Monday, May 21, 2018

The Frugal Countertop

Around 1985, I paid through the nose for chrome yellow designer oilcloth from a stylish local fabric store. While browsing, I decided on the spot that it might be worth restoring the oilcloth that had covered the splendid bullnosed straight grain Doug fir counters in my 1890 pass pantry when I moved into the house. Oilcloth had gone out of use when housekeepers realized it was not a good idea to cover food prep surfaces with a layer of pest habitat. I reasoned that double-sticky tape would frustrate little crawling critters and on went the new stock.

The first week it was in place, I set the daily paper on a damp spot and discovered the ink transferred beautifully. It took a few years of daily wiping for the image to fade, but eventually I forgot about it. Thirty years later, I have not had reason to regret that particular piece of historic restoration in the 1890 pass pantry.


A few years later I set a square of flashy Mexican oilcloth on a utility table on the back porch, that is roofed and latticed. The cloth has been exposed to wind, rain, and occasional sun ever since, is frequently cleaned with window spray, and shows minor fading but little other sign of wear -30-

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