Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tall Antique Dresser Part 2

If you missed the Antique Dresser I am currently working on, be sure to check out Part 1 of this furniture revival. I really wish I had the final photos of this finished beauty for you but the repairs have taken longer than expected and since I have needed my handsome sweets' help with a lot of the repairs, this Penny Wenny has had to learn some patience.  If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that patience is totally a strength of mine. Also I never tell a lie. Ahem...

Here's what we've been up to:

After the base and drawers of the dresser were painted and completely dry, I hand sanded with medium sand paper paying special attention to the corners and high points and lightly sanding all other areas.  This does not  have to look perfect.  In fact if you try to make it all uniform it won't look aged and distressed.  Start small and if you feel like it needs more when you're done, keep sanding.  It's much easier to sand more later than to re-paint if you over-sanded.
You can see in this shot how the edges were roughened up a lot more, and how I was able to really accent the detail by sanding right over the high points on this drawer.

I like to follow with a fine sanding block to get rid of the visible scratch lines left from the medium paper. It helps to soften everything back up again and sort of blend it all back together.

Think of this as your blending brush when you apply eye shadow.  I dream about the days when I used to have enough time to actually apply 3 shades of shadow and actually used my blending brush.  My stash of MAC eyeshadow (I was a bit obsessed when I was young and had $ to spend on myself) now sits all alone in a stashed away box somewhere just waiting to be used.  Poor little dears.

Back on track.  Post sanding, I applied a very small amount of the Minwax stain I used for the top of this dresser as a glaze.  I used the same piece of canvas fabric that already had some stain soaked into the rag and lightly rubbed across the wood focusing on all of the areas where wood was exposed (to darken where it had sanded through to a lighter color) and lightly wiped in the direction of the grain and brush marks on the flat surfaces to give the piece a more worn and aged look.

Notice how light the exposed wood was that shone through before applying the stain
This is one of the many techniques I learned from Miss Mustard Seed, and as expected I love how it turned out.  Typically I age pieces with Valspar's antiquing glaze or Ralph Lauren's faux technique glaze in a deep chocolate brown tint, but this was so fast and I didn't have to spend as much time brushing on and then wiping it all back off as I typically do with the glaze.  I certainly wouldn't recommend this technique for every project, but it worked fantastically for my goal.

The exposed wood is now a much richer color

The drawers may not steal your hearts away solo, but check out the body of this dresser post sanding and stain.  H.O.T.

Next, I cleaned up my beautiful little hardware with some awesome jewelery cleaner I picked up at a Women's Show a few years ago called "Razzle Dazzle".  There are several of these on the market and I'm sure any would do the trick.  I didn't want to get my hardware sparkly clean or new looking, I just wanted to freshen them up and get rid of some of the brassy color that was hiding the gorgeous silver.

I simply sprayed each piece with the cleaner, scrubbed down with a toothbrush, wiped clean with a clean rag, and voila!

Notice how yellow it was before (on the left). 

She sure shined up purty!

I also finished the top of the dresser with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax instead of my typical regimen of Polyurethane per Miss Mustard Seed's recommendation.  This container cost about $9 at Home Depot.  Based on how much I used for the whole dresser top, this may very well last me a lifetime. :)

I dipped a clean piece of scrap canvas fabric into the wax, and rubbed onto the wood in long strokes, once again following the grain of the wood.  I was apprehensive when I first started applying based on the texture and film it seemed to leave but after buffing it in really well, it turned out gorgeous.

I wish you folks could see and feel this wood with your own eye balls.  It is truly so beautiful and perfectly smooth.  Also, I am no antique connoisseur but I like to think that these awesome squiggly lines I have in several places must be from some type of bug squiggling his way through (similar to worm holes).  Am I totally crazy?  Maybe don't answer that. Seriously though, does anyone know what these are?

Once all the exciting makeover aspects were finished, I decided to get busy working on the necessities for reviving this piece.  Although the drawer fronts and sides were in pretty good condition still, the bottoms to each drawer were very warped, cracking, and just plain icky.

We very carefully pried the backs and center supports off, and removed the panels of wood.  They were still held pretty tightly with adhesive into the grooves, so we had to chisel out the pieces that just couldn't be pulled out.

By we, I once again mean "he".  What a good partner in crime.

I replaced the old panels with brand new 1/4" thick sheets of MDF

With wood glue, a few small nails and clamps, we reassembled the drawers and let them dry overnight.  The hubbs requested that I wait at least 24 hours for them to fully dry but I just didn't have the patience.  It was only yesterday, I swear.

Next, I painted all of the original wood in the same creamy blue gray color, not worrying about the new inside panels since they will be covered shortly with decorative liners.

The paint gets to dry overnight (only because I can't do anything more until I have my liners selected) but I am headed into town tomorrow (that sounds so hick-ish... I just moved to a very small farm community after living in Salt Lake City my whole life) to pick up  something fabulous.  After that and after a few more repair items (adding stops, fixing one leg) and putting the hardware back on drawers, this baby will be finito!  Can't wait to show her off.

Thanks for enduring painfully through this novel with me.  I get loopier as the night gets darker, so forgive my ad lib comments.  Perhaps I ought to try posting before midnight on occasion.  Are any of you readers also more productive after 9 pm?  Hopefully I am not alone...


I'm sharing this project with these fabulous peeps:

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


Domestically Speaking


  1. What I see so far looks really good!! Good luck with the final push to the finish. (The squiggles are from your sander. There must have been a burr or a clogged spot on the sandpaper, and the sander made a squiggle as you worked.)

  2. Looks like a beauty, can't wait to see it finished!

  3. It is going to be gorgeous!! I have several pieces out in the garage I need to get started on. As for those lines yes, Hartwood Roses is 100% correct! It is almost impossible to not get those lines when you use a palm sander which is why I always try to just kill my hands and sand it down myself but sometimes you just gotta have that extra power.

  4. I used to get those squiggles with my palm sander all the time, and it drove me batty. I get them far less with the investment of a orbital sander. I imagine a belt sander would be even less a problem. It's looking great! Can't wait to see it all finished up!

  5. I really love the finish you are doing to this piece. It is looking beautiful. I'm really loving the weathered gray.

  6. I love the hardware- it is so pretty! I bet you are super excited to have the dresser completed!

  7. Love the look.... looks really amazing!! Isn't paste finishing wax the greatest thing ever?!

    Does your husband "get" your style? It took awhile for my husband to understand and like the distressing look but when I glaze something, forget it! It's always the same look on his face and response, "looks like it needs another coat!" He just doesn't get it!

  8. it is looking lovely! can't wait to see the final product!

  9. hahaha okay ladies I was laughing so hard when I found out the squiggles are from my sander. DANG! I was so much happier thinking they were these fabulous little centipede traces.... I suppose ignorance is bliss. Now every time I look at the dresser my perfectionist eye is going to go straight to those blasted marks. Thank you for letting me know though! Looks like I may need to invest in an orbital because I am DEFINITELY not sanding that much by hand. OY!

    Erika- you are too funny. My hubbs questioned me a lot but has quickly learned that I really do know how to make the pieces look good. He's pretty good about not questioning anymore. Your husband will get there too :)

    Thanks for all the sweet comments! She's almost finished!

  10. I know what you mean about being a perfectionist... but just think, now when you look at those squiggle marks you will remember the process of what you did and what you learned. It gives the piece more history- your history.

  11. Oh it's looking beautiful!!!
    Thanks for linking!

  12. Whitney that's so sweet.. and very true. Thanks for the thought :)

    Kristin, happy to link up! Love your blog :)

  13. I have a dresser that needs a new drawer bottom. Thanks for showing me how you did it! This is looking fabulous. I cannot wait to see what it looks like when you are done!


I can't wait to hear from you! If you have any detailed questions, please feel free to email me- LittleMissPennyWenny@gmail.com. Thanks!