How To Refurbish Old Furniture: A Damaged Dresser Gets a Second Chance

As the popularity of mid-century modern furniture has risen, so have the prices. Finding an “MCM gem” for anything less than a few hundred bucks has become rare, so I practically did a double take when I stumbled on a Facebook listing for a four-drawer, tapered-leg dresser for a shocking $20. But on closer inspection I saw that the price was indicative of severe damage. It was riddled with chipped veneer and was missing a huge splinter of decorative trim — but not altogether impossible to fix…

After doing some research and watching some very helpful YouTube videos, I discovered that it wasn’t a lost cause. I could fill in the chips and even rebuild the missing section of trim with some high performance wood filler and a hardening agent.

I followed the instructions on the can of mold-able wood putty and sanded and sculpted the repaired sections until they matched the contours of the remaining trim. And after adding a coat of paint, I was pleased to find they were practically undetectable.

Adding the brass hardware was the final touch that brought the piece back to life. The hardware was actually meant to be mounted to a drawer front, but by flipping them upside down and mounting them onto the lip of the drawer, I could turn them into vintage-inspired finger pulls.

The end result is a dapper double-breasted gentleman’s chest.

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