I restored this 12 drawer, 1940's, Morganton, serpentine-style dresser from forgotten to fantastic... and I'm pretty proud of myself. This vintage dresser (I don't think it quite counts as antique yet) came from Goodwill. Yes, Goodwill. Someone gave it away. Let's take a moment, shall we?Do you want backstory? Sure you do! It all started one rainy evening on my way from work to daycare to pick up the kids. I was running a few minutes early so I stopped at Goodwill to poke around. As I was checking out (I think I bought the kids some shoes) it was there, in front of the check out. Everything I had been looking for in a real, grown-up dresser. Until this point my clothes were still in the Target dresser I bought for my college apartment. The kind where the bottom falls out of the drawers at least once a week and your undies end up in your t-shirts. It was time to grow up.
I gasped, paid for my shoes, then went over to check it out. It was in rough shape. Hmmm. I didn't have the right vehicle with me, it would need a lot of work, and that price- $99, while fantastic for a dresser of this quality, was one I should probably run by the hubs... not to mention, it was very large. I left.
After dinner I explained to the hubs about the bestest dresser in the whole world I had just witnessed. Expecting him to go into the default speech about not spending money that we both go into when the other one wants to buy something we don't really need, he said "so get it". That was all I needed.
I grabbed some flip flops, keys to the truck, one kid, and ran out the door. Goodwill closed in 20 minutes. I made it! As my 4 year old and I opened drawers to see that they all functioned, I spotted the sold sign on top. :( Nooooooooo!!!! I asked to make sure it was really sold. It was. We left sad and dejected (and a little embarrassed because I ran in there like a bat out of hell, opened 5 drawers in front of all these people checking out, then just turned and left.... Weirdo).
Days later I went to Goodwill again (because everyone goes to Goodwill multiple times in one week, right?). It was still there with the sold sign on top. I asked again if there was a policy about someone not picking it up in time. They said they really couldn't do anything since that person had already paid. So I decided to stalk it. I stalked it hard. I went to Goodwill everyday that week. I know they thought I was a crazy hoarder person who buys all the Goodwill stuffed animals (I don't, eww), but I didn't care.
On day 5 a miracle occurred... the sign was gone. It was gone! I don't know what happened but that dresser was mine! I paid for the dresser immediately and brought her home to begin days and days and days of sanding. Persistence (and a little crazy) paid off!
Here is day 1 of the sanding. The neighbors have asked me if I refinish furniture for a living. No really, they have.
I still look mildly excited about it (and a little sweaty).My garage looked like this for weeks. I sanded the top, sides, and flat center drawers with an orbital sander, gradually going from a course grit paper to a fine one. All the rest was done by hand. All 8 drawers and all those tiny crevices. By. Hand. Have I mentioned my arms are looking rather toned lately? I love that each drawer has its own box. I'm sure that's called something in the woodworking world... I just call it quality. :) This sucker is heavy!
I used Minwax Pre-Stain on everything (wood conditioner) then applied one coat of stain with an old cloth diaper after. Pre-Stain makes the stain go on very even. No streaks. I'd highly recommend it... worth the couple bucks. In this picture the top, front dividers, and that one drawer are stained. I had to put it together quickly to see what it was going to look like!
The sanding is the worst part. I did two drawers a night while the kids rode their bikes. The staining goes rather quickly. I chose to apply Minwax 1 Lb Regular Finishing (Google Affiliate Ad) wax to protect it. I think the top has 4 coats, the rest has 1. Also, the original hardware was broken on the center drawers. I came across 4 matching glass knobs at an antique store by my house, so I used those. I think they're a little large for the small drawers but for now they work. I just shined up the larger hardware on the big drawers.
I really love it. My crazy lady from the Goodwill reputation was worth it. My husband claims that his shorts smell like old man when he takes them out. They do, a little... I'm not going to lie, but I don't care. Nothing a little Febreze can't fix. Ha! Let me know if you have a Goodwill find you brought back to life!