Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thrift Store Cedar Chest - Refinished

Remember the thrift store bargain I bought last month? You can check it out here.

I made the kids haul the chest outside for an after picture so I could fiddle with Picasa and try a split view photo. I have a renewed respect for those types of pictures now. Ug. Leaving this one as is until I have more time to play with it.

Here's the re-do. =]
One  half used can of Jasco and my very favorite gloves.....
I applied the Jasco with a cheapie brush.Wear shoes if you try this. You'll thank me for these words of wisdom. Glops of stripper between your toes and on the bottoms of your feet are not fun. No, I didn't go in the house and put shoes on after I burned my toes the first time. I'm tough...or something like that.
I waited two minutes before removing. It didn't work so hot. Wait 10 minutes. Really. The can knows what works best. Then remove with a putty knife. This is when you are going to wish you spent $3 and bought a new pair of favorite gloves, because all those splits in the rubber mean that goop is now burning fingers...
With a damp rag, wipe off the excess goop and sand....
Remember that broken base? Oh, how I wanted to rip the whole bottom off and replace the base with some round, ball type wooden feet. Then I priced them and realized I really didn't want to spend $50 on my bargain chest right now and decided to fix it instead.

I traced out the broken section and use a scroll saw to cut a new piece out of some scrap oak I had in the garage. Bargain girl strikes again.
The new wood isn't as thick as the original, but the difference is only visible from underneath. Both pieces of wood were predrilled before they were glued and screwed together. 

OK...I'll confess. I didn't drill the holes quite big enough for the screws, so when I put it together, the darn thing was a pain and shifted a bit. I left it. I know. Bad.
What am I doing here? Removing color #1. Yes, I tested it first. Yes, it was perfect. Yes, it looked awful on a larger piece. I used Minwax Polyshades, a stain and polyurethane in one. I used it to redo my kitchen cupboards a few years ago. They turned out blotchy and uneven. I almost cried.

I decided I'm better now and this miracle all-in-one would work this time. I was wrong. It's STILL a pain to work with. Do yourself a favor and don't bother with the stuff. I will never use it again.

This is the point where my camera broke and you're going to miss out on a bunch of exciting picture possibilities.

Like Putting on Stain. You do this across the grain. Who knew.
And Wiping off Stain. You do this with the grain.
And Painting on Verathane. It goes on milky white and dries clear.
See? Exciting stuff!

The trunk in its new home....and for the record, it really does look much better in person.


  1. It looks great! What kind of stain did you end up using since the Minwax all in one didn't work so well?

  2. Hi Laura,
    I used two coats of Varathane Premium Wood Stain in Black Cherry, with a light sanding of 0000 very fine steel wool between layers. Finished it with three layers of satin Varathane Diamond Polyurethane, again, lightly sanded between the layers.