Can this waterlogged mini-bar be saved?
February 28, 2011 3:27 PM   Subscribe

On a walk through the alley behind my apartment building, I discovered a beautiful vintage vinyl-upholstered bar next to the dumpster, abandoned by some craigslist-averse neighbor. Unfortunately, it appears to have absorbed several gallons of this morning's downpour. There are a few tears in the vinyl, and the foam beneath is saturated- ditto for the plywood shelves. Is it salvageable? Should I try to use a hairdryer, or will that only hasten the development of dry rot?
posted by t(h)om(as) to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Not salvageable. Full of mildew and, eventually, mold and dryrot. It's sad, but too late.
posted by The World Famous at 3:29 PM on February 28, 2011

Nothing to lose. Try a hairdryer or heater. You might be able to open some of the tacks at the bottom and the water may drain. If it smells funky, return it to the alley.
posted by theora55 at 3:50 PM on February 28, 2011

Any parts made from solid wood have a good chance of surviving, or at least ending up in a good enough condition to restore. The plywood shelves will probably warp or even separate, but that's not too hard to replace. Try pulling out the upholstery, tossing the foam, and cleaning and saving the vinyl. Foam's pretty cheap.
posted by hydrophonic at 3:53 PM on February 28, 2011

It may or may not be salvageable. If it is at all possible, it will require a lot of work and time to resurrect it. You will have to strip off the vinyl and the foam and discard them. You will need to completely dry out the plywood and then assess whether the glue has let go, resulting in de-lamination or warping. As you remove the vinyl, you will need to pay careful attention to how it was attached and how the foam was attached. You will need to replicate this.

I have a well-equipped workshop and a fifty year accumulation of tools and skills. This project would be way down on my to-do list.
posted by Old Geezer at 3:56 PM on February 28, 2011 [4 favorites]

You may be able to salvage it, but please think (depending on your location) about bedbugs before dumpster-diving!

Sorry if this sounds paranoid.
posted by torticat at 4:11 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

You're unlikely to be the first person to try to salvage that thing, and it's unlikely you'll be the first person to succeed.

Let it go.
posted by mhoye at 5:49 PM on February 28, 2011

I'd suggest at least taking some photos of it. You might fall into a wad of cash next week, in which case you could use the photos to commission a repro. (Hey, you never know, right?)
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 1:05 AM on March 1, 2011

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