Saturday, July 16, 2016

An Antique Dresser with Cherry Blossoms

Sorry I've been dropping the ball hard on posting to the blog in July so far. I actually have a backlog of about five items to share with you, but haven't had the time to sit down, concentrate, and type out the accompanying posts. So here's the first of many!
         I got this dresser early this week and couldn't wait to get started on it. It's an early 20th century oak and oak veneer bow front chest and mirror. Its surfaces were all a hot mess, but its structure wasn't too too bad.
         First I had to address the top, which I hoped to keep unpainted as it has very flashy grained veneer. It had been water stained by something long ago so after sanding the top I applied wood bleach and let it sit in the sun for a half an hour. Wood bleach works like magic, and the dark water marks disappeared right before my eyes, suuuuuuper satisfying. The other problem with the top wasn't as easy a fix. At some point some jerkface took something sharp to the top and made three or four long vertical gouges across the top, going through the veneer entirely, there was no hope of sanding them out. But the rest of the top was perfect and I just couldn't stand to paint over it, just for those few unfixable gouges. To hide them I did a bit of decorative painting on the top, cherry blossoms, which I think suit the dresser very nicely.
        I've been getting a lot of questions about how I do my decorative painting on furniture tops, and to answer the most frequently asked question, no, I don't use a stencil; I just free hand sketch the branches and flowers on the sanded but unstained wood, then paint them by hand with acrylic craft paint, then I stain and seal the top as I normally would.
        I had to do a bit of work on the drawers to get them sliding nicely once more, but otherwise, the case itself didn't require much work, just some patching here and there before paint. Since the top has so much character between the graining and the cherry branch, I kept the rest of the piece very very understated with an antique white, distressed, and the original stamped brass hardware.

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