Refinishing a dresser

Refinishing a dresser

Before my paternal grandfather passed, he gave my maternal grandmother a dresser and a chest of drawers that he purchased in the late 60s.  These two piece were made of solid wood and resided in my grandmother's shed for year waiting for someone to refinish them for her.  After realizing that my uncle wasn't going to get around to it for her, I decided to be the good grandson and refinish them.  At some point prior to my grandmother getting them (and probably long before I was born), someone had taken them and done a faux antiquing paint job on them and they looked terrible.

I knew that they needed to be stripped, stained and sealed to look better.  Also, those handles had to go!  This was a pretty uneventful job of using the orbital sander to rough remove the paint and using a sanding block with 220 grit sandpaper to get it smooth.  And the wood beneath was gorgeous. 

After a couple of coats of wipe on stain and brush on polyurethane it was ready for some hardware.  I purchased some drawer pulls online that matched the width of the holes in the drawers found some matching long screws at the hardware store and put it all together.  The dresser came out great.

Of the two pieces, the only one that my grandmother wanted was the dresser.  So the chest of drawers sat in my garage for almost an entire year until I found someone that needed it.  The process was the same for this one of sanding to remove the paint. However, there was one snag in this job.  It turns out that the distance between the hole on the dresser was not the same as on the chest of drawers.  To fix this, I had to drill out the existing hole to fit a dowel, glue in the dowel, cut and sand it flush and then re-drill the holes at the right spacing.  To do this, I used a drill guide to ensure that I had perfectly vertical holes and to make sure that my bit wouldn't skip around in the existing hole.  I did end up with a little bit of tear-out on the inside but since it's not visible from the exterior it's not that big a deal.  After letting the glue dry, I used a flush cut saw to cut the dowels down and then a sanding block to make it smooth.  Then using the same drill guide, I re-drilled the new holes for the handles.

After the handle holes were made, I could complete the project by staining and sealing it. I did use a brush on stain and polyurethane in one that did not turn out well and left lots of streaks in the final product.  I would recommend a wipe on Danish oil (with a stain if desired) and a wipe on polyurethane for best coverage.

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