Dresser - Bottom Piece

Old is New Again – Phase 1

A 30-Year Journey

It may sound weird, but the last time I had an actual dresser to put my things in was more than thirty years ago. Why? Because I haven’t been able to find exactly what I envisioned how I wanted my furniture to look. Nothing seemed to fit my sense of style.

On the extremely rare occasion when I did find something that was relatively close to what I was looking for, it was more than I wanted to spend on it. The other caveat is the fact that the quality of products in general has drastically gone down over the years while the prices have gone up.

Something I Can Work With

Dresser - Bottom Piece
Dresser – Bottom Piece

After searching for so long, I have finally found something I can work with and make it my own. I bought this old dresser from a couple who was moving for $60. Yes, it has a lot of scratches in it, a few deep gouges; but those can easily be sanded away and filled if necessary.

I knew right away that I’d be sanding away the dark stain. Once upon a time the deep cherry finish was beautiful, but it’s not what I want.

This dresser has been sitting in two pieces for the past year or so since we picked it up and I hadn’t done anything toward refurbishing it.

Until this evening. It’s Labor day weekend and this seemed like as good a time as any to get started. It’s going to take a while for me to complete this project, but that’s a-okay; it’ll carry me through the winter of needing to keep idle hands busy when I’m not working.

Top piece of dresser being refurbished
Top piece of the dresser

I’m still deciding if I will keep the top piece or not. I think the only way I will keep this piece is if I can remove a few pieces from it and convert it into what I want.

I’d like to get rid of the scalloped valance and the replace the other scalloped pieces with simple flat pieces.

Instead of keeping the shelves exposed as they are, I’d like to put sliding barn-style doors in front of them.

If I can re-purpose the top piece the way I want, I will get rid of it. Not sure if I’ll build myself another in the style I want or not at this point, but it’s still quite early in this long-term project so there’s time to decide.

Dresser Top – Before

Tonight, though, I dug out the orbital sander and started sanding away the stain on the top of the dresser. The wood beneath is beautiful and I was excited to see it. The way I plan to stain it when it reaches that point will look amazing with this wood, then grain and the knots will stand out just enough to make it a kick-ass piece. I’m not keen on the two cabinet doors on the front, so those will be removed. Again, barn-style sliding doors will be added.

Let me say this – tonight was my first time ever using an orbital sander. It made pretty quick work at removing the stain, which was appreciated.

Also, I didn’t think using it would result in basically a work-out, ha ha! I was anxious to shower when I stopped at the halfway point.  I picked it up again Sunday afternoon and finished getting the rest of the stain off the top. I was a little worried about a particularly deep gouge you can see in the before photo.

Dresser Top – After

Turns out I worried for nothing as I was able to sand it away. I’m not sure what type of wood it’s made from, but I’m assuming it’s pine. If anyone other than myself ever actually reads this and happens to know what type of wood this is, drop a comment and let me know, eh?

As the next several weeks roll in I’ll continue to sand the rest of the dresser to remove the stain. Can’t wait to get that far at least.

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