This may seem like a silly story, but it's my true story of refinishing an old dresser. Bear in mind, I've refinished small pieces in my life, but nothing so large and beat up.
It all began last summer when I found a picture in a magazine of an old dresser that someone had painted this color blue and then stenciled in Navy blue. I put it in my ideas binder. Then late last fall, at one of my weekend estate sale forays, I found an old, beat-up white dresser for $30. Hmmm. I can practice on this without too much guilt, I thought. I called my son-in-law and grandson and they came with a truck and loaded it in the patio.
I began the stripping and sanding and it was arduous and I didn't know what I was really doing. When I removed the drawers, I marked them for placement as I do know that can be problematic if they aren't in the right spaces. November rolled around and the weather grew colder so I dragged the dresser up in an alcove and there it sat all winter and spring, and my Inner Critic kept going berserk about my inability to stick with projects.
On my list of tasks to accomplish this summer while I'm off work, the dresser was #1 on the list. I had to sand it down once again, threw drop cloths all over, and chose the paint (twice as much as I needed). It took me one day to paint the frame and then second-coat it. The next two days I tackled the five drawers. I took a few days break and then went to put the drawers back in thinking I was finally done. Not one single drawer fit anymore. My father was a wood worker and my former husband was excellent working with wood. You'd think some of it would wear off. I do love to sand, by the way, and I adore the smell of shavings and wood dust.
I arduously began the sanding of the tops and bottoms of the drawers, and a little of the interior, and got two to fit, but I was so darned discouraged by then, I'd get all teary every time I saw the ongoing mess on the patio. I was determined I would only ask for help if all else failed. (One of my character defects is being stubborn about not asking for help.) Last night while visiting my son Tony, Gretchen, Henry and Fritz, I told them my about my incredible frustration. Tony, who has done a lot of refinishing himself suggested that I concentrate on sanding down the interior frames rather than the tops and bottoms of the drawers themselves. At 4 p.m. today I went out, scoped out the project, and got out my trusty sander and a jar of Dorlands Wax Medium. I gritted my teeth, asked for my late father's help, and then threw in Joseph and Jesus because they were carpenters. It took more than two hours of sanding and continued waxing, but all those drawers now fit. Is it possible to feel triumphant over refinishing a piece of furniture? It wasn't like medaling at the Olympics, for God's sake.
I now have touch up to do and I'm not so sure about the stenciling. I kind of like the dresser a plain blue, although it has more to do with simply not being able to face into trying something else I don't really know how to do and screwing up. Now I have to ask for help again from my son-in-law and grandson. I'm hoping they will carry the beast up the stairs into the guest bedroom. Although, I wonder if I should keep it in my own room as a testament to my tenacity, which my Inner Critic often says I have little of.