A little while ago my wife was looking for a large blackboard (The old-fashioned school type) as a presentation aid. Eventually she found the ideal one online albeit rather old and tatty looking.
I was tasked with turning this into something more presentable. Not easy given its condition.
The first area to be addressed was the easel stand, though solid, it was badly scarred in places and, over time, had lost the supporting pegs and the chalk tray. After cleaning the rust off the hinges I set about disguising the worst of the scratches (I didn’t want to strip, stain and varnish the whole thing as we were keen to retain the patina of age). Since discovering Littlefair’s range of stains for a Christmas project I have become a great fan. For this kind of restoration work nothing beats a tester set of stains to mix and match the right shade without running to the expense of buying tins and tins of different hues and wasting the vast majority of them. In this case the ideal colour turned out to be a coat of Light Oak, lightly rubbed down and followed by a watered down coat of Antique Stripped Pine.
To replace the missing parts I turned some new pegs from some dowelling.
I made a new chalk tray from a scrap piece of wood ,with a trough to hold the chalk which was a good chance for me to finesse my routing skills. Hanging straps were fashioned from some old corner brackets, bent to shape and sprayed satin black.
These replacement parts were then stained to match the easel, again using Light Oak and Antique Stripped Pine stains and, as you can see from the above pictures, the match is a very good one. For all this work I estimate I used up just one tester pot of the Light Oak, and a third of the Antique Stripped Pine.
Attention then turned to the blackboard itself. The frame was treated in the same way as the easel, just touching in the worst of the scars. Refurbishing the board on one side was a simple matter of buying a tin of blackboard paint and revitalising the surface. However, my wife was keen to use the other side as a pin board so, after looking at the options we decided on a cork surface. As sheet (Or roll) cork is very expensive, we decided to go with tiles (10mm thick to take a drawing pin). And, to make a feature of the checker board effect, to stain them different colours.
Again, it was Littlefair’s tester pots to the rescue! One pot will provide one coat for three 30cm x 30cm cork tiles with enough left over to stain the edges. On the picture below I used just one coat each of Beach House Blue, Pale Terracotta and Blushing Beech, with a second coat needed of the Misty Violet to intensify the colour. Again, the coverage of these products is amazing!
My wife is delighted with the blackboard/pin board and can’t wait to use it. I am looking forward to my next project, and trying some more Littlefair's products. (When my tin of beeswax runs out I am definitely going to try the Littlefair's Wax Polish.)
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