Friday, January 27, 2012

Before and After: My Son's Dresser (and the story behind it)

Today we're going to rewind almost THREE YEARS to when this beat up old dresser came to my house. Do any of you remember the post where I said I was working on it and gave you these two teaser photos?

The poor thing was in terrible condition with a horribly scratched and chipped black paint job, and lots of damage to the veneer. For some reason, I got it into my head that instead of painting it, I was going to bring this dresser back to its former wooden glory and dove in by stripping all that paint off.
I ordered a couple of rolls of new mahogany veneer on ebay and set to work removing the veneer and underlayment entirely from the top. After searching the internet and watching some Youtube videos, I then began the tedious job of patching the missing pieces of veneer on one of the sides and the 3 large drawers.

I gave the whole thing some stain and polyurethane, and up to this point, everything had gone fairly well. Then it came time to reapply the veneer to the top. This did NOT go well. It bubbled and warped terribly and looked just awful. I was devastated. I had no idea how I was going to get it off, either.

So it sat, and sat, and sat. Then we moved and it sat some more. I know my husband was exasperated with this almost done dresser hanging out in the garage, but I couldn't just get rid of it after all the work I'd already done on it. However, I still hadn't come up with a solution for the horribly-warped-veneer-on-top problem I faced.

There's a saying about necessity being the mother of invention (or something like that), and that was how this dresser finally got some more attention from me. My kids are growing, you see, which means so are their clothes. My two sons share a room and for quite a while were sharing a dresser. But when their clothes began to overflow the dresser and just stayed in laundry baskets on the floor in their room, I realized I either needed to find them a bigger dresser, or give them each their own.

Knowing I had a perfectly good (if not perfectly beautiful) dresser in the garage made me feel a little guilty about buying something else. I searched online and discovered a method of removing glued-on veneer using a damp towel, a hot iron and a scraper and decided to give that a try. It took some effort, but it actually worked much better than I'd expected and I was able to scrape all of that bubbled veneer off and sand it smooth.

So, after that long-winded saga of a back story, here's how that banged up old dresser looks where it sits today.

The top is rough-looking, but I care a lot less than I thought I would. We reeeeally needed to use it NOW!

The wood on the top drawer is gorgeous, with some sort of tiger-striped wood in the insets and a burled wood medallion in the middle. You can also see in the photo below where I patched the veneer on the corners of the lower drawers. I suppose that unless you're working with veneer that's identical to the original, there will be some noticeable difference between the two. The stain on the new veneer went on darker, and the grain isn't quite as tight as the original stuff. But guess what- I don't mind! It's really not that noticeable in regular indoor light.

And what do you think of the knobs I chose? They're rope! I was so excited to find a bunch of these at Hobby Lobby and I think they're perfect for this dresser while it's in my little boys' room.

So there you have it. It's been 3 years in the making, but I finally have a Before and After for this cool old dresser.
Whether or not I ever get some veneer laid on the top is another story...


Unknown said...
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Ingard said...

so under the veener is a wood that cannot just be stained or varnished. I have always wondered what is under veenered pieces

becky said...

Just found your blog...i like your refinish here. I was wondering what gadget you used to make your table of contents on your side bar. I like the fact that it's neat and labels are easy to find. Are the categories created from the tags you put on each post?
Thank you...I'd like to follow you I missing a follower button or email?

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

hey sarah!!!! i just found your blog via a pinterest photo of the number dresser you made. small world we live in...thanks to pinterest! love your son's dresser re-do. the knobs are totally funky-fun!

maybe i'll see ya 'round the shop!

..fig and lottie spot...

ps: the word verification is LATER! later, gator!