How to Restore an Old Dresser

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Here is how we brought some life back to an old dresser...

Step 1: Find a Cool Dresser

My wife's grandparents gave us a really cool old dresser that has been in the family since the 1930's.

However this dresser was looking pretty rough after spending years in storage.

Step 2: Start Stripping

Depending on the condition of your dresser you may end up with lots and lots of work.

I bought a can of paint stripper and started stripping layers of paint. I got through 3 coats of paint, then My wifes grandpa took over and stripped another 27 layers of paint and got it down to bare wood.

We later found out my wifes great grandma painted this dresser once a year for 50 years.

Step 3: Lots of Sanding

We used a finish sander and started with 80 to finish getting the paint off, then went to 100 and 240 only on the wood we stained.

When we finally got down to bare wood we knew what we were working with. There were a few cracks that needed fixing but nothing major.

Someone had filled in all the key holes and locks with wood filler, i went in and drilled out the wood filler so that the locks would be operational.

We also had to repair a large crack in one of the side panels. Glued in a few pieces of wood from the inside as reenforcement.

Step 4: Paint

We liked the contrast between white paint and dark stain

Painted the main body of the dresser, 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of paint.

Here is the dresser trying on the new drawer pulls, still needing stain.

Step 5: Stain and Poly

We went with dark walnut stain on the drawers and the top surface.

After stain we did 3 coats of polyurethane on the stained wood and finished it off with some nice steel drawer pulls.

The dresser was finally allowed in the house and is patiently waiting for us to clear our ikea dresser out of our bedroom.

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6 Discussions

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dbillings

4 years ago

Beautiful. Inspiring to see that patience & hard work pays off very nicely.

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jdavies88

4 years ago

Awesome project! What kind of sander did you use?

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Elton325

4 years ago

Gorgeous work...love the colors!

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sebastian22

4 years ago

Thanks guys, yes we kept the original label, just wish it was in tact.

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seamster

4 years ago on Introduction

Very nice work. I like the contrast between painted and stained wood. You guys will enjoy that for the rest of your lives.

Were you able to keep that original label? That's a neat thing to keep on there even if it's not in perfect shape.