Wednesday 22 August 2012

A real Fixer upper!

A few days ago I shared my found walnut dresser. You can read about it HERE
I mentioned that I had picked up two dressers. 
I want to share with you the process of fixing something that maybe could have been left there...but what would it be to leave something there that can be fixed? After all it's what we who love old furniture do right? 

Actually the drawers on this one were HUGE and in GREAT shape. So that really wasn't the issue. 
So this is the before's on it's side and those are my husbands legs. We got to work on it before I pulled out my camera. What can I say, I get excited about working on stuff I seldom remember to get really good before shots in :) 

While he was measuring I got to work on the drawers. 

This was after I added some wonderful stripper. I find that when working with something this old, it's actually safer to use a chemical stripper than to try to sand it off. Although I was planning on painting it, I always remove the old paint. 
And since this was OLD...I knew there had to be lead paint in there. Better to catch it all in the stripper than to let it linger in the air. 
While that was setting, I went to snap a couple of pics of the wonderful job my husband was doing. 
 See how rotten the legs were? This involved a lot of measuring, cutting, measuring, deciding what stays and what much can be saved etc.
Then gluing, and cutting some more. Trust me this was quite the process because you have to stop and re evaluate at the completion of each step. And there are no set rules or patterns and a lot of it is just learning as you go. Each piece is different. 
This one wasn't as hard as some we have done, but I wanted you to get a feel for what we do. It isn't all just strip, sand, paint, wax/seal. 
 I was finally able to get down to the wood. I actually loved the wood and seriously considered just staining it and leaving it really rustic looking.

I actually did stain it with a "gunshot" stain I have and still really loved it. 
But I didn't keep it. It wasn't going to look right once I stripped the rest of the piece.

 Again, this is still sitting on the side, but I wanted you to see what a really OLD piece looks like. I am figuring this one came from the early 1800;s. That is hand cut wide tongue and groove Ash. Then when checking to see if the locks worked, I discovered that the locks were also very early 1800's. So this baby is roughly 200 years old!
 See how my hubby replaced just enough to keep the integrity of this dresser?...ok, it's not original, but it works and trust me it looks great now! 
I did strip it down..the grooves on the front were the worst to get clean, but it was soooo worth the effort. 
 I really had to work hard to get the top looking like new again! But it was worth it.
 There was one of the wood key holes missing, and the others were in bad shape, so I replaced them all.
 The handles were not original, so I replaced them with these glass ones that say Onward, kitchener in them.

 Look at how wonderful that Ash turned out! Yes it looks like Oak, but isn't. They used to call Ash, the "poor mans oak"
 Like I mentioned earlier, the drawers were in great shape and actually really clean.
So what do you think? Was it worth saving? 

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm always amazed at what a little elbow grease can do :)

  2. Wow, you really put a lot of work into your pieces! This looks fantastic, where did you get those knobs? Your refinish job on the walnut dresser is amazing too, great job! :)

  3. Definately worth saving! All your hard work paid off, it looks fantastic!

  4. Good for you for saving this relic! The top is beautiful. Thats what I love about working with wood. doesn't matter how old it is, it can usually be revived to it's original beauty. Nice job.