Thursday, August 30, 2012

Refinishing a Vanity

I've never refinished or restored anything before. That is, until a couple days ago! Our Aunt and Uncle just moved and pulled this gorgeous old style vanity out of their storage unit. They had stripped it, so I was glad to not have to do that work. Still, there was plenty left to be done! These two end pieces have a large full length mirror standing between them with two side mirrors that swing out from the large one. Below is the middle piece that goes in between the two above (down near the legs) and as you can see, it's in pretty sad shape. The veneer top was peeling off, and the board was basically broken in two. I ended up going to Home Depot with the board and showing it to a guy there who said 1) that they don't make furniture like that anymore, (ever so helpful) b) I might be able to glue it back together, (slightly sketchy sounding) and c) if I didn't want to do that, I could get a plywood board the same size that could do the job just as well. (totallly lame)

 I ended up choosing sketchy over lame and impossible, so, last Saturday, I spent several hours working on this piece(s) of wood. I was able to pull off most of the rest of the veneer and then used a mud scraper to chisel off the rest. And then for the sanding. You might be able to see the horrible water/glue marks in the wood in the picture, and they definitely took a long time to get out. But what was even worse was that we naturally dinged the boards as we were scraping off the veneer strip, so I spent ever so long sanding those. I was clever and did it in the kitchen while it was raining outside, so
that the dust would get everywhere. Every time I think all the dust has settled, I look at the kitchen counters and see them speckled once again. However, all my hard work paid off because after all the sanding and gluing (which was actually the easiest part of the whole process) and coats of polyurethane, the board looks fantastic! (See pictures of it all put together beneath.)

The other thing that took forever was the cleaning of the brass handles and drawer pulls. They were really old fashioned and I knew I wouldn't be able to run down to Walmart and get some cheap replacements, so I looked up online how to clean brass. Lo and behold, vinegar was among the highly recommended home solutions! So I dumped them all in a bowl of vinegar and took a toothbrush (an old one) to them after a long soak. The difference was unbelievable! They went from being completely brown, tarnished, and rusty to this! ------>

Sorry about the flash circles in the bottom picture, but you can still see pretty well how it turned out. All in all, it was several long days of hard and tiring work, but SO worth it in the end! I think it is such a lovely, unique piece...which is especially fun to have in the midst of our "free/cheap stuff from craigslist" collection.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You did an amazing job of restoring it. You're right, it's a beautiful and unique piece, and the work you put into it makes it mean even more to you. Well done!