This dartboard cabinet and board has lived at my parents’ house since I was two. It’s had a hard life and the last 10 years spent in my father’s garage didn’t do it any favors either. So it was time for a little restoration and rebuild.
I have always loved the front doors on the cabinet and they are really what I was interested in saving. They really hadn’t taken that much damage over the last 30 years, but were in need of some serious TLC. Whatever finish that might have been on it has long since been out of service, but other than that on the whole the solid walnut doors survived pretty well.
The one exception is a nasty split on the left door that keeps getting bigger over the last few years, so it’ll need to be taken care of.
The cabinet, for lack of a better word, is shot. Too many near-misses and rough treatment in decades past have rendered it unserviceable. Not only can I not repair it, but the frame is basically not structurally sound anymore and will have to be completely replaced.
I began the restoration with the doors. After removing them from the box the first order of business was to take care of that nasty split in the left side door. It was a bit messy; however the best way I could think to fix it was to get as much glue as far down the split as possible and clamp it together – making sure not to squeeze all the glue out when I applied force.
Then, for good measure, I drove two 1” brads in from the top at an angle to help secure the two pieces and set it aside to dry.
Next came sanding. I wanted to keep the paint work on the front and the overall character of the doors intact as best I could. It’s the entire reason for messing with the piece in the first place, so I carefully started hand sanding with 80 grit to remove any previous finish and smooth out rough spots. After the 80 grit came a careful round of 220 grit to remove the sanding marks from the round before.
When I was happy with that, a light wipe-down with mineral spirits is a good way to remove all the sanding dust and see what you’re actually working with. A few touch-ups here and there and I was ready to move on to finishing.
Any number of finishes would have worked here. I seriously considered tung oil but in the end opted for natural-colored Danish oil. It would keep all the character the doors have but bring out the vibrancy of the grain and help protect against this issue happening again. I’m also going to lay a few coats of wipe-on poly over it after it cures — Danish oil is practically made for that particular one-two punch.
It’s really turning out well so far. I’m uber-pleased with the color of the first door and how well it responded to the refinish, and I await the same results with its sister door once the glue dries.
Next time it’s on to replacing the cabinet itself from some walnut I have lying around the shop.