Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Getting Past Extreme Filth and Grime

When this dresser appeared on Craigslist, I knew it had potential, but I wasn't sure what my vision would be for it.  

It was missing hardware and someone had started to paint one side of it and decided it was a project too big for her to undertake.  

After contemplating my vision for it, I started the prep process.  All of the hardware comes off, and it gets a good sanding.  Ug!  There was so much grease and grime on this piece that my normal process of sanding and then wiping down with soapy water wasn't making a dent in getting it cleaned up.  My back up plan for really nasty pieces is steel wool (00) and denatured alcohol.  It takes a lot of elbow grease, but it worked.  Next step was to fill in all of the dings, gashes, etc,  New holes needed to be drilled in 4 of the drawers, which meant filling in the old holes, sanding, filling, etc.  And then lastly, the inside of the drawers were equally they got the usual RPK Relove attention that I obsess about when it comes to the interior of drawers.

You want to see her in all of her glory?

I went with a 50:50 mix of General Finishes Snow White and Antique White.  I first started with two coats of their new Stain Blocker (which I absolutely love, by the way).  It sands nicely and covers beautifully.  The sides and drawers only needed 4 coats of the custom mix.  That may sound like a lot, but I sand in between each coat which does remove some of the paint.  I like for my finishes to be silky smooth and have found sanding is the key to that process.  The top, on the other hand almost did me in, with 8 coats of paint....Slow and steady wins the race, Right?  I must say, though, it is so smooth.  

I used 4 coats of Satin Poly (by General Finishes, of course) to top coat the entire piece.  Again, lots of sanding in between each coat.

Crisp, clean lines around the drawers....and glistening interiors....all ready for someone's pretties!

I love the brass ring pulls for this style of furniture.  They are from Van Dykes Restorers.  I used the same style a few years ago and loved them.

The dresser is vintage Henredon.  I loved the bamboo styled fluting on the four corners of the dresser.  Bamboo and Campaign styled furniture is very popular in our area.  I thought the Henredon designer had a tasteful interpretation of the vintage bamboo look for this piece.

Nine drawers of fabulous storage!

And now she awaits a new home..ready for another 50 years!

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. Robin, your work is always so flawless. Beautifully done.

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Mary! I always appreciate your kind comments!

  2. Gorgeous! What an amazing transformation...and a lot of hard work!

  3. Thank you! Yes, this one was particularly challenging....but I just take it one step at a time and seem to manage my way to a finished piece! Thanks for commenting!

  4. I am in awe - just gorgeous! Sanding inside all those panels must have been torture. Did you do this piece to keep or sell?

    1. Hi Corba58! I did this piece to help make her pretty again for a new home! It's hard to let them go, but my house is full! :) Thanks for taking the time to comment! ~ Robin

  5. Beautiful! The finish is so perfect--did you spray it on? Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Tabby! I did not spray it on. I do, however, sand a lot in between each coat which helps to dissipate the brush strokes. It's not as perfect as a spray finish, but it looks darn good, if you don't mind my saying so! :)