Veneer damage on a wood dresser is no reason to pass up a once beautiful piece like this chest of drawers. More times than none, the wood underneath is in great shape, protected by the veneer and has tons of character.
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Wood Dresser Makeover
I got a call from a friend that has a booth in a little antique store in our town. This piece had been sitting in her booth a little longer than it needed to. She knew how I loved a good challenge. Well, this was the challenge of all challenges. For $30, I couldn’t pass up the possibility of what this could become.
I get this feeling (hard to explain) that comes over me when I see certain pieces of furniture. Not sure if it comes from memories or an intuition. I did grow up around a lot of antiques and so many do trigger great moments with my Grandmother. So, I just go with it and it hasn’t failed me yet. I was right!
Repairing The Drawers
The very first thing I do when checking out these old pieces is the inspection of the drawers. I find that most drawers can be saved with a little TLC. Did you notice the chewed area on the drawer? Rats! Ga-ross! That’s a character, right? I didn’t repair that as it’s a part of the history of the piece. Something needs to be visible as a reminder. Second chances always come with a story and this chest definitely has one.
I used Elmer’s Wood Glue to secure all the loose dovetail joints and then used my pin nailer for a little extra strength. The bottom to the drawer was in bad shape and needed to be replaced.
This really isn’t as hard as you would think. If you are handy with tools, it’s as simple as using the old board as a template and cutting out a new one. You can get the plywood at your local hardware stores in sheets. I usually keep some here in the studio. I come across a lot of drawers that need new bottoms.
The other two drawers were in okay shape and just needed a little more glue. These clamps are a lifesaver when it comes to repairing and gluing jobs. Did you notice all the veneer on the table? Every single inch and even the drawers had veneer!
Dealing With Veneer Damage On A Wood Dresser
What can I say about this picture that you don’t already know? It’s definitely a labor of love. “I just LOVE removing veneer” … said no woman ever! The veneer on the wood dresser was loose enough that I didn’t need to take any additional steps to remove it. Just the plain ole hammer and a paint scraper did the trick. My arms were tiring fast with this amount of removal. That’s when I was saved.
I was so happy to see Mr. Honey Do walk through the door. As he observed my struggles, I brilliantly said… there has to be a better way to get this off. He took the bait and ran with it! SCORE ME! He’s a great help with my furniture and we make a great team.
Finally, all the veneer on the wood dresser was history. After sanding with my orbital sander, beneath all that was the most amazing aged wood. Tons of character and WORMHOLES. I get excited about these tiny details. No painting would ever touch these pieces while it was under my roof. That’s a huge statement coming from a “furniture painter”. Sometimes, paint isn’t always the best fit. Did I just say that?
Speaking of paint… how would you like to have my free tips and tricks for painting furniture? Just tell me where to send it! I’ll get it right to you.
Beautiful Raw Wood Dresser
All that raw wood goodness was all in my face! I’m totally in LOVE with this one. Dark Walnut Stain by Old Masters was applied to the top and the front legs only. I love the look of the raw wood, but I wanted to contrast it a bit for more character. The whole piece was sealed with Modern Masters Clear Coat Satin for a durable finish that won’t change the color of the raw wood. I added some mercury glass knobs from Hobby Lobby but kept two of the original pulls that were in good shape. Usually, I try to reuse the original hardware when I can. Mixing up the old with new keeps a bit of the originality to the piece. Somethings are just better left as is.
The Results Were Stunning
Later that night after the staging and photos, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of this chest. I snapped a quick picture with the natural lighting from the window. Call me a weirdo if you want, but it was like an angelic experience. A rebirth, a second chance. Isn’t that what life’s all about? Second chances?
Be you, be your own style
I love what I do, and I hope you have enjoyed this makeover as much as I have. If you liked this makeover, here’s another you might enjoy. Click here for the Dixie Nightstand Makeover.
Until the next project… xo, Do