Vintage Fun

Have you ever looked at a piece with great bones, only to find rippled or missing veneer and decided it’s not salvageable?  This is a common problem that often lands otherwise beautiful furniture in the landfill, but it doesn’t have to! Repairing veneer damage on a solid piece is entirely possible with a little bit of prep work, a few tools, and some elbow grease.

 

These great dressers provide good examples of repairable veneer damage that almost left them both homeless.

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Wood veneer is quite common on vintage furniture; but what is it?  Wood veneer is a thin slice of real wood – often from a rare or otherwise expensive cut of wood with striking grain or coloration.   This is applied over a strong base of a solid, often less attractive species of wood that creates the structure of the furniture.  The wood veneer basically dresses up the structural bones of your furniture.

Below, you can see wood veneer that has been damaged over the years from moisture which has loosened it from it’s base and caused warping or rippling in the delicate wood covering. But all is not lost!  There are some beautiful, salvageable veneers on these dressers and the bones are healthy and solid!

 

 

Sometimes, a slightly lifted veneer layer can be re-adhered to the base with wood glue and a syringe; however this damage was beyond repair, so it needed to be removed: remember, there is a solid wood base under that thin damaged layer, so removing veneer will not harm the structural integrity of the furniture.

Since it is thin, wood veneer can be carefully scored with a razor to remove only the damaged portion (above). Next, a putty knife can be used to gently separate and lift the damaged wood from the base (below).

You definitely want to use gloves and safety glasses for this step to prevent splinters!

The area is then leveled up with wood filler and sanded smooth.

Once it’s smooth, the surface is ready for a finish coat.  I have not found a filler that takes stain well, so I plan on painting the patched areas.

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We decided Fusion’s  Midnight Blue was a good choice for these dressers as it would show off the wood and vintage handles well.   The exposed wood was cleaned with TSP Alternative and Mineral Spirits before being rejuvenated with Hemp Oil.

 

 And there you have it – salvaging gorgeous pieces by simply investing some time to remove and repair damaged veneer!

 Purchase this dresser!

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Liming Finish on Rough Antique Pine Dresser

I’d been itching to use Fusion’s White Stain & Finishing Oil as a Liming finish, and when I came across this previously stripped antique yellow pine dresser, I knew I had found the perfect piece! The previous owners had it professionally “dipped” to strip off the existing paint with every intention of refinishing it.  That’s a familiar prelude for many of us! After years of sitting and moving from residence to residence, they finally needed it out of the way.  By then, it was quite musty, battered, and generally “rough”.  A liming finish would seal and protect it, but also highlight it’s character rather than try to mask it.

The overall construction was fantastic, but definitely “rustic”.


Fusion’s Stain and Finishing Oil (SFO) is a penetrating oil stain that soaks into the grain, in addition to an oil-based topcoat to seal and protect.  Stain and Sealing in One step!

To use SFO on raw wood, I simply brushed it on, let it penetrate the wood for a few minutes, and then wiped back the excess.  Below you can see the process and half of the drawer wiped back with one coat.  I decided this was still too yellow, so I simply waited a day for it to dry, and then applied a second coat – brush on/wipe off.

Below, you can see the difference one coat makes on the drawer front and the dresser top.

Now for that musty smell…every single interior surface got a generous shellacking! Shellac is the only surefire way to seal smells away from your belongings.  The important part about sealing musty dressers is to brush or spray shellac on the underside, interior, exterior of each drawer (every side but the front) in order to completely trap odors away.  The interior body of the dresser should also be sprayed or brushed because it can also trap smells.

Here is the finished piece after it’s second coat.  It was That Simple!  One step Stain & Finishing Oil and a bit of shellac! It was a great way to update and bring out some of the details while preserving the character of this piece.

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This piece found its new home quite a while ago, but we have more unique refinished pieces available on our Facebook page Furniture Albums and our  Online Store

Fusion’s Stain & Finishing Oil comes in a variety of stains to highlight and show off your wood grain. SFO Colors

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things; Missing Veneer, Broken Handles, Mysteriously Absent Trim

This project is True to our Mantra:

Revive. Refresh. Restore.

BEFORE

This duo was on it’s last stop before the trash heap, so despite having no room … they came home with me.   After further inspection, most of the parts were contained in the drawers, and the interior was in great shape!  Bonus!!

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Transformation

Whenever someone suggests that simply slapping paint on wood shouldn’t take too much skill or time…. I recall how every clamp in my shop was doing double duty for weeks splicing these dressers back together.  And did you ever notice how a dresser seems to triple in size once you remove the drawers?  Then comes the washing (inside and out) dewaxing (yes, that is an invented word), and lightly sanding wood filler and years of blemishes.  Each drawer interior then gets cleaned and sealed, often with hemp oil for an invisible finish that freshens up the interior wood to look like new.

 

Midnight Blue to the Rescue

One of my all-time favorite FUSION Mineral Paint colors, Midnight Blue is the perfect Little Black Dress for just about any piece of furniture.  To obtain a smooth finish, I used a microfiber roller and a handmade Staalmeester Ultimate One brush for the Perfect Finish! I highly recommend the Staalmeester Ultimate brushes; with the caveat that you may never be able to go back to using a ‘common’ brush.

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Tip Top

I’m partial to the look of real wood on the top of my dresser, so after piecing veneer back into place (the ultimate puzzle!) and patching some spots on the tops, I used the subtle opacity of FUSION’s new Double Espresso Gel Stain to camouflage the repairs while providing a durable wood finish.  This product is great – especially for a piece that may not take well to sanding off the old finish to raw wood due to the veneer’s fragility.

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AFTER

 

Capturing the true color is challenging in my space, I’ll keep trying to get a good glamour shot – but the After is definitely an improvement, even with substandard lighting.  Along the way there was a brief trip to Rochester’s ReHouse Architectural Salvage to secure a single matching handle to replace a missing piece….that place is a life saver!!!

All of the products and tools used on this project are available for purchase (along with how-to instructions) at our shops on Monroe Ave in Brighton and Ridge Road in Sodus as well as at our online store;

https://lakeside-restoration.myshopify.com/

What projects have you painted in Midnight Blue?  We would Love to see them – share them below!!

Coming Along…

These 2 dressers were made by Star Furniture Company from Jamestown, NY.  The company went out of business in 1929 so these dressers were crafted sometime in the 1920’s.

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Overall they were in decent shape, however there was some missing trim that needed to be replaced and some that was barely attached and needed to be secured.  There was also a lot of wax on these pieces so abundant odorless mineral spirits were used and the pieces were given an all-over light sanding.

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I applied one coat of FUSION Mineral Paint Concealer to build a base layer and then it only took 2 coats of Fusion Raw Silk (my all-time favorite neutral white) to complete coverage.

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After that, I very lightly distressed a few strategic places with sandpaper to highlight a few of the details and then applied Fusion Antiquing Glaze to further enhance details.

  Although Fusion has a built-in top coat and cures hard enough to handle lots of wear and tear, I tend to treat horizontal surfaces roughly and therefore assume others do too.  So, I treated the top with a couple of coats of FUSION Tough Coat just to make sure stains and things will never mar the top of this piece.

Lastly, a little clear wax on the drawer edges to ensure continued smooth sliding and she was finished!

 

 Next comes the sister dresser with the attached mirror…

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Provincial Dresser Makeover

This dresser project has been many many many months long.  She has actually been completed for some time now, but I hadn’t gotten around to taking her “After” pictures until just recently.

Here is where she started; A room full of project furniture…of course.  Try to ignore the rest and focus on the tall, yellowish French Provincial dresser to the right of center.

 

imageShe was so very tired looking but was a quality, solid wood piece and very well constructed.  The whole set of provincial bedroom furniture came from the original owners so there were no loose joints or missing pieces to contend with.

 

We decided to upgrade my daughter’s dresser (which had been a roadside find) at our summer cottage and replace it with this one.  There are also two matching twin head/footboards that will eventually go into her room once they are revived.  The only problem was trying to fit the furniture style into the relaxed family cottage.  I’m not fan of distressed shabby furniture, so this would be an interesting cognitive exercise for me.

I like natural wood accents on my painted furniture projects, so the first step was easy – strip the top and see what was under there! The sweet cherry wood under that factory paint finish was then stained and sealed.  I painted the body of the dresser creamy white (FUSION Mineral Paint Casement) and struggled a bit with what to do with the details.  Paint a darker cream to highlight the features? A deeply contrasting color?  Leave it all white (my significant other liked that idea).  How to make it fit into the cottage…

 

 After a few false starts I finally used FUSION’s Little Whale from their Tones for Tots line.  Turns out to be a very cottagy (is that a word…it is now) accent color.

 A little taste of Before and After.

 

 

 

 

I really like the way this turned out!  I had originally planned to paint the hardware a brushed steel color, but frankly we needed the dresser installed STAT!  I had already passed along my daughter’s old dresser and her room was turning into one big pile of homeless clothes.  So I put the original handles back on with plans to update the finish later (we all know how that works…).  But I think the contrast has grown on me – I like them just the way they are.  And I’m not just saying that because I think I’ll never get to the task of refinishing them.  Really.

If you look closely, one of the updated provinIMG_3138cial headboards is to the right of the dresser (painted in the same Little Whale blue)  – but that will be for another blog post – and once the other bed is finished!

 

 

What are your thoughts about the hardware color?  Would you have chosen a softer or bolder accent color to go with the style of the lakeside cottage?

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Rethink the piece. Revive the parts. Restore the function.

All products used to complete this project can be purchased at our Online Store https://lakeside-restoration.myshopify.com/

or our brick and mortar locations;

Vintage Matters 7060 Ridge Road, Sodus, NY OR Lakeside Restoration 1476 Monroe Ave Rochester, NY.

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