Dressing Table Rescue

I got a message from my local friend asking “Do you want?” attached to a photo of a rather sad looking dressing table, left out in someone’s front garden looking for a new home. I’m a bit of a sucker for forgotten things that need a bit of love and I was in need of a new project and began my rescue work.

The dark varnish was badly scratched and it was the type of stuff that came away if you scraped a finger nail over it. The sort of thing people used to scratch their names into on old school desks. I figured I would just get scraping…

Okay – it took a pretty long time, I hurt my thumbs and I broke a scraper, but I made progress. Eventually the lighter wood was visible, and the lovely grain was showing. But the piece needed some tidying. All that scraping meant I needed to do a bit of sanding – and it quickly gave me good results!

In order to scrape and sand effectively I’d taken of all the tarnished handles from the drawers and I wondered what could be done to bring them back to life. The answer? Brasso, wire-wool, elbow grease – and it certainly made a difference!

Next up was the two white drawers. Had they always been painted? A quick Google around seems to suggest that they were like this originally. I tried sanding them back to see if they matched with the rest of the wood, but quickly discovered that the paint was firmly lodged in the grain of the wood, the wood was different, and then found it was actually only a thin veneer (which I realised when I damaged it.. oops!).

I decided that I would just repaint the drawers, but I wasn’t so keen on the greyish white they started out as, and instead went for a grey colour instead. Painting and varnishing is always the fun bit – you start to see a piece really coming together and all that hard work prepping the piece starts to make sense.

The legs still needed a touch-up and I decided that I didn’t want them to be super shiny so I made use of some leftover chalkboard paint to give them a nice matt finish. I might need to go over that with a dash of clear matt varnish to stop it scuffing I guess. I also had a go at polishing the bottoms of the feet with brasso, and I lacquered all the handles etc to prevent them tarnishing immediately.

I was impatient to know what the finished piece would look like, but also wasn’t 100% sure on the grey of the drawers. They needed a second coat, so I opted for a different shade that I had, a slightly greeny-bluey tint to it. See if you can spot the difference!


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