Converted tea cabinet

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Project by stefang posted 06-18-2009 09:18 PM 3361 views 4 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I hesitated to show this little cabinet because I realized some woodworkers might find a painted piece a little distasteful. But an understanding of the background might help.

Back in the old days in Norway many people couldn’t afford or didn’t have access to quality hardwoods. Many pieces were therefore made out of pine. Most cabinet pieces were painted and decorated to give them a more quality appearance. This cabinet is a tip of the hat to that style and tradition.

I made this cabinet and all the moldings from my own design. I also turned the brass teardrop door pull. The only thing I didn’t make was the brass hinges.

It was meant to be a tea cabinet, but we don’t drink much tea, so my wife converted it to store our large and valuable collection of pharmaceuticals.

Hope you find it a little interesting

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

27 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7285 posts in 4646 days

#1 posted 06-18-2009 09:47 PM

This is indeed interesting and I totally understand the paint thing.,., Mny years ago here in Oz a lot of timber furniture was painted.. even timber that was of good quality. Now people are stripping off the layers of paint and restoring the timber to its original glory.
Keep up the good work

-- Be safe.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2824 posts in 4881 days

#2 posted 06-18-2009 10:03 PM

I don’t see anything distasteful. It’s a very nice little piece, and actually I think I want to make something similar. I never have any material it seems, but I do have a small stash of pine that would be perfect for a little diddy like this. Thanks for the inspiration, and nice work.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4632 days

#3 posted 06-18-2009 10:24 PM

stafang :

for a guy that claims not to know anything ,
you do very nice work !
let the purists grumble .
your sense of style and quality details,
speak for themselves .
your wife put it to use , so she likes it .
should we have the cars unpainted , or the houses ?
i think it looks beautifull , and if you do ,
thats all that counts !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Elaine's profile


113 posts in 4914 days

#4 posted 06-18-2009 10:43 PM

Another beautiful and very functional piece Mike…

Correct me if I’m wrong, as I am often wont to be, But isn’t there a whole lot of Shaker furniture then and now going around getting painted, mostly pine? And I believe if you take that milk paint off to get down to the original wood, usually pine -you have ruined the value of the piece. Norwegian’s and Shaker’s -both pretty smart to be using what was at hand.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4576 days

#5 posted 06-18-2009 11:06 PM

Stafang, really like that piece. The design is great and the details you did in the finishing really adds a classic look. Nothing wrong with painted when it turns out like that! The pull itshelf adds a great touch of class. Nice job.

-- John @

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4876 days

#6 posted 06-18-2009 11:10 PM

Your cabinet is beautiful Norway men are great wood craftsmen just like you are stefang and also they make great wooden boats I bought a nice clinker dinghy when I lived on an island beautifully made and I used it evry day Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4625 days

#7 posted 06-18-2009 11:27 PM

Thanks everyone for the kind remarks. Alistair you are absolutely right about the Norwegian boat builders. There are still quite a few good ones around.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5019 days

#8 posted 06-18-2009 11:39 PM

Just my opinion, but I think painting is perfectly fine when it was intended to be that way, or when it restores a damaged (and unfixable) piece to use. I think the only time most people get upset about painting is when it hides the beauty of a piece of wood or fine craftsmanship. If it accentuates the craftsmanship, why not? I like it. What kind of paint? I’m looking to try milkpaint out soon.

View 's profile

593 posts in 5263 days

#9 posted 06-19-2009 01:58 AM

You did a great job there Stefang. And don’t you worry a bit about painting wood, after MsDebbie's heretic works we can take it all on LumberJocks! (Just kidding my sweet canuck) :oD

Painted furniture has been part of the great tradition of furniture since the dawn of ages. Milk-paint Shaker pieces, Chinese lacquered cabinets, urushi Japanese tableware, the very own Scandinavian tradition… the examples are far too many to list here.

Your cabinet looks really the part of a great heirloom and I think I speak for many silent LJ when I say that we’de love to see more of your works. Thank you for sharing them with us.

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 5230 days

#10 posted 06-19-2009 02:34 AM

Are you kidding me? I love this cabinet. It looks very authentic to the painted pieces we’ve got here in the Northeast. Well done!

-- Steven

View Junji's profile


698 posts in 4673 days

#11 posted 06-19-2009 03:11 AM

Hey, this is a great piece, and I want one too! Maybe I want to see the inside, I mean not the pharmaceuticals, but how it looks inside.

-- Junji Sugita from Japan,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22869 posts in 4967 days

#12 posted 06-19-2009 03:18 AM

I agree, you are much more talented than you allow us to believe:-)) Nice work.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View woodbutcher's profile


592 posts in 5457 days

#13 posted 06-19-2009 03:29 AM

I really like the design overall, very pleaseing to the eye. The paint was surely harder to do, or would be for me, with the two colors, than having applied an oil based finsh over the whole piece. The intricasies of the pediment,moldings and pull all exhibit the craftsmanship to a degree, that the paint becomes a necessity in my mind to tame the overall picture! I’m thinking that a lot of exposed wood with figuring would detract from this pieces other attributes by becoming to busy for this minds eye!

Ken McGinnis

-- woodbutcher north carolina

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4625 days

#14 posted 06-19-2009 10:14 AM

Well, I am surprised at the nice comments and positive reaction to this piece. There is actually a lot of painted furniture that I like, especially where paint is appropriate to cover a grain that would distract from construction details.

This piece was done in oil based paint, but I have read a bit about milk paint and have even found a recipe on the net that I can make myself. Having been born in the dairy state, I found this very appealing. You have to admire our forefathers for their ingenuity.

Once again, thanks for all your kind remarks.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22869 posts in 4967 days

#15 posted 06-19-2009 06:12 PM

Mike, I just goggled it. Looks like you need raw milk, eh? it says to separate solids from whey. I doubt if homogenized skimmed milk would work. Have you tried it?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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