Restoring A Chest Of Drawers - Junk Find Makeover
I find an old chest of drawers made from sapele/sapele veneered particleboard in an alleyway close to my home. I went to pick it up in my car, and it was in pretty bad shape. The carcass was broken, it had water stains (from both rain and people not using drinks coasters!!), and it had some other defects.
I started by disassembling it, and it was an unusual construction - built in two parts...
Initially I thought I might try to convert the unit in to two separate small chests, they would have made good bedside tables. However I didn't need bedside tables, and I was quite fond of the style of the chest of drawers (and sapele is my favourite wood!) and I could definitely make use of them as one chest. So that's what I did.
I first tried to remove some of the water stains using a clothes iron. This worked out pretty well for the lighter stains, the heat from the iron seems to release the moisture that has gotten in to the old finish on the wood. I had to be pretty careful though, as too much heat would have affected the glue on the veneer and potentially make it peel,.
Next, I scraped the surface of the veneer, gave it a light sanding with some 400 grit wet and dry paper and then applied some boiled linseed oil to revitalise the wood. It looked good, so I continued!
I used some Brasso to clean up the brass on the handles and cleaned up the handles as best I could. Then I scraped off the old glue residue on the dovetail joints and re-assmbled the carcass with wood glue..
Some of the drawer fronts had some chipped veneer, so I mixed some wood glue with sawdust and a bit of stain and used this as a filler, applying it with a cocktail stick.
Finally, I finished the whole chest and drawers with a clear Briwax to add a bit more protection and a smooth, sheen finish. The chest came out really nicely, and it is now in my bedroom. I really like it.