Friday, May 31, 2013

Wardrobe Make Over Part 1

 Knitting hasn't been the only thing I've been working on lately. I've been up to quite a few things recently but one of the biggest, is my new wardrobe. No, I’m not talking about wardrobe as in my clothes (although I've been tweaking those too). I’m talking about an adventure in Narnia/piece of furniture kind of wardrobe.

Before, with filial and doors off

My grandmother had been going through her things to make space for a washer and dryer on the first floor of her house. She kept them in the basement for as long as I can remember but then Sandy hit and pretty much threw that idea out the window when the flood threw the actual machines around her basement. So now she’s going to have them upstairs instead because if a flood reaches them there...well she’ll have much bigger problems then needing a new washer and dryer.

Anyway. My grandmother has had an old cedar wardrobe for decades. It was old in the 70's and it's even older now. And it’s still a good sturdy piece of furniture. But she doesn't use it anymore and didn't want to keep it. So being the adoring granddaughter we all insist I am, I asked if I could have it. She was more than happy to hand it off to some one rather than have to wait to donate it. Or worse, junk it.

Stripped. That's the filial on top.
Being as old as it is, it needed a bit of TLC. The varnish was starting to crack, the resin from the wood had slowly seeped through, creating lots of tiny little bubbles in the finish, the wood and finish had yellowed, and it had a pretty garish filial on top. There were at least three different colors of paint splotches, a bunch of bumps, scrapes, and gouges on it, and someone had clearly been tapped inside at one point and taken a pencil to the inside. If you look closely at the picture, you can see a white line about a foot up the doors that goes straight across. It has no handles and the only thing that kept the doors closed was a latch on one door and a lock and key on the other. But nobody knew what happened to the key. My grandmother always propped something in front of the door to hold it closed. It was still pretty, but with a bit of work, it could be lovely.

So after some thinking and talking, and a trip to Home Depot we decided I should strip the finish off, patch the worst of the gouges, sand the rough spots, completely ditch the filial, find new hardware for the door, and paint it.

I was pretty surprised by how easy it was to use the stripper. Pour it on, let it sit, and scrape it off. Some of the bumpy areas needed a second go round, and two really tough spots and the doors actually took three tries, but the whole thing was stripped down to bare wood in an afternoon. I actually got my first sunburn of the season that day. It was worth it though. I got a big part of the project done and I was one step closer to being finished.

What do you think? Lovely, isn't it? Have you refinished a piece of furniture lately?

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