Remember that dresser?

Yeah… this one.  That I posted about back in JULY!


Well, I finally got around to making some progress on it!  I had too before this crazy weather got any colder around here!  To refresh your memory, it’s my idea to refinish this cutie historical piece and put it in our entry/mudroom to hold tools, hats and gloves, dog leashes, etc.  I had a few different ideas for refinishing, but before I reveal my final choice (to the 2 of you who might not know and the other 2 of you who do… shhhhh!!) I’ll show you what I did to fix this piece up a bit.  First, Jake helped me bring this piece outside, because sanding inside is a big old mess.


Then I got to pulling out the drawers, cleaning it out and starting repairs.  At the back of one of the drawers I found this stamp from 1975.


I just think it’s neat that someone else was using this perhaps for odds and ends like I’m going to use it for and there’s this little bit of a history here.


For anyone out there wondering, the Kirtland’s Warbler is no longer an endangered species and is well on it’s way to recovery!  Yay for the birds!  Cute little fellas too! Back to the dresser… One of the drawers in particular was in need of some serious repair.

Broken Drawer

Luckily all the pieces were there and were still good strong wood, so it just needed a little TLC.  I simply laid the boards back in place and added some wood glue at the end where there was a split.

Broken Drawer

Then added some finish nails to keep those boards nice and secure and in place.

Fixed Drawer

I had to do a similar task on the other side, but this all took about 10 minutes and then I was off to the next bit.  The rest of the drawers were in pretty good shape, but the back of the dresser needed a bit more work.


Nothing a few new nails couldn’t fix though!  While I was fixing this part, one of the old nails popped out and really got me thinking about the history of this piece.

Old Nail

Look at that hand forged square headed nail vs the shiny machine made nails of today.  I couldn’t help but really start to appreciate that this piece and the wood that it’s made of is over 125 years old.   Seriously, remember I told you about the pin and cove joints and they were used in the US and Canada only during the 1880’s before machine made furniture really started coming into play?  Well, it also struck me that while I using my machine-made nails and electric orbital sanders, there was some man who cared for this wood, planed it, hand sanded it and pieced it together… and what a different era!  This guy was president:

Chester_ArthurChester Arthur Anderson.  Did you know that?  He was the 21st President after James Garfield was shot in 1881. Not sure he did the best, job but this dude had rockin’ chops, though didn’t he??  Crazy-town that this wood came from then.  (Say it with me… “blogging is learning.”)  I digress again… back to the dresser.


I patched up the back with a few nails and then got to sanding.  My idea is to stain the top and paint the body, so the top needed a lot of sanding, while the body only needed a good roughing up. I won’t bore you with a narrative of sanding.. you hold the sander and move it back and forth until the finish is gone or it’s distressed how you want it.  Rocket science.   I used 80 grit paper on the top to really cut through the old varnish and stain, then went back over with 120 grit.


DresserDSCN3143 DSCN3144Then on to the body and drawers for a quick roughing up and varnish removal!

Dresser Dresser

What do you think?  I actually am liking it like this, but will definitely be finishing it off.  Which color do you think I decided on??  I will tell you I’m going to try Milk Paint and will have a whole writeup on what I thought about it!

Are you refinishing anything you want to share? Are you a bird watcher? Know about any other odd US Presidents or are a history buff?  I think the mantra “blogging is learning” will definitely catch on…  Have a great weekend!

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1 Comment

  1. Love the old stamp from this official “bird watcher” and lover. Too bad you didn’t find a bag full of cash (like the one found in the desk off Craig’s list). Too bad. Can’t wait to see the finish product.

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