Monday, May 6, 2013

DIY Project Dresser: Mission Complete!

I did it! Not without sweat and almost a few tears, but it's done! My first furniture refinishing project I told you about a couple weeks ago.

Let me just first start by saying that perfectionists are not meant to refinish furniture. But I hand sewed a couple small basement curtains (really poor job, but whatevs) and I could care less about that finished product. But the dresser? Yeah, it needed to be pristine. Because it's not like we'll open and close it nonstop and bang stuff into it from here on out, right? 

Hah. Riiiiight.

Here's the nitty gritty.

April 3: Date purchased
April 6-13: California Trip #1
April 14-18: Take off old hardware, sand.
April 19: Wipe down entire dresser with a wet t-shirt & then Lysol Dual-Action Wipes
April 20: 1st coat of General Finishes Java Gel Stain
April 21: Day off
April 22: 2nd coat of gel stain
April 23: Day off
April 24: 3rd coat of gel stain
April 25-28: California Trip #2
April 29: 1st coat of polycrylic, light sand, cursing because I "lightly sanded" too hard & right through stain, reapply light coat of gel stain
April 30: 2nd coat of polycrylic
April 31: 3rd coat of polycrylic
May 1: Receive knobs, apply 3 coats of gel stain & 3 coats of polycrylic
May 3: Move upstairs and create a long scratch on the top...which meant more stain and more polycrylic

The dresser itself was an interesting find. We had been searching for a new dresser online but were having no luck finding one that was over 70 inches in length, not made of all wood composite, and reasonably priced. You would not believe how much dressers made of particle board are going for! We wanted a large one for our clothes and to fit along a large wall. This one was about 2 inches longer than we'd prefer at 76 inches, but mostly because of the detailing and not the actual dresser width. 

I saw this dresser and loved the Mid-Century Modern details on the drawers and knew it would be gorgeous. I decided against it because it was $250 and I'd have to do lots of work to get it up to our standards. And then... a week later I saw the price drop to half! We went to check it out and there was even a glass piece on the top to protect the wood. It was meticulously maintained by the previous owners. It was most likely $2,000 new and Thomasville brand. It came with a large mirror as well, but I got rid of that on Freecycle because we're not mirror-on-dresser people. Also, imagine how much more work that would be to refinish! 

And so it began. {For some reason because it's high gloss, it doesn't photograph as well as it looks. Trust me.}

Estimated Costs because I was horrible at keeping receipts:
Thomasville Oversized Dresser: $125 on Craigslist 
Delivery: $30 (I asked her if she knew anyone who could deliver... paid her son $30 to deliver it about 7 miles and unload into my garage. Cheaper than renting a truck and having to deal with the hassle!)
General Finishes Java Gel Stain: $20 (used about 60% of the quart, so about $12 used)
Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic Clear Gloss: $14 (used about 20% of the quart-- plan to use on next dresser project, so worked to about $3 worth used)
Foam brushes & paintbrush: $13 
Sandpaper: Had a lot of this but bought a $6 pack as well. Will use the rest on dresser project #2.
Lysol Wipes: Had them already
New Amerock Brand Knobs: $7.41 from Ebay

Total: Just under $200

What I learned/would do differently if starting over from scratch:
- Calling Caroline saved me gobs of time. Her SIL told her that my dresser would look great with gel stain and to consult Pinterest because people were posting about updating their cabinets left and right. I was planning to sand to natural and then stain with regular stain! Oh, how I love gel stain now!
- Ebay for knobs was genius. 
- I'd choose a semi-gloss polycrylic instead of a clear gloss. I still love it, but it's a high gloss finish I didn't expect being so glossy.
- Sanding lightly after the first layer of poly is apparently difficult. Like, find the finest sand paper block and go as light as can be. Otherwise, you'll create a lot more work for yourself.
- When in doubt, buy more foam brushes. Turns out Target sells them for cheap!

Believe it or not, I've already started dresser project #2. It's the dresser we were using before our new fancy one moved in. Before I moved out of the house, I traded my bed to my parents for a spare dresser they had. It's tall and a cherrywood color. Basically, it's not pretty and matches nothing in our house. But it's real wood and I would like it to end up in Benjamin's eventual big boy room where the furniture is currently a light wood. This project involves stripping the old stain, sanding a ton, and coating in poly. Of course I only have one can and it's high gloss... so we'll see what decision I make on that one.


LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

Looks great!!! I love the inside drawers and it looks so well made. Now pin it. ;)

And when you have the time, I need you to work on my guest room dresser please and thank you! Ha!

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

Brandy that looks amazing!!!
I have an old buffet table that I distressed white a long time ago but wondering if I want to redo, sell or what not. We shall see!
You did great and I reserve you after Laura is done with you...but I know you have always wanted to make a trip here soooo....

Mama Bear said... [Reply to comment]

Looks great! I'm inspired to someday refinish our dressers that we inherited from Kirk's grandfather. Someday...

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Oh you rocked that dresser redo, B! Way to go. Looks amazing.

And it's Thomasville ?! Score! That is some good stuff.

Katie Truelove said... [Reply to comment]

Nice!! I'm chuckling because Jeremy and I just brought a re-finished kitchen table up from our garage. Great minds thing alike;) Except ours was ikea- not a sweet craigslist find!

Natasha said... [Reply to comment]

You have been busy with dressers! Looks awesome!

Kari at A Grace Full Life said... [Reply to comment]

It looks AMAZING!!!
Go YOU!!!!

Jessica said... [Reply to comment]

Wow! Your hard work paid off...that dresser looks amazing!!! Nicely done.

Veronica said... [Reply to comment]

I bow down to your DIY skills.
I am not worthy!

Looks amazing:)

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

Wow! Brandy! You kicked the crap out of that project! The dresser looks amazing. Just amazing. Great job!

Christie said... [Reply to comment]

Great job! It looks fantastic!

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I love it. Now I want to gel stain something!

Nicole said... [Reply to comment]

Looks awesome! Love the inside of the drawers!! You did a great job finding it and redoing it!

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

I love it! Now I want to redo furniture!!