Way in the back of the shed. Off to one side; buried under an up-ended table with its matching chairs stacked on top; barely a visible corner peeking out – just enough for me to catch a glimpse.
It was meant to be. I was curiously hooked; determined to see its entirety. I did my best to work my way through the stacks of cast aside furniture for a better look. Unable to connect with it that first time, I put it to the back of my head for another attempt on another visit.
On another visit weeks later, it was still hiding in the same place. It was still unapproachable. Still there! The heavy rain of summer was now leaking on top of it. I was compelled to dry it off. Oh, I noticed for the first time that it was covered with glass! My protective instincts kicked in, I went in search of a towel to provide some future protection and to dry up the current puddle.
Initially my plan was to strip it down and stain it to match bookcases to which I had previously given a fresh “beach casual” look.
By now, you may have guessed that “it” is not a living creature. It is a classically styled ten drawer dresser. Size – big.
It was months later when I discovered it in a new spot. More visible than ever before. Previous attempts to obtain accurate measurements had failed. I saw now its impressive mass and vintage character. Big, strong feet; dove tailed drawers, brass pulls; wooded shelves between drawers and the Ethan Allen imprint.
My ‘find’ was close to home. Up the street in a small building fondly known as BC Mart by those of us fortunate enough to live at ‘the Creek.’ The mart becomes temporary holding place for many diverse collections of things and stuff that fellow residents no longer want or need. The prices are very reasonable. Money from the sales are re-invested to the residents by offsetting costs of events through the social club.
Hours of operation at the mart are limited to Wednesday mornings after neighborhood coffee and Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. each of the two days. They deliver the big things. It’s a win win situation.
The dresser was mine! I paid the full $30 for it; delivery to be arranged. It was still somewhat buried in its new location, but at least I was able to measure it and determine that it would fit in any one of the three places under consideration.
When it was finally delivered to my ‘work area’ I began the stripping process. Not as easy as I recalled from decades ago when I was going through a phase of providing old wooden furniture with face lifts. Most of those pieces were intended to be covered with some kind of cosmetic finish.
I did a cursory search for reviews of strippers available locally and headed to Home Depot. Undecided between two similar products, I relied on the expertise of an employee. The stripper brushed on easily, however the actual stripping/scraping step was not nearly as successful as anticipated. Another layer of product followed by another period of waiting. Mumble grumble.
Second trip this time to Ace Hardware (slightly disappointed with HD expertise), I purchased the other optional choice, a different scraper tool and a tin of Brasso for the drawer pulls. I figured I could clean a few while waiting for the stripper to activate. Repeat the same mistake with the same result – lack thereof. Dang it. At least Brasso works.
On the third search for effective stripper I went to WalMart. This time, a spray on ‘Citristrip’ and a slightly different scraper tool. The over-spray a little challenging to control but I could see the varnish bubbling up almost immediately. Score! The strip away was messy, but manageable.
At last, the true beauty of the natural wood’s grain was coming to the surface. Plan B, maybe C or D actually. Ok. No way I can cover this beauty with paint or stain. Back to internet search to see if there is a way to lighten the still a little too dark for my liking wood tone. Bleach!?
The residue of foamy spray-on stripper had to be washed off anyway. I added a little bit of bleach to the little bit of soap and a lot of water. Seemed to be working just fine as I scrubbed. Now, the wood needed a colorless sealer. Oil. Tung oil, not supposed to darken the wood.
The first application went on the wood during an unseasonably humid day. Let it sink in and dry. It darkened a little. Inch by inch, drawer by drawer, a little oil here and there.
The brass pulls are all cleaned; the top and one side sufficiently oiled as are most of the drawers. The pulls need to be re-attached and the final decision for placement needs to be made. The dresser is very heavy; so I need to work out how to get it inside the house off the enclosed patio too.
My next project is expected to be easier. Just need the correct pole; appropriate adhesive (ordered and received decals); good laminate coating and a deep enough hole. The best placement – and a hole digger. Namaste.