I found this gem in a barn in rural Oklahoma and was told it was with the family for possibly generations; however, due to its condition, they were willing to part with it. I also let it sit for a few years prior to restoring. It did have a lot of wear, major cracking and full of old nasty screws and nails that I replaced with dowels.
Step 1: Preparations
In order for this to look really nice, it needed to be disassembled and the individual pieces needed a lot of sanding, filling and good old fashioned TLC. After removing the old tarnish I observed this to be birch wood and began saving the sawdust to mix with wood glue for mending cracks.
Step 2: Doweling and Assembly
As aforementioned, this piece was full of old nasty flathead screws and nails, leaving me with a clue as to it having repairs and such attempted on it in the past. The top had completely cracked apart and the feet were in worse shape. After disassembly and filling the cracks I noticed the original maker took the time to recess the bookshelf into the vertical end pieces. Someone also countersunk the screws for the bookshelf into the end pieces. I wanted a more classic look so I decided to use dowels instead of nails or screws. Additionally, a vintage doweling jig owned by my grandfather was used to fix the crack on the top piece.
Step 3: Stain and Clear Coats
I used a Minwax provincial 211 stain and poly clear coats. Notice the contrasting wood grains in the dowels juxtaposed to the end pieces, moreover, the dowels in the top piece also contrast well with the surrounding wood grain. I was well pleased with the outcome and look forward to doing more projects like these.