusted death. I was told that I would have to at least wash it off before it came into the house, which was reasonable. After the scrubbing it didn't seem quite as frightening.

I started collecting supplies, sandpaper and solvents, razorblades and Penetrol. After some convincing by my father, steering me away from a power sander, I decided to do all of the sanding by hand for better control over color of the fiberglass and shape of the contours. The first day I focused on the back of the chair, I figured if I made any mistake along the learning curve I would rather them be there. There was also some very deep staining on the back that I figured would give me a good litmus test of how working on the front would be. Four hours of sanding later...

The rear was clean, that was exciting, but the front was much worse and would obviously take much more time. While working on the rear it also became painfully obvious that I was going to need a lower grit sandpaper, so after another trip to the hardware store was in order. After a dozen ibuprofen and a few days rest for my previously throbbing shoulder was ready for some more. Another five hours brought us here...

I burned through the 150 paper pretty quickly, and while it didn't quite take out everything I was hoping it was going to, it was very clear that I was on the right road and that there was an end in sight. The next thing to do was to even out the coloring and remove the rest of the stains with some 220 grit paper.

More about that soon enough...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

C64 CynthCart Filter Pedal - The Dunlop Cry-Baby Pong Controller

C64 CynthCart Filter Pedal - The Dunlop Cry-Baby Pong Controller from LifeInABox Productions on Vimeo

So this was the finished Keytar mod I had started oh so many months ago and never got around to finishing. So here's the basics:

1. Obligatory Power Light Mod
2. Keyboard Overlay - Bolted on and reinforced with huge washers to reduce stress on the plastic.
3. Guitar... erm... Keytar! Strap... Thingies, what are those called? Also reinforced.
4. Replaced original 6581 with 6581R3.
5. Made a custom heavy duty 5 pin din to gold plated 1/4 cable for plugging into mixers or amps.
6. Also Obligatory MATTE BLACK Paint job (I can hear them swoon!)

And The Other(not so)Basics:
1. Tear everything out of a broken Wah pedal except the pot and gears
2. Drill out the hole for the 1/4 jack to fit in a DB9 port.
3. Wire it up according to
4. Hook it up. It's Good! It's really that easy, if you happen to have a wah pedal housing sitting around.
Foot Controlled Pong Paddle OR Cynthcart Wah Pedal
Cynthcart Keytar Rig
See you next time.

GlitchDS to Roland TR-606 Sync Using Nintendo DS Trigger Mod

I had wanted to do this mod for a while and hadn't gotten around to it. GlitchDS has a "Strum" mode, and while I may not have the best touch screen strumming rhythm skills, you can just push the RIGHT ARROW key to do the same thing. So I wanted to make a way to electronically "Push" the right arrow button in rhythm. I have seen products like the midify system and what not but didn't really want to spend $40 on a kit I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the time on, and only needed 1/12 of its capabilities. This mod is SIMPLE it is just an 1/8 inch cable hooked up to the GROUND in the DS and the RIGHT ARROW button. Less than $5. I did have to use a ground loop interrupter, however. I am a tinkerer, not an engineer.

GlitchDS to Roland TR-606 Sync Using Nintendo DS Trigger Mod from LifeInABox Productions on Vimeo

Sorry for the sound and video quality, couldn't find the power supply for the good camera.

PS: I am not liable for ANY damage you do to ANYTHING while attempting to do this mod. In fact, don't do this mod. At all. Really.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Remco Sound FX - 1979 SN76477 Based Synthesizer - UPDATE

Because of emails received I have decided to list this item on ebay.


I received this from a courier friend who found it covered in dirt and dust. I had no idea what it was until I got home and fixed the battery compartment. Once I got it turned on I decided I had to restore it. There was only one original knob, which was damaged, and there was dirt everywhere. I took it apart to clean it and rebuild it. Once the project was complete it stood proudly on the shelf, however remained unused, due to this I have decided to part with it. Who will appreciate the sound as well as the unmistakable aesthetic value of this item?







Why this is here...

Hi. Welcome to Stuff In My Room. I am kBud and I have set up this blog as a personal catalog of the things I either own or have previously owned. I have recently decided to sell off many items in my collection. As any collector can tell you, it is difficult to part with your favorites because of the stories they hold. This is where their stories will live.

Every post created is a tribute to the item, and to the hands it touched before mine.