Attic Rescue

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Project by Mark Davisson posted 02-08-2013 03:04 AM 1397 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Attic Rescue
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I didn’t make this dresser, I rescued it.

My wife and I inherited a farm that has been in her family for 160 years. I had known this piece was in the attic for a long time but had never bothered to look it over. After moving our bedroom to the newly-remodeled upstairs last month and finding we needed more drawer space, I remembered this thing and decided to pull it out. Turns out it belonged to my wife’s great, great uncle (who built the house around 1880) and has probably not seen the light of day (literally) for close to 60 years. And I found the mirror in another part of the attic. They are back together and back in service.

As you might imagine, the finish is hurting. It’s like the thing has been in the kiln for 60 years. I have treated everything with Waterlox Original and probably have several more applications to go.

The older I get, these types of things mean more and more to me. I thought if anyone might understand, it would be you guys.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

11 comments so far

View USAFPOL's profile


125 posts in 2284 days

#1 posted 02-08-2013 04:26 AM

Glad it’s back in use and serving a purpose! Got to love that ole American craftsmanship that went into furniture back in the day! Thanks for sharing.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30126 posts in 2572 days

#2 posted 02-08-2013 07:43 AM

Totally understand. Beautiful

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1879 posts in 2203 days

#3 posted 02-08-2013 12:17 PM

Nice to see that even if the name of a craftsman isn’t there anymore his amazing work still stands. Very nice job

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View stefang's profile


16207 posts in 3568 days

#4 posted 02-08-2013 12:41 PM

I understand it very well. It’s just a little older than me!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15790 posts in 2852 days

#5 posted 02-08-2013 12:48 PM

The dresser thanks you!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3100 days

#6 posted 02-08-2013 03:53 PM

Well, it sure is a beautiful old antique.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View fumehappy's profile


138 posts in 2486 days

#7 posted 02-08-2013 05:05 PM

If the original finish is shellac, you could try using cotton cleanser to soften it a little, let dry, rub out, then apply new shellac to the massaged original patina. Takes a bit to develop a feel for it, but great results!
Absolutely gorgeous dresser btw.

View Bruce Taylor's profile

Bruce Taylor

21 posts in 2172 days

#8 posted 02-08-2013 05:11 PM

Mark, I’m working the same side of the street. I have a fully equipped shop but not the knowledge of how to use all the equipment and actually build stuff. So, I have been taking old family pieces like you (or finding ‘throwaways’ on Craig’s List) and restoring them. Depending on the amount of restoration needed, I am slowly learning to use a lot of my equipment and am finally enjoying my shop.
Nice job on your piece – I’m sure it has motivated you to do more.

-- Captain Bruce, Washington State

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2407 days

#9 posted 02-08-2013 08:12 PM

Looks super smooth! I am amazed.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3551 days

#10 posted 02-08-2013 08:35 PM

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Surf, I took the picture from a distance so I could fit the whole thing in, not to keep flaws from being seen. But they are there. The Waterlox is doing an amazing job, though. It also required some candle wax on the slides and a couple of new screws to hold the drawer pulls.

I’m sure it’s my imagination, but I keep thinking I hear “thank you, thank you” coming from that side of the room.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View bubbs's profile


94 posts in 2311 days

#11 posted 02-09-2013 10:50 PM

Believe me, I understand. Good for you. I’ve done several hundred projects, but the hardest always seemed to be refurbishing something old…already built. Keep dong what you do. I think you know what’s important.

-- Cats, beer and wood...perfect.

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