Question: My dog ran into my china cabinet while chasing the cat. No damage to the dog or the contents, but major damage to the curved glass. The cabinet is made of oak and comes from a property sale over 35 years ago. So it has no sentimental value, but it is pretty. Any ideas where I could get new glass or is it even worth it?
– Charles Town, W.Va.
Answer: Dodson’s Curved Glass in Frederick (301-662-0020) makes replacement glass. You can order it directly from the company or through a glass shop or antique dealer.
One advantage of a restorer is that someone else takes care of measuring the replacement and installing it. Thin strips of wood are nailed to the inner edges. “One small nail you hit the wrong way and the glass will break,” said David Wells, owner of Carrison’s Restorations, an antique restorer in Manassas (703-369-6318; www.carrisonsantiquerestoration.com). He said replacement glass costs between $ 100 and $ 200 if it has a uniform curve, which is the type of situation Dodson is dealing with. If the glass has a flat cross-section and then curves, Wells orders it from a company in Michigan and the cost per piece goes up to $ 400 to $ 800. Wells will charge $ 100 and more for installation based on how the furniture was designed. If the glass fits into a groove on one side and only has a wood stop on the other side, the work is much faster and less risky than if strips of wood secure the glass from all sides.
To order a new piece of curved glass, you need to determine not only the height of the glass and the length of the curve, but also the radius of the curve. B&L Antiqurie of Lexington, Michigan (800-840-1110; www.bentglasscentral.com), who bends sheets of glass into custom shapes, describes the measurement process on their website.
Question: We have an old wooden hot tub that we have enjoyed for many years. We went on an overseas assignment about 10 years ago and emptied the hot tub for insurance reasons when we rented our house. When we came back the wooden planks had shrunk and the tub had no water in it. We tried to fill in the gaps with epoxy but that didn’t work and we couldn’t find anyone in the area either repairing hot tubs or wearing and installing hot tubs. Can our existing tub be repaired? Or is there someone in the area who carries and installs new wooden hot tubs? We need one about five feet in diameter because our deck is set into a small deck and there is no room for anything larger. We also prefer a wooden tub.
– Cabin John
Answer: Assuming the wood is not rotten, you should first try to persuade the fibers to swell again. It can take several weeks, but if it works it’s essentially free.
To prepare, you’ll need to scrape off the remaining epoxy, make sure all the groove joints in the steps (sideboards) are properly aligned, and tighten the metal tape or ties on the outside after first measuring the height to make sure each metal strip is level. Then dampen the tub with water and keep it moist. Jill Peck, a sales representative at Snorkel (800-962-6208; www.snorkel.com), a Seattle company that makes wooden hot tubs from wood, said one way to do that is to get the tub of water out of one to spray hose or splash on buckets of water, preferably warm. Wait half an hour and repeat the process. Repeat several more times. Then, spread soaking wet towels on the sides of the tub. Keep these soaked for two weeks. Fill the tub. If you are lucky, the gaps will be filled.
If that doesn’t work, or if you need professional help with tricky steps right from the start, such as: For example, to see how much the bands need to be streamlined, try Jack Marshall of Marshall Pool and Spa (202-244-5005; [email protected]) who is moving from McLean to Reston next month. Marshall still repairs and sells wooden hot tubs. A company that only deals with plastic tubs recommended him, saying he was the only one they knew who else was doing it.
Marshall does not charge a home visit to the Washington area for advice and an estimate. If the project is interesting or challenging, he travels to the east coast, central Virginia, east west Virginia, or southern Pennsylvania. His guess, without having seen your hot tub, is that if it stood empty for 10 years, some of the wood could be rotten and the wood fibers may have shrunk too much to swell sufficiently.
If you decide to order a new wooden hot tub, they may offer you options for the same hot tub. Cedar or redwood hot tubs are the cheapest; Those made from teak or jarrah (a tropical hardwood) are more expensive. Expect to pay several thousand dollars.
If the existing tub cannot be salvaged and you need a cheaper option, Marshall can order a plastic liner that is sized to fit snugly in the tub. This can cost $ 750 to $ 1,000 plus installation labor, which varies. This of course changes the texture you would feel when using the tub. “There is a plastic inside to the tub,” he said. “It defeats one of the reasons for wanting wood.”
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