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It should have been a straight forward refurb. Just a little oak bow top dresser. No major repairs, no bits falling off, just a little vintage bow top dresser with paw prints on the back shelves of the bow top. Either a cat had the power to walk vertically, or the dresser top had been laid on the floor at some point. Apart from the possible super-feline powers, there was nothing extraordinary about the dresser. Just a straight forward refurb, just like many other little oak dresser refurbs.

There are some nice bits of carving; very typical of vintage oak furniture and the dresser also has those attractive, but problematic ‘snake’ hinges. The said hinges are made of a soft iron and aren’t easy to remove because the threads on the little screws collapse. But equally, the hinges are a little to ornate to paint around, so ideally need to be removed, then put back after painting. Hubby removed the hinges and the cupboard doors; the earth didn’t move.

Hubby painted the top and all went ok. The base wasn’t quite so straight forward. Hubby decided to do something fancy with the carving and it didn’t work out and he had a tantrum and ignored the dresser. So Dad and I had to scrape back all the paint and I started from scratch on the carvings, Dad re-painted the rest of the base.

So, the paintwork was all fine and dandy. Dad put back the cupboard doors and I went up to the workshop to do a bit of tidying up to the dresser (i.e. to clean out the drawers and cupboards that hubby ‘forgot’ to do). I opened one of the cupboard doors and saw the little maker’s plaque upside down on the cupboard door. Yup, the doors had been put back on upside down. The carvings are identical either way round, so were it not for the plaque, the upside-downess would have gone unnoticed. I didn’t want to offend my dad, so asked hubby to swap around the cupboard doors on the quiet. He put the cupboard doors back on the right way, but dad wandered in the workshop, so the faux pas had to be mentioned.

So, with doors back on the right way around, all that was left to do was the finishing. I usually wax chalk paint, but sometimes use a matt varnish just to ring the changes. It gives a slightly different ‘look’ and it’s good to chop and change a little from time to time. Well actually it’s not good, it’s not good at all…

Dad offered to do the varnishing and I suggested he try the varnish on a small area before going ahead with the whole dresser. On occasions, I’ve had problems with varnish reacting with chalk paint and turning brown. How very clever of me to think of doing a sample patch eh! Sample patch was tickety boo the following day, so dad varnished the whole dresser. It turned brown. Think tea bags being thrown at the dresser all day, in a coconut shy sort of way and you’ve got the look just about perfect.

Dresser has been cleaned up and re-painted for the third time today. In all fairness, there was one part of the dresser that didn’t turn brown. The cup holder, sticky out things on the dresser top were just fine and showed their true ‘Almond’ colour nicely – until I got painting around them with the sage ‘Surrey Hills’, then they needed repainting because I’d thought I could work neatly at an awkward angle, but couldn’t. So, I did the painting; there’s no-one else to blame if it goes wrong. Tomorrow it will be waxed. And we’ll see what next can go wrong with the sweet little bow top dresser.

If anyone out there is a film director, I have an idea for an epic film sequel to this blog post. It’s called ‘Honey, I blew up the dresser’.

I prepped a little wash stand/console table this evening. It looked ok when I put it to bed an hour ago, but I’m taking nothing for granted…

pine wash stand

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