It’s been a busy couple of months. I’ve gotten a little off track with projects because we’ve had house guests, a graduation party, kids off school for summer vacation, camping trips, and lots of socializing opportunities. It’s been a good time, I’ve loved all of it, but I have to say, I feel a sense of gratification in the fact that I was able to check one project off my laundry list of “to-do’s” this weekend.
I found this mid century dresser at the Humane Society Thrift Store a few months back. They were asking $100. I thought it was too much considering that it needed to be refinished. It had a lot of scratches and a few areas of split wood. This was one of those situations when I decided to be patient and wait to see if they lowered the price after it’d been there for a month. Guess what? They did! But just to $70, and I still thought that was too much. Fortunately, to my surprise, after toiling over the thing for a month and a half, I was able to buy it for $35 on a random 1/2 price furniture sale day…. Sweet, now that’s more like it! I love when patience works out for me…
It is made from Elm, manufactured by LA Period Furniture. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen furniture made from Elm before. In it’s original condition, the way I bought it, it was almost a honey color with very little grain, but nice lines.
If you look up close, you can see the scratches.
Time to get to work. The first thing that I did after removing the hardware was apply some Tuff-Strip with an inexpensive bristle brush working in small sections at a time. After a few minutes, I would scrape the peeling finish off and let it dry. That took a couple of hours all together. This stuff is pretty nasty… If you do it, read the warning label, wear gloves and protective eyewear, etc. Then, I busted out the palm sander with 80 grit and went to town removing the stain and residue from the stripper.
Once the wood was stain, scratch and dent free, I switched over to 150 grit, and then to 220. I used sheets of sandpaper folded in half to get into the little nook and crannies. I knew that I was going to stain it with Minwax Gel Stain, Walnut color so I wasn’t too concerned with getting every groove completely free from the previous color. I LOVE the gel stain because it provides great coverage and it isn’t as messy as normal stain. It’s my “go to” stain of choice. The Walnut color is very classic in color and seems to go with most of my furniture.
I absolutely adore the way the stain brought out the grain in this wood…. I wish the photo would do it justice, because it’s definitely much prettier in person.
And, check out the hardware! I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a little worn, but I’m going to keep it. It has some brass and white accents. It’s going to go great with the funky brass light fixtures that I also thrifted. More on those later.
Before replacing the hardware, and with very good ventilation, I gave all of the stained wood surfaces a good solid coating of Deft Clear Satin Lacquer. I probably sprayed at least 3 coats and went through 4 cans for this piece. I always use Deft because it gives a nice even finish without brush strokes. After the few coats had dried, I used 320 grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots. Then, I wiped it with a microfiber cloth to get all the loose powder off and gave it another coating of lacquer.
And, here you have it… A restored vintage dresser with some charm.