We have a friend that cleans out homes after estate sales. He ended up coming across this extremely unique piece that we just had to have when we saw it. At first glance it looks like just another chest of drawers, but at a closer examination one of the drawers pulls out into a fully functional desk. If you are familiar with secretaries, then you will understand that they do not typically take this form. This piece was solid maple, and the hardware was in great shape for its age (we made sure to clean the hardware thoroughly).
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This piece gave us a unique opportunity to do something that we have yet to do, and that is to stain the entire piece. We absolutely love the combination that paint and stain bring to many pieces, but the wood grain was so beautiful on this piece from top to bottom that we determined that we did not want to hide any of that wood grain behind paint. As you can tell from the pictures, there was a pretty major stain on the top of the dresser, and a few minor scratches inside the desk part of the piece. Other than those flaws, the piece was truly in fantastic shape.
We used the following supplies on this dresser:
Because the dresser was solid maple, we were able to skip the messy stripping process and proceed to sand off all of the original finish. There are times that you do not appreciate the wood grain of a piece until after the original finish has been completely removed; that is exactly how this piece shaped out. As we usually do, we start our sanding process with our orbital sander using an 80 grit sandpaper. 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 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 stain might drip/or stain 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 with taping we stained the body and the drawers. To be honest that was the easy part of this project.
The hard part was staining the inside of the desk. There were a lot of intricate pieces to make sure were stained properly. With that being said, we are really glad that we spent the time to ensure that the entire inside of the desk was stained with the red mahogany stain.
After we stained the piece we let it set for a little over 24 hours to ensure that the stain was fully dry, then we applied polyurethane.. Poly does two things: (1) it creates a layer of protection for the drawers and body 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.
Another successful project in the books!
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.