We found this American Drew piece at an estate sale in North Carolina. The piece was generally in pretty good shape, with the exception of a few minor imperfections with the finish on the top. When we are shopping for new projects we are looking for three types of pieces: antiques that need little work (see this blog for an example of these type of pieces), pieces that we are going to completely refinish (see the twin 1 and twin 2 blogs for examples of these type of pieces), and transition pieces that we will be transitioning from its original manufactured purpose to a newly created and designed purpose (this blog and our Chevron Bench blog are great examples of this).
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During the late 80s through the early 2000s, these type of dressers were all the rave. However, they have lost favor in the modern design universe. With that being said, there were a lot of things to like about his dresser, which made it an intriguing piece for us. First, it was solid oak. Second, the hardware was actually pretty cool on it and in good shape. Third, other than having to wood glue some of the sliders back on, the drawers slid in and out of the body smoothly. The one negative was that center drawer, which made the entire piece feel extremely dated. Sydney came up with the idea to transition the dresser into an entertainment center and completely do away with the center drawer. It ended up being the best idea for this piece.
We used the following supplies on this dresser:
Our first step was to sand down the body. At this point we hadn't quite established a design for this piece, so we went ahead and sanded down the drawer that we ultimately ended up removing. As we usually do, we start our sanding process with our orbital sander using an 80 grit sandpaper. We also sand down the areas that we sanded with the orbital sander with a 120 grit sandpaper using the orbital sander. Then we use 60 grit sandpaper to make sure all of the original finish has been properly removed. Finally, we hand sand with a 120 grit sandpaper to get a smoother wood before applying stain or paint.
After we sanded the dresser down we went ahead and stained the top using dark walnut stain. Stain generally takes longer to dry, so we generally do the stained surface areas first before we start any painting. Also, as you can tell from the picture, we went ahead and removed the internal drawer slider from the center drawer slot.
Before we painted the body of the buffet we made sure to tape the inside of the of the body and the inside of the drawers. It is always important to remember to tape the inside of the body where the drawers slide in and out, and the inside portions of the drawers where paint might drip/or paint brush might touch. We will admit that this is not a necessary step, but if you want to have a re-purposed dresser that looks professional grade, then every detail matters.
After we finished taping the body and drawer we started painting. We used three coats of paint on this project.
This project was also different than most of our other projects because we were tasked with changing this piece into an entertainment center. The first step was for us to cut the solid oak boards to size using our table saw. We measured the size of the hole, and then appropriately measured the boards placing marks with pencils where it needed to be cut. We had to cut boards for the bottom, sides, and the back.
After the boards were cut to size we had to use our jig saw to cut out a section in the back of one of the boards to fit around one of the piece's support braces. The combination of the jig saw and the jig saw blades allowed us to cut through the wood like butter.It is important to note a little trick that we learned while doing this, thejig saw would not allow us to go across like we needed to, so we drilled two 5/16" holes using our drill driver and drill bit, and that allowed us to turn the jig saw so we could complete the cut.
Next, we punched two holes in the back of the piece using our drill driver and 2" hole saw so that there was a place for cords to come through. After the holes were punched, we placed the backplate boards up to the holes and drew a circle on them so we knew where to punch the corresponding holes. It is important to note that you need to be as level as possible when using the hole saw or it will jerk you around and dig up the wood.
The next phase was for us to stain the boards using the same dark walnut stain that we used on the top.
After the stain was dry we were ready to apply a coat of water based Polycrylic to both the body of the dresser and the drawers.
Poly does two things: (1) it creates a layer of protection for the furniture from everyday abuse; and (2) it creates a smooth finish. We typically apply two coats of poly, but some projects may require more. After the poly has dried we use a wet sanding technique with extremely fine sand paper to ensure that the stained areas are smooth to touch. The wet sanding process is really simple, just spray on some lemon oil and lightly sand over the stained areas with an 800 grit sandpaper (you can also do this over the painted areas, but you need to be careful not to sand too aggressively over the painted areas or you will end up with a distressed look).
We were very pleased with the result!
Josh and Sydney are life adventurers that love to learn and create. We are exact opposites and enjoy gaining new perspective. Our home is where our varying personalities shine, and we use it to gather our friends and family together.