You’ve heard of putting the cart before the horse, but wood floor pro Chip Fauber has found a new niche putting wooden carts under coffee tables.
The Peoria, Ill.-based owner of Chip Fauber Hardwood Floors discovered a cache of antique wooden factory carts while working on wood flooring jobs in and around the city’s plethora of warehouses and old factories, many of which are being renovated into apartment buildings. The warehouse carts were manufactured between 1900–1950, according to Fauber. “I’d seen them around and just loved them,” he says. Eventually, with an eye on restoring them, Fauber began purchasing the carts from building owners around the district. The carts are typically built with white oak and were once used for hauling materials in old factories, he explains.
To restore them, Fauber takes them apart and sands them (outside, with a vacuum system), using 60-grit and being careful to maintain their rustic, industrial look. The boards on the top of the carts sometimes must be replaced completely. The lettering on the sides of the carts is often faded, so Fauber created lettering templates to spray-paint the lettering back on.
Fauber then coats the boards with a clear water-based finish and reassembles them using new hardware (he keeps the original bolts and wheels in his shop).
He has taken several of the restored carts to a nearby glass manufacturer to install a glass top over the cart. The refinished carts have become a popular item, and Fauber’s managed to sell several for around $2,000. Most of them are used as coffee tables, he says.
But the most rewarding part is being able to restore a local piece of Peoria’s history.
“I like that old factory antique industrial look,” he says. “Everything is going toward that trend these days, but I've always loved that."