Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

Refinished Antique Dresser

I recently refinished this dresser (see Refashion of a Different Kind) and wanted to showcase the result.

This beautiful cherrywood dresser is part of a complete bedroom set, which I’m still working on. It started out like this-dull, boring brown tone, faded with watermarks on the surface. It’s hard to tell from the after picture. It really is more of a transformation than what shows in the pictures:


Andrew Malcolm Solid Cherrywood Dresser BEFORE

And here’s how it ended up:


Dresser AFTER-the beautiful cherry wood grain really pops.

This was a LOT of work but worth every minute. I LOVE beautiful wood. Some people might paint this stuff but I always like to salvage a really good piece first. I opted to leave the original hardware on it. Antiques depreciate in value if they don’t have the original hardware.

Here’s another view:


You can see the matching bed in this picture. I didn’t do anything to it. It was in GREAT condition.

And a close up of the wood grain:


I am so happy with this. Now I have to finish off the night stands and the tallboy dresser. Still a lot of work to do!


1 Comment »

Refashion of a Different Kind

Well, this was not the way I wanted to start a refashion/sewing/thrifting blog. I had hoped to be up and running on a regular basis by now but I have good reason!

I have been looking for a bedroom suite for a very long time and I’ve just not been finding anything in the stores that is worth the money on the price tags. It all looks so incredibly cheap and poorly made. I guess we really do live in a disposable world. Oh sure, it all looks beautiful when it’s brand new but there’s something about plunking down several hundreds of dollars on some particle board/plywood/veneer/fake wood or whatever this stuff is made of, especially if it’s going to be for a teenage boy and knowing my kid-well, let’s just say he’s not the most gentle of creatures. I just didn’t see it lasting very long.

So, I found this beautiful solid cherrywood suite online and although it’s not young and hip and modern, it will last a lifetime and he actually LIKES it! I got if for a really good deal. The only problem is, the lady who sold it to me had the tops of the dressers covered in doilies and of course, I didn’t check but there are some nicks and scratches and water stains on them. The good news is that it’s genuine solid wood and constructed with dovetail joints. I know the manufacturer (Andrew Malcolm, who was quite well known quite a few years ago) and since the seller had lived in her house for 55 years, I knew it would last in mine.


I originally wanted to just lightly remove whatever varnish was on it and stain it a darker colour because I didn’t like the colour as it stood. I had done this on my oak kitchen cupboards without any issue. This is where I ran into a problem as finishes from 40, 50 years ago are not polyurethane but rather shellac, lacquer or something similar, therefore the stain did not penetrate and just beaded up-argh!!!

I found a product from Minwax called Antique Furniture Refinisher that claims to remove old finishes without stripping or sanding. Fantastic! Note, that if you’re going to do this yourself, this particular Minwax product does NOT remove polyurethane. For that you’ll have to use a different product.


Well, this is what I’ve been doing instead of sewing, thrifting and refashioning but I hope to be up and running soon. In the meantime, this project is going to take a lot of my time. So far, I’ve removed part of the top of one dresser and I was astonished to see the beautiful cherrywood underneath. I read that cherrywood does not really need staining. In fact, I can see that a simple clear coat protectant of some sort will really let the natural beauty of the wood show through. I’m so excited to get this done. I’ll post pics of the project when I’m further along.

There are some great links on how to refinish antiques. Here are a couple I’ve referenced:

How to Refinish Old Wood Furniture with Minwax

Refnishing 101 from Rachel @ Thrifty Inspiration


%d bloggers like this: