Refinished old chest.
I have had this old trunk for as long as I can remember. It was corroded, dirty and somebody had used it to paint a project on it long before it was handed down to me. It even sat for years in a damp basement and stored scrap project wood.
Then for some reason I decided to pull it out one day... I have had this ugly thing sitting around in my living room as a coffee table through two different moves now.
It's time to restore it.
I had been wanting to attach feet to this chest for a long while. Back in my old house I had hardwood floors and the brass on this chest used to drag a little and leave scratches behind.
Browsing through Lowes one day I happened upon these wooden replacement furniture legs. Since these legs have a piece of threaded rod in them, I drilled out a hole in each corner of the chest to sink this rod into. I then drilled three (3) holes from the inside of the bottom of the chest to attach the feet with deck screws.
There was old paint on the top of the the box that I soaked off with a gel paint stripper.
Next I sanded the top of the box.
I used an electric sander for the larger areas and hand sanded the edges and smaller surfaces. The biggest thing with sanding is to make sure everything looks even, especially since this wood will be stained.
The next step was to test the removal of the tarnish from the brass. I then coated the top of the box with a red mahogany stain. More on these two (2) steps in a moment.
By this point I was really only testing how the look of how this project might turn out.
The results were pretty good..
Time to get serious.
First, clean all of the brass. If you accidentally hit the wood with one of the brushes, it's pretty easy to sand over and fix.
For the brass I wanted a brushed look, something with some texture and a bit of character. To achieve this I bought the two (2) brass brushes shown.
The flat brush is works well to clean around the brass screws, while the other brush was used to clean all of the flat brass strips and achieve that lapped brush look.
** When working with brass, be sure to buy brass brushes! Otherwise you may leave silver streaks behind on your project with a steel brush.
Second Step; Sand Sand Sand.
After the brass is cleaned, go ahead and sand all of the wooden surfaces of the chest.
*I guess I should also mention that I pulled all of the old, corroded, brass screws out of the wooden areas before sanding. I then cleaned the screws with sand paper before reinstalling them and before coating the chest with polyurethane.*
Third Step; Stain the wood.
After sanding, stain the wood with one light coat of the stain of your choice. For my project I choose a red mahogany.
The stain will need to dry for a few days until it is no longer tacky.
Fourth step; Polyurethane finish.
After the stain has thoroughly dried apply two (2) coats of Polyurethane to all surfaces, including the brass.
** Be sure to apply the coats thinly as any runs will be visible in the final product.
As you can see, I removed the lid to make finishing all of the surfaces a bit easier. This also ensured that I did not accidentally Polyurethane over the hinges, as this would make them stiff.
Reattach the lid and replace the old, rusted handles.
Finished project; One beautiful, functional, Treasure Chest Coffee Table.