My great grandfather was a woodworker. I don’t remember him, but much of his work is still very present in our family. Anytime I go to my parents or grandparents house, his legacy lives on through his woodworking. This dresser is a piece that he made for my mother when she was a child and since, she has given it to my wife and I. In this article I am going to show you how I restored this dresser. I wanted it to remain mostly original so the biggest thing was to clean it up. This was the type of project that was going on in the background for a while between other projects. I am excited to share this with you because it is a part of me and who I am.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- 1x4 board (for drawer pulls)
- Hairpin Legs https://amzn.to/2vr4iar
- Screws https://amzn.to/2vr4iar
- Wood glue https://amzn.to/2vr4iar
- Mineral Oil https://amzn.to/2LFcbPC
- Danish Oil https://amzn.to/2vr4iar
Step 2: Disassemble the Dresser.
The first thing I did for this project was take off all of the hardware that was on the dresser. This was a mid-century modern piece made in the 60’s. It was a trending style at the time and is back around. I did want to update the drawer pulls and the hairpin legs so instead of trying to refurbish them, I replaced them. I simply used a hand screwdriver to take the hardware and legs off the dresser and then I took the drawers out. I then took off the rear panel. It was kinda falling off anyway.
Step 3: Sand Off the Old Finish.
Next was the longest part of the project. Sanding. I sanded… and sanded…. and sanded. After that I sanded some more. I started with a pretty aggressive sand paper of 80 grit. This helped me get the old finish off of the dresser and drawers. All I have is a random orbital sander, but a belt sander would work much better for this making it go a lot quicker. After stripping all of the original finish off of the dresser with the 80 grit, I took my time working all the way up to 320 grit. This takes time and patience but it is totally worth all the work once it is all done.
Step 4: Reinforce and Repair
Once everything was sanded to where I wanted it, I had to go in and reinforce some of the shelves and the back. I used my crown stapler to go around and do this. Make sure you select the proper length in staples that won’t go through the outside of the wood.
I also had to repair a few cosmetic places on the shelf. A few knicks and a places where the wood had started to split where the glue had joined them together. I wanted to make sure it looked like new. I mixed the dresser’s sawdust with wood glue to make a paste. Then I applied the paste in the cracks and different spots that needed help. I waited for the glue paste to dry, and then I sanded it to match the dresser. This worked very well.
Step 5: Make the Drawer Pulls
I decided to make my own drawer pulls. I knew what I wanted and this is something I could replace at anytime if I ever didn’t like them anymore. First I drew up the size on a scrap piece of MDF then I cut it out using a jig saw and set it on a drawer to see if I liked it. First time was the perfect size. I used a piece of 1x4 to make these. I was hesitant to see if the would work but I had it on hand so I thought I would give it a shot. I ripped the 1x4 to 1 ½” wide using a table saw, and then I cut the pulls to length using a table sand and crosscut sled. The small cuts like this are really easy to do with a crosscut sled by you can use a circular saw just as easy. After they were all cut to size, I used the bench sander to sand them down and then I painted them all black to match the legs I was using.
Step 6: Apply Fnish
Next I can could apply the finish. I first wiped the dresser and drawers down really well with a clean rag to get the sawdust off of it, and then I used Watco Danish oil to finish the piece. I just poured in over the dresser and used a rag to wipe on. Danish oil is my favorite. I love how it makes the grain pop!
Step 7: Back and Legs
After letting the finish dry for a few days, it was time to reassemble the dresser. I actually had already put the back of the dresser back on before I finished the dresser. To do that I used the crown stapler and went all the way around the outside edge with it. Next I installed the new legs which I purchased on Amazon. I placed the legs where I wanted to be and then marked them with a pencil. I then pre drilled all of the holes and used wood screws to attach them to the bottom of the dressor.
Step 8: Installing the Drawer Pulls
All I had left was to install the drawer pulls. I used a hot glue gun to temporarily attach each pull where it needed to go. Then from the opposite side I used a drill to predrill through the preexisting hole of the dresser into the drawer pull. I used a countersink but so the screw would sit flush inside the drawer. I also made sure to make and extra drawer pull in case I messed one up, but thankfully I didn’t have to use it. After predrilling, I used 1” wood screws to attach the pull to the dresser. After doing this to all the drawers, the dresser was complete.
Step 9: Video
Make sure you check out the video for this project to see all the steps I took in greater detail. I had a great time doing this type of project. Follow me around the web. I'd love to connect.
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