Time has not much touched this wonderful Aesthetic Movement pine dresser. It's top is still almost wholly unmarred, which for pine, well damn. The drawers still slide like butter. If they've ever run smoother than they do even today, when it's ghastly humid, I'll eat my hat. The case is sturdy as a rock. The backboard, made with yummy chunky pine boards isn't missing even a single nail.
And considering this dresser dates to right around 1880, that's pretty impressive indeed. It was built beautifully, with great care, and goes to show how long a beautiful thing, well loved but also well preserved, can last. At some point maybe thirty or forty years ago it had been refinished. Had it retained the original surface, I would have had qualms about painting it. As it was, I felt no guilt; It was scuffed and faded and deserved to be beautiful once more, to match its structural integrity. I did make one small change to it. I removed the ebony and brass drop pulls. There was one missing, and after much soul searching I decided they were just too busy for the new incarnation of the piece. To ease my conscious, they will go with the dresser to the next owner. Someone may want to put them back on at some point, and who am I to part original hardware from a chest. I did keep the spectacular stamped brass keyhole escutcheon plates, the first square ones I've ever seen!
I sanded the drawer fronts and the top and re-stained them in almost the same shade as before, perhaps a hair lighter, but with the marvel of new products I can get a depth to the grain that a refinisher a lifetime ago could not. I painted the case in a simple antique white, distressed and waxed. The "new" glass pulls are also antique, salvaged, and aren't much newer than the dresser itself. I really really wanted to keep this one for myself but I just don't have a spot, so I hope it finds a good and loving home that will see it through this century and into the next!