Q&A / 

Old Dresser Remodeled & Refinished

Joy Davis returns with a second Before and After Project. A while back, she refinished a Night Stand. Click here to read and see that project.

This time, Joy is reworking and refinishing an old dresser. Here is what she had to say about her project.

"We had an old dresser that I had painted black almost thirty years ago. It had a missing drawer and odd slots above each set of drawers. It also had a deep toe kick that was kind of unusual for a dresser. I recently decided to fix it up.

This dresser had a twin that had all of its drawers and I redid that one also but I did not do it the same. First, I started this dresser by making a new drawer. Then I fashioned feet for the front to minimize the tipping forward problem it had. I also had to fill in the odd slots. This dresser and it's twin were originally one back to back unit that had been used in a Mental Hospital.

The plywood that someone had put on the backs of the dressers when they cut them apart was not nice looking, smooth nor square. So I had to sand and plane it to make it not stick out on the edges and top. After the sanding and planing, I painted it with a primer and then two coats of wall paint that I had sitting around.

I also looked up and studied how to make fake wood grain. In the picture of the drawer face, you can see the fake wood grain design. I bought a small tool to make the wood grain pattern with. I used Gel-stain I had left over from a different project. Then after it was completely dry, I added two more coats of the same gel-stain with a brush. Then I finished with two coats of water based, crystal clear, Minwax Polycrylic.

It looks great and most people do not know that it is not stained wood. The only thing I bought for this project was the wood grain tool for 5 bucks and the new drawer pulls."

Joy Davis

Below are the pictures Joy provided of her project. The finished dresser doesn't look at all like the original. Nice refinishing job, Joy.

The dresser with the missing drawer. Before the project begins.

The dresser with the missing drawer. Before the project begins.

Dresser with the holes patched.

Dresser with the holes patched.

Close-up of the drawer front with its fake wood grain design.

Close-up of the drawer front with its fake wood grain design.

Joy's finished dresser with the replacement drawer, a new finish and the new pulls.

Joy's finished dresser with the replacement drawer, a new finish and the new pulls.

If you want to submit pictures and the story behind your project, CLICK HERE to go to the Before & After Submission Page.

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5 Responses to Old Dresser Remodeled & Refinished

  1. Nice refinishing job! It looks beautiful! With the slots above (cutting boards?) and the toe kick at the bottom, I wonder if this might not have started life as a kitchen cabinet. Just a thought...

    • As for the origin of this dresser, I was told it had come out of a mental health institution. It had been half of a large unit. The two dressers were back to back. I was told that the slots were for the nurse to pull out a flat thing to set her clip board on. ( for get what they are called). I do not know why they had deep toe kick places but with two dressers back to back they could not fall forward. The person who gave them to us had cut them apart to make two separate dressers out of the unit. He had nailed ill fitting plywood on the backs and used them for a while that way before giving them to me.

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