The cabinet seemed to be constructed of assorted woods, and I imagined it to be a make-do linen closet fashioned out of necessity for storage. Far from a piece of fine antique furniture, or professional cabinetry, yet it held a certain charm. But after a few years I decided it needed to be replaced with more functional shelving, but would harvest all the old wood to create surfaces for my photo projects.
The doors were nicely paneled, so I just removed the hinges. Then I carefully tore the entire cabinet apart, removing every nail as I went along. It took a few hours, but I ended up with a HUGE stack of aged wood. I don't consider much of it to be "camera ready", so I have enough projects to last me through the winter, for sure! But I did get a few tackled that I can share with you.
The back of the cabinet was created of old tongue in groove, which I cut in half and then re-assembled into a long "wall". The wood already had great patina, but I wanted to deepen it slightly. So I sanded the panel by hand (you can see how it takes the gloss down and opens the wood surface) and rubbed in a rich red stain.
The side panels of the cabinet were the longest pieces, lots of great character as seen above. I debated cutting them but decided against it as there are times a really long table surface is needed. So I used an orbital sander to clean the boards a bit, and applied a few coats of Danish dark walnut oil. It really brought out the varied tones in the old wood.
In the end, it's all about the look on camera, and the results were exactly what I was I hoping for. Old wood has a depth to it, with all the scars and discoloration from years of use and abuse. The subtleties come alive in the beautiful light, adding dimension without distraction. Here's the end result from the tongue and groove wall
Justin B Paris
And the side panels which became the table surface: