My first attempt at restoring.

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Blog entry by irishhandyman posted 07-01-2008 05:25 AM 811 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After spilling coffee on this I desided it was time to attempt to refinish this piece of furniture.
It was brought to this house in a covered wagon around 1920. It’s a shame it can’t talk because
it has seen a lot of history.

Now I cant take credit for all the stains that has befallen it. I have to admit I had my fair share
of mishaps, but not all. I’ll leave that for other family members.

I could tell from what little of the grain that was able to be seen, that it was oak. The drawers were
due for a rework. The bottom was falling out of one and the other drawer was flimsy. The LOML
uses it in the kitchen for cookbook and utensil overflow. I think grandma would approve.
After I dug out the sanders and began to liberate the the wood from the years and years of varnish
and oil that had been applied, the wood was in good shape. Very few dents, scratches and what you
would expect for a piece so old and moved from room to room in our house.
My first thought was I would never be able to break it down without destroying it. After sanding for a
while I could see with a little patience and careful work I could take it completely apart. Luck of the Irish
comes in so handy sometimes. ;-)

Thank goodness for clamps that can be used as spreaders. They were the ticket for this.
Notice the little wheels, they are wooden.

Now on to what was under all the years of crud and stains.

After sanding the sides of the top I found the top was made of 4 seperate pieces, no big surprise.
What did surprise me was that instead of being straight edged and glued up, the pieces were T-G.
Small T-G I might add. I didn’t know they made T-G that small. I tried to get pictures, but I dont have
micro on my camera.

Well after a few hours and several pieces of sandpaper and a quick assembly I just had to know what it all looked like so far. I used up all my patience supply on taking it all apart. LOL

Ok now lets speed up time a bit. I started out at about 7 a.m. and had it all broke down. sanded, cleaned
off and all dust removed. Its about 5 p.m. and I have one coat of wipe on poly on everything except the
drawer fronts.

Now for tomorrow challenge, redo the drawer sides, end, and bottom. I would love to replace
the drawer sides with oak, but poplar will have to do since I have it on hand. More to come.
Not to bad for one days work. Now to catch up on not eating lunch or even taking a tea break.

-- God bless the men and women who protect our counrty.

5 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4644 days

#1 posted 07-01-2008 03:11 PM

I can’t wait to see the finished project. It looks great so far.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View lazyfiremaninTN's profile


528 posts in 4497 days

#2 posted 07-01-2008 03:37 PM

Looks great, I am doing a trunk that is in similar beginning condition. Keep up the good work and keep letting us know how it is going (so I can get ideas)

-- Adrian ..... The 11th Commandment...."Thou Shalt Not Buy A Wobble Dado"

View irishhandyman's profile


96 posts in 4221 days

#3 posted 07-02-2008 03:41 AM

Thanks Todd, and lazy. Today was spent working on the drawers. The larger drawer needed a new bottom.
I dont know what was in it before, but what had been put in was pretty lousy. I hated to do it , but I had to replace the bottom with 1/4’’ ply. Other than the bottoms its all solid wood. I sanded the drawer sides down today and discovered they were cherry. I almost fell over. After I got all the drawers fixed and put back together I gave it another coat of wipe on poly. The entire piece has 3 coats of poly. Between coats I used 0000 steel wool. I didn’t want to completely cover up the grain. I like to be able to feel the texture and yet have a finished look. This is just my personal preference. While working on the drawers and reassembly of the cabinet, I gave the top a total of 4 coats of the poly treatment. I figured I better since I have this thing of not being able to pour coffee and get it all in the cup. ;-)
I didnt take any pictures today, just to busy. I even managed to get my son to help me with using the steel wool between coats. I do have it fit together and drawers in and top sitting on top. I dont have any glue nor screws in it. I sure like the way it has come together. The only bugger on the whole project is the knobs. I think they are pine. I wish there were some ‘turners’ close by. I would gladly trade some Oak, Ash, and some Hickory for 4 Oak knobs. LOL. Anyway. tomorrow will be final assembly then a few coats of Johnsons Paste Wax. Mostly for the top and the side closest to the coffee pot.
I think I have done a okay job. Considering all I have to work with is a couple of sanders, one is an OLD
Black and Decker 1/4 sheet and a newer Makita orbital sander. If I would have had the time and money, I would have used a stripper to remove all the deeply imbeded stains. I did come up with some new to me ideas on how to get some glued pieces apart and not destroy the pieces. I will post pictures and any new details tomorrow. This turned out to be a 14 hour day and I am pooped.

-- God bless the men and women who protect our counrty.

View bbqking's profile


328 posts in 4268 days

#4 posted 07-02-2008 06:57 AM

I didn’t know they still had covered wagons in 1920. Still, an excellent restoration in progress. bbqKing

-- bbqKing, Lawrenceville

View irishhandyman's profile


96 posts in 4221 days

#5 posted 07-02-2008 02:47 PM

LOL @ bbqking! Well in this part of So. IN there were lots of people using wagons up to the early 40’s.
But the real interesting thing was Dillenger was known to harbor in the area. It was even believed he was planning a bank job but didnt think anything was in the vault. LOL.
Ok now for something different. IT’S DONE!
The pictures don’t do it justice. Saying that….here we go.

I had to add my own personal touch to the top. Someone over the years had nailed down the back of the top and left holes and reminders of missing the nails a few times with the hammer. It is Oak as well.

The pictures don’t do justice to the Cherry drawer sides. There is a lot of luster there that the camera wont pick up.

I think it all turned out fairly well for my first attempt at restoration. Its not perfect by any means, but its good enough for who its for. LOL Thanks for all the comments folks. Now for the next project. Hmmmm, wonder what the LOML will think of next?

-- God bless the men and women who protect our counrty.

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