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Repairing old furniture

Most of the furniture I paint would be called vintage as it was built within the last 50 years.  Some of these pieces have needed  a bit of work on sticky drawers or may have needed some wood filler in places, but I try to buy things that don’t have problematic issues.  However, every now and then I purchase something older than vintage and inevitably there are things that aren’t quite right.  My latest find was actually a garbage day  pick-up-I’m not sure I would have bought it given the number of things wrong with it.  As an aside, I cannot get over the fact that people put things out for the garbage or for pickers like me, rather than donating them to a charity.  But back to the dresser:  it is solid mahogany but it had dents all over like someone took a hammer to it, the bottom drawer had been reinforced but it was missing the slider on one side, the handles were newer and had been screwed in with glue so they were impossible to remove, there was a large hole in the back and the drawers had an old wood smell.DSC_0017(3)DSC_0015(3)

It does have a nice classic shape, the feet conceal casters and it has large round keyholes.  The first thing that I did was put a coat of shellac inside and out of the drawers.  Smell is the thing that I find hardest to fix in old wood and shellac is the best thing for blocking odours.  My husband patched the hole in the back and put a new runner on the drawer.  I filled the dents with wood filler but some of them still show a bit.  I refinished the top but encountered an odd problem there.  There were small spots that were lighter than the rest of the wood and resisted the Danish oil that I applied. I have seen this once before and still have not learned why this happens even after it has gone through a lot of sanding.  I applied 3 coats of Danish oil and dabbed Annie Sloan Graphite on the spots to make them blend in more.  If I were keeping the dresser for myself I would have stopped there but since I am selling it, I know that most people are not used to having a surface that isn’t completely water-resistant.  So, I used Circa 1850 Paste Varnish which is a gel and gives a hand-rubbed look but is actually concentrated poly.

I painted the body in Annie Sloan Duck Egg which is a very popular colour but this is the first time that  I have actually used it.  The trim and the inside of the drawers are painted in Old White.  The handles and keyholes were painted then covered in copper gilding paste.  Now that it is finished,  I think that the cool blue/green and the mahogany give the chest an elegant look that is suitable to its style.

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3 thoughts on “Repairing old furniture

  1. I don’t understand throwing out furniture either. SOMEONE could surely use it or have the skills to revamp well enough to make it useable. My most recent post is about a daybed I found thrown out onto the street! Your dresser turned out great!

  2. Thankfully a beautiful piece of real wood furniture was rescued by you! It turned out beautifully. Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great week!


  3. Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that
    I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I am hoping you write once more very soon!

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