Before and After: the Ancient Dresser From Nowhere

About: There is nothing I love more then making something new and usable again that someone else would have thrown out or torn down!

Intro: Before and After: the Ancient Dresser From Nowhere

Between this one and the old beast from the screened in porch I really don’t know which one is more of a mystery. Neither dresser had been used in decades by the time I came along to refinish them. With the passing of my grandma we opened up the old play house (our future duck coop) and were both dismayed and delighted to find that it was full. We started pulling things out and discovered my mother’s two old dressers (check out this one in our tutorial for converting a dresser into a vanity) and this old thing with no idea where it came from. It’s beautiful and it always was beautiful even before I started work on it. I had an inkling that it was probably the most unique and also the oldest piece of everything I had. A friend of mine (who had a bit of furniture experience) confirmed my thoughts when he said he thought that this piece was worth the most out of everything. Of course, worth really means nothing to me (I’ll never sell it) however, knowing that it is special outside of my own feelings toward it is pretty cool.

Step 1: Sand Until Your Arms Fall Off and Then Sand Some More

I sanded the whole thing down instead of stripping it and it just about killed me, definitely should have stripped all of the funk and gunk off of it first. I did this piece when I did Eleonora’s buffet/our entertainment center (coming soon) and I swear the same dude on the same day seventy years ago put the same nastymotor oil finish on them both. I felt like my arms were gonna fall off. I just sanded. And sanded. And sanded. *facepalm* The whole dresser probably has over ten hours of just me sanding into it.

Step 2: Choose Your Stain

Once I had it down to bare wood I really got excited. The drawer fronts are striped, seriously, like a zebra! It is SO cool. I stained it in a black stain but I don’t think it would have mattered what stain I used, it is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t get over the wood grain! I just love it! And then I put all my shiny knobs on it and I couldn’t have been more pleased. It sits in my office now, I never did manage to get the drawers working well so I just use it as storage that I rarely need. I really love it, can’t say exactly why, but out of all of the pieces that I’ve refinished over the last few years, this is the one that holds my heart completely.



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    6 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I love it too! Very substantial, the curved drawers have always been a fav of mine as well. You've done a super job on this piece. I'm a little distressed about the drawers not working, ( I know, ridiculous right?), could you ask your 'wood friend' for assistance? I redid an old wooden desk, (massive!), a long time ago . There was ONE drawer on that thing that I could never get to open/close smoothly. I sanded that thing for a month of Sundays and it still would never act right, lol. I probably should've had a pro look at it, but what can you do when you're a young single girl and don't have any woodish friends? Haha, happy memories.... Love your projects and the way you write is so personal. Really lets your personality shine :>)

    Do you have any pics up that show the front of the house or the whole homestead area? Just wanted to get a mental picture. I'll be following your page as I will really enjoy reading and following along on your journey.


    3 years ago

    I really love all your before and afters, but I wish you took more pictures during the process. It makes it look all the better when you show just how trashed you had to make it before things got better. Cheers

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Point taken for sure! All these pieces I did a couple of years ago and had no idea I would be sharing them with anyone. New pieces though I'm making a real point to always have my camera with me!