Refurbishing a Dresser
As style editor Tom Tamborello discovered, a tag-sale find can yield more than one surprise. After purchasing a dresser he wanted to refurbish, Tom began stripping away the multiple layers of paint that had been applied over the years, using a strong commercial paint and varnish remover. During the process, he discovered that the dresser bore the imprint of the Heywood Wakefield company, which began producing furniture in the early-20th century and whose pieces are valued by collectors today. From that point, Tom began to work with a little more caution, switching to a milder paint and varnish remover once a few of the initial layers had been stripped away. Any remaining residue was removed with fine-grade steel wool.
The second surprise, this time a bit disappointing, came when Tom stripped the top of the dresser and discovered it was made from Formica, and not the original wood used by Heywood Wakefield. Rather than scrap the project, however, Tom decided to re-cover the top with a pressure-sensitive walnut veneer. He cut a piece slightly larger than the top's dimensions and applied it to the dresser, removing any excess and sanding down the edges. He finished by applying a stain that matched the rest of the dresser's wood, which he treated with a polyacrylic sealant.
Special thanks to Tom Tamborello. Tom used the walnut stain, satin polyacrylic, and Zip Strip paint remover, all from General Finishes.