Friday, June 11, 2010

Refinishing An Old Cedar Chest

Since the 1970's, I have lugged throughout the U.S. an old cedar chest.  It has been with me over perhaps twenty apartment and house relocations.

But this was no ordinary cedar chest, because it once held the baby clothes of my now 91 year old father.  So the chest has to be at least close to 100 years old.  It just cannot be relegated to Good Will after being in the family for a century.

As far as I remember, it has never been refinished.  Seize the day!  It is time for the old girl to get a facelift.

Here is how she looks before the refinish:
Naturally, I had to look up "What to Do and How to Do It for old cedar chest restoration" and came up with information from several sources, including a step-by-step approach from EHOW
 Secure the necessary tools and materials for refinishing a cedar chest. You will need sandpaper for removing the old finish and smoothing the cedar before refinishing. You can also select a mild stripper for removing the old finish; the cedar may be old and fragile, thus requiring a less abrasive method of finish removal. Stain will not be necessary; however, you will need to purchase water- or oil-based clear finish for the chest. Oil-based finish dries faster, and water-based cleans up easier. Choose satin, semi-gloss or glossy for the level of shine that you desire on the chest. You can also purchase wipe-on or brush-on finish. Use a cotton rag for the wipe-on finish and a fine-bristled brush for the brush-on finish.
And simple advice: "A good paint stripper, a stain color that best matches the original, and finish with 3 coats of low lustre tung oil  from All Experts.

Here is a peak of a little of what was stored in the old cedar chest, if there is a bit of closet voyeur in you:

Let the elbow grease commence.  And just maybe it is time to get rid of those baby blankets from the '70's?

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