Oh Yes!….your toss…is my gain.

Some times folks toss the best treasures to the curb, except they don’t know they are treasures. They think the item is not looking quite the way it should or broke or damaged and toss it. I now, am a wizard at reclaiming people’s castoffs I am not ashamed of driving by & stopping to pick up a piece of furniture that catches my eye. It must run in my family too because a family member has found a couple “ugly ducking” gems in the trash. I call it Resurrection and it’s fun, thrifty and the end result is complimentary to  my skills and your home.

I’m going to talk about 2 such projects  in my next two posts. The first is an old antique wardrobe that my family member found along the roadside on trash night and brought to me to ask if I could salvage it.  Of course there is no challenge to large for moi!

The Treasure Before it's Resurrection!

Now this was back in 1986, there were no digital cameras, so I have only 4 photos of the before and the after, none in between. They are a bit grainy (pun intended) but you can see how well it turned out. But nevertheless,  the methods were fun but a little time consuming.  I learned a lot doing this project, I had never worked with veneers before so this was a first for me. A quick call to my Carpenter/Cabinetmaker father and I had “Telephone Veneer 101” under my belt!  I was ready to resurrect this poor beast and I think I did a pretty good job, considering.

As you can see in the pictures the veneer on the drawers are bubbling, pieces are missing and it’s just nasty looking. I think this piece had gotten wet or was stored in a wet basement or shed.


First I removed all hardware and mirror from the frame. Then I had to use a heat gun to loosen the remaining veneers and scrape the old glue off, then I sanded the whole piece down including the drawers.  I bought contact cement and veneer, (I can’t remember what type of wood veneer it was)

Using a solid straight edge, (carpenter’s square) I cut the veneer to ¼” larger than actual size of the drawer fronts with an exacto knife on a piece of old plywood.  This stuff breaks so very easy, so if you try this go slow and be very careful. After cutting all 4 drawer fronts and now working in my garage for ventilation, I spread contact cement on the drawer fronts and on the precut pieces of veneer. Carefully “Buttering” them, much like toast but leaving about ¼” from the edge free of the cement. Waiting 15 minutes before applying them gave me time to clean my fingers with mineral spirits! Nasty, smelly stuff that contact cement!

Once the time was up I had to stick the veneer to the drawer front, not such an easy task! Remembering that my dad said this stuff sticks on contact so you have only one chance to get right! Veneer is pricey and unless you own the company you don’t want to be buying any more veneer than you have to! I decided to apply it like wall paper, starting at one side and slowing laying the veneer over the front and rolling it flat with my wallpaper seam tool  pushing out bubbles as I went.  Completing four drawers seemed like a lifetime!


Once the drawers were done and dry, I scored the veneer along the underside of that ¼” edge just slightly, not breaking it. Then took a rasp and starting at the top edge of the drawer front and sliding the rasp down over that ¼” edge gently breaking it off perfect with the edge of the drawer! AMAZING!  Then once all four were done I run 220 grit sand paper over that brand new edge to smooth any tiny burrs and then sanded new veneered fronts themselves. Then I sanded the whole wardrobe & mirror frame.


Cleaned and tacked it was now ready for stain, now since it was dark walnut to begin with

The Resurrected Wardrobe!

I used, Minwax Special Walnut stain. I put it on with a rag rubbing with the grain as always. The drawers took several coats to get them to match with the rest of the wardrobe.

Once the stain dried for a couple days, I did a quick 220 grit sanding and put it back together  then I brushed on 3 coats (3 days) of matte finish  Minwax Polyurethane, sanding lightly with 0000 steelwool between coats  and wiping with a tack cloth.  When complete I took it back to it’s new owner, my brother.  He let me take these photos, but the mirror was not attached at that time. Regretfully, I don’t have photos with the mirror on and my brother has long since sold this piece to a new owner.


Next will be the resurrection of an antique dining table that my brother found on trash night a year or so later.


I am liking “Likends” so should you 🙂



One down, one to go...

The Story of the Trashy Table…..

It was brought to me in several pieces, but I could tell it was a fantastic find. It was an antique, 5 legged table.  There were no leaves for it but it did open with slides for the insertion of leaves. There were no leaves.

Ok so the first thing I did was clean it! I noticed that there was a nice rope trim all around the edge of the table’s apron.


Laminating the top

But one side was completely missing and would have to be replaced.  Plus I had to laminate the tops back together. Simple enough, using Elmer’s carpenter’s glue and laminating clamps. Run a bead of glue along the edge of the piece to be laminated and then butt them together and put the clamps on and tightened them enough to keep the pieces flush. Wiped any excess glue with a damp rag.  Let dry over night.  Once dry I sanded off any missed glue and on to laminate the next side. Voila! Table top!

I noticed that the one of the little slider’s that mount on the big slider was missing and I would have to fashion another. Since there were no leaves, the table would probably never be opened but it needed to be there to close it once put back together, so I used a piece of pine.  I had never done one of these before. This ought to be fun!

Chiseling out the lil'slider

Using my chisels I clamped the piece of pine to the table and started carving out the little slider.  Tedious work but I managed to make one on the 2nd try and it fit perfect!

Finished lil'slider, glued and mounted to the big slider

I glued it on the edge of the table slide.  Let it dry, sanded it smooth and hoped for the best!







I managed to get the table together.  The top was somewhat “wavy” but after all it was an antique, and besides, my brother loved it.

Stained & ready for Poly

I sanded the whole table top and had the rope trim put on the missing side and sanded the 5 legs. Now ready for stain and again I used Minwax Special Walnut.  Its rich dark look would be gorgeous when finished.

Three coats of  Minwax Poly and this baby would be good to go…home!

Minwax Polyurethaned = BEAUTIFUL!





Fabulous for a trashy table!

Stunning! At home in the dining Room, Circa 1986

Looking fantastic with my brother’s beautiful press back chairs and a glass cabinet from his wife’s collection. What a beautiful arrangement of dark woods.  What makes up this room is an eclectic compromise of pieces that have never seen each other prior and an area carpet that allows those dark tones to POP!

Now this was back in 1986, I have no idea where he got those press back chairs but I know at the time, they were valued at $200 each by a friend who owned an antique store in Richmond Hill Ontario.  My brother still has those chairs and this table, they are presently at his cottage in the Muskoka’s. It makes one wonder what they would be worth today!

Thank you for dropping in.


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