When a client contacted me to revive her grandmother’s dresser, estimated at about 100 years old, I was so excited for the opportunity! Restoring old, sentimental pieces makes me swoon!! Upon seeing the dresser in person, I realized it was going to be a big undertaking. All of the drawers needed to have the bottoms replaced, one of the drawers was missing everything but the face, only one drawer was still intact, and there were guides and supports missing on the body of the dresser.
The client wanted the dresser returned to its original natural finish. The dresser was moderately damaged, with the topcoat in pretty rough shape.
Step one was putting it back together. I sorted through the pile of drawer parts until I had a plan of what was salvageable and what was not. I reassembled all of the drawers around new bottoms and secured the sides and back, creating stability. The drawer with only the facepiece left had to be rebuilt completely from new lumber.
Finally, I tackled the body of the dresser to replace guides and secure loose parts.
Once reassembly was complete, I stripped and sanded the finish. There were some “scars” that were too deep to sand out, and I decided to leave them as-is as a nod to the history and story of the dresser. For the natural look, I skipped stain and applied several coats of poly in a flat finish.
The finished dresser looks rustic and natural, but with a refreshed finish. Looks like Grandma’s dresser has many more miles in her!