Dresser Renovation Part 1

Hey Everyone!  The time is here, time for some dresser renovation!  If you've been following me on instagram you may have seen a horrible looking red dresser that needed tons of love.  Well after a TON of love it's done.  For a while I had been looking for something for my dining room.  I was planning a dining room renovation.  If you haven't seen the beginning, you can see it here.  Full renovations will be shown soon!

One day on trash night I was on my way home and saw this dresser beside the road.  I was a minute from home and had the carseats in the car, so I asked Josh to help me unload the car seats and go get the dresser.  He brought it home and gave me one of those looks like, "really?".  I said "trust me, it'll be great once I'm done with it".  It was rough, and I mean rough with a capital R.  The top had been drilled through for wiring I'm guessing.  A chunk was missing of the edge.  It had been painted a horrific red color on the outside.  The drawers were fine, just needed some wax.  Here is what it looked like before I got to work.

What I was envisioning was a stained top and a painted gray bottom, to match the other decor in our dining room.  So to start, I needed to strip the top of the dresser of the paint that was on it.  I found that it had originally been painted a blue color before it was even the red color.  Here it was before I stripped it.

You can see in the top picture how someone had drilled into it.  The bottom picture you can see that chunk missing out of the edge on the right.  Nothing a little wood putty and diligence can't fix!  

Here's me stripping away.  It's a tedious process, but well worth it.  I've stripped a whole dresser before, it's not fun!  So I did not want to do all that for this one.  If you want to, you go right ahead.  I used Tuff Strip Paint Remover.  It's extremely caustic, but it does the job and really well!  Don't forget to wear the heavy duty black gloves to protect your hands.  The ones that say don't use stuff that you'll need these gloves for.  Even with the gloves after a while my hands started burning.  Also don't forget to wear a mask and protective glasses.  Very important!

What you'll do is take a disposable container and pour a small amount of stripper in the container.  I used scouring pads for this job.  Take the scouring pad and smooth it on a small area.  Let it sit for a minute or so, you may see the paint start to bubble up.  If it does bubble, take a scraper to it.  The scraper is handy for when you're taking chunks of paint off, but the scouring pad is great for when you're getting all nitty gritty.  The Tuff Strip directions say to wait 5 minutes and then scrap off.  I've never found this to be the case, it's always dried up on me before that time.  You want to work in small areas quickly because the Tuff Strip does dry up and then you're paint re-dries onto your furniture.  So make sure you have rags to wipe away paint as you go so it doesn't re-dry on your project.

When it's all stripped this is what I got.

What are those square boxes on the top.  I have not a clue, but was hoping that the stain would cover them up.  My guess is that there used to be a hutch kind of thing on it originally back in the day.

I got as much stain off the top and edge as I could.  Then it was time to sand it.  I sanded and sanded as much as possible to try to get the square outlines off the top of the table. But it just wasn't going to happen.  Sanding is essential if you want your paint to stick to any subject.  I used a heavy grit sandpaper to sand this dresser. I even sanded the edge of the chunk that was missing so that it would give something for the wood putty to adhere to.  It took time and effort, but again, worthwhile.  Here it is after a good sanding. 

I found there were keyhole inserts had been painted over along with the rest of the dresser.  When I sanded the dresser they shined out nicely.  One of the drawers was missing a keyhole insert.  Will have to find one of those some day.  There seemed to be some kind of lock and key part to this dresser.  Don't know what purpose it served, but it was cute, so I decided to keep it and try to accentuate it.  One day I'll remove any paint from the outside of the keyhole and rub n' buff some silver/nickel onto them and replace the missing one.

The key locking system looked like the picture on the left.  The picture in the middle shows the drawer that's missing a keyhole insert.  The picture on the left shows what the keyholes looked like after a quick sanding.

The next step was to start wood puttying.  Here is the top of the dresser where the holes were after it had been puttied.  It took a few times to putty this part, sand it smooth, re-putty, and sand it smooth again.  I was essentially rebuilding the edge of the dresser, which had to be done in layers.

The drawers and rest of the dresser also needed to be wood puttied.  The drawer handle holes were puttied.  The inside where the drawer handle holes had been was chipped into the face of the dresser.  Someone that it was a brilliant idea to chip away the inside of the drawer to get the handles to fit on.  I intended getting the right length screws for my dresser.

The dresser after some wood putty.

 It needed a lot of work!

Stay tuned for more on Friday on how the dresser turned out!

Have fun!


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