How To Refurbish Old Furniture: A Damaged Dresser Gets a Second Chance

How To Refurbish Old Furniture: A Damaged Dresser Gets a Second Chance

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Cate Henderson
Aug 28, 2017
(Image credit: Cate Henderson)

As the popularity of mid-century modern furniture has risen, so have the prices. Finding an "MCM gem" for anything less than a few hundred bucks has become rare, so I practically did a double take when I stumbled on a Facebook listing for a four-drawer, tapered-leg dresser for a shocking $20. But on closer inspection I saw that the price was indicative of severe damage. It was riddled with chipped veneer and was missing a huge splinter of decorative trim — but not altogether impossible to fix...

(Image credit: Cate Henderson)

After doing some research and watching some very helpful YouTube videos, I discovered that it wasn't a lost cause. I could fill in the chips and even rebuild the missing section of trim with some high performance wood filler and a hardening agent.

(Image credit: Cate Henderson)

I followed the instructions on the can of mold-able wood putty and sanded and sculpted the repaired sections until they matched the contours of the remaining trim. And after adding a coat of paint, I was pleased to find they were practically undetectable.

(Image credit: Cate Henderson)

Adding the brass hardware was the final touch that brought the piece back to life. The hardware was actually meant to be mounted to a drawer front, but by flipping them upside down and mounting them onto the lip of the drawer, I could turn them into vintage-inspired finger pulls.

(Image credit: Cate Henderson)

The end result is a dapper double-breasted gentleman's chest.

(Image credit: Cate Henderson)
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