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This old dresser has been handed down through two generations of my family before I had it. It’s close to 50 years old and has been reworked more than once. It has no particular value save its clothes-holding properties. It has been in my bedroom for close to 30 years and it’s time for a change – preferably to something a little less Sgt. Pepper. It was time to overhaul this piece again.

As you can see this dresser has seen its share of beatings — admittedly some of them were at my hands — and the hardware has been replaced at least three times. The last time was my fault; when my mom asked what I wanted for new knobs, I answered brass because it was shiny (I was ten) and she dutifully stuck sixteen brass knobs on it to create what you see here.

Trying to make up for my past assault on design and fashion as a kid, the first thing I did was rip the brass off it. Once that was done I began to take a look at the construction of the dresser itself. Here I was lucky — the whole reason it had been passed down so many times was that it was and still is, in solid shape as furniture goes. No squeaks, creaks, cracks or holes were anywhere to be found. It just looked pretty horrible.

Somewhere along the line it had been painted brown. To get that old paint out of the veneer was more trouble than it was worth, so I opted for a rebuild and covering mod that would allow me to change the overall look as well as the trim while covering some of the nasty dents and chips that occurred over time.

I stripped all the front trim off using a chisel and hammer, then knocked the rough edges off with a sander for a nice smooth fascia to work with.

Once that was out of the way I was pretty much free to do as I saw fit. A 1/4 oak veneered ply panel was added to the sides and I made some solid oak strips to replace the old trim that was on the front. A little time with the router had the outside edges of the trim looking good.

I cut the top from a piece of 3/4 scrap of veneered oak I had lying around and added a little trim to that to start to work it into the rest of the piece. A few pieces of veneer to the front face of each drawer and the unit is coming together quite nicely.

All that remains is to finish the trim pieces out and add a footer band, and then it’s on to hardware and stain. It’s not a bad start for a day’s worth of work but hopefully the effort and resulting bit of furniture will help ease my transgression against the furniture gods in my younger years.


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