Thursday, 5 December 2013

A Tale of Two Dressers

In preparation for our move in... less than three weeks *YIKES* we've had a couple of garage sales. They have been pretty successful, but our neighborhood is a little bit out of town so when our friends asked if we would like to set up some tables by their warehouse where we would be on a major road we jumped at the chance. We sold most of what we had but Steph grabbed up these two dressers from our friends with grand ideas of a DIY project. The larger of the two was in pretty good shape, it needed some wood glue and a coat of poly to seal it but that tiger oak was just fantastic. The smaller dresser though... she had been rode hard and put away wet. Repainted so many times it was hard to even tell what was underneath...

This poor girl has got some layer cake makeup on
So first we slathered on some paint stripper designed to be used indoors, we still did it in the garage because the citrus smell is a little overwhelming, we have the cats that would get into things, and we knew this was likely to get messy! We were right. The first application of paint removed one layer of paint, sort of. As you can see below it was going to be a long fight.

After one coat of stripper we removed... part of one coat of paint.
We found out a couple of things during this venture. Plastic scrapers aren't worth a flip. If a wire brush is .99 at Lowe's it will fall apart really quick. And always buy an extra container of stripper. As best as we can tell the paint layers went as follows: beige, white, green, white, dark drown, blue, white, and a coat of lacquer on the bottom. It was like a Never Ending Gobstopper of paint.

Getting the last bits of paint from the trim
Once the majority of the paint was off, we went in with wire brushes, toothpicks, and screwdrivers to get all the little nooks and crannies clear of gunk. Then we wiped it all down with lacquer thinner and mineral spirits to clean the wood. Here and there a bit of paint was still deep in the wood grain but once stain went on these spots darkened and we think it adds a bit more vintage feel to the piece. We sanded the dresser with 120 and then 220 grit paper. Wiped it down with mineral spirits one last time and gave it two coats of Minwax Golden Oak stain. We thought it matched the other dresser pretty well, plus we already had it so no extra expense. Always a plus.

Stain being applied

Comparison of the stain color between the two dressers

I think our biggest surprise was that the knobs we actually porcelain underneath several coats of paint themselves. We just removed them and let them soak in lacquer thinner for a bit then wiped the paint off with a shop towel. The last steps were to apply some polyurethane to seal the wood, we used a Minwax spray poly, but honestly if I had to do it over again I would just brush it on. The spray has a lot of over spray and I felt sticky after each coat. Even using two cans on the dresser in about five coats, the finish is not as smooth as I would like it to be. I also feel like you get much more for the cost with paint on.

Look at that tiger oak, isn't it awesome! When we were working on re-gluing the drawers in the larger dresser, we tipped it over and found a neat surprise. At some point someone replaced the base of the dresser with an enameled metal sign for a suit shop in Shamrock, Texas.

Don Play Suits in Shamrock, Texas
The bigger dresser was used to strange a coffee bar for our open house and I think its pretty dang cool. We picked up a mirror on clearance at Kirkland's and everything else was swiped from other parts of the house.

Make mine a non-fat cafe latte with whip!

And just one last detail, the inside of some of the drawers was a little yuck, we debated on painting them all white inside or something neutral, but decided on a vintage shelf paper pattern. Its a pain to cut it to the curved drawers, but I think it looks great.

Project Complete!