Cedar Cupboard Restoration

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Project by robscastle posted 11-01-2013 09:09 AM 1224 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a story about a cupboard that was in the family for a few generations.
It is owned by a lady by the name of Cathy.
The cupboard was originally her Grandmothers.
Cathy thought she had arranged for it to be stored for safe keeping however she was devastated when it was returned almost bleached white and the base broken off some time later.

I was asked to restore it for her, its not something I would usually do but after seeing it I felt for the lady and accepted the job.

It took me three days part time to get it back to the condition you see now.

How I did it:

The base and bun feet were completely removed, the damaged section of timber had the damaged section sawn off.
A new piece of timber was added to the back and it was reversed, re profiled and reattached.

The frame and drawers were sanded with 180 and 320 grit to remove the bleaching and return it to some resemblance of cedar.
I am not sure what the top and sides were but the frame had been edged with cedar.

It all cleaned up very well.

I then re stained everything with cedar stain.

Mixed up a batch of shellac and next day set to work

I then commenced applying shellac hoping to return it to its former glory.

However after the first coat I regretted doing the job as it looked dreadful (see picture 3) and I thought I was possibly going to get neutered as a result.

But after 3 or 4 coats of shellac it looked really good and I breathed a sigh of relief !!

I French polished sanded with 0000 steel wool and re polished it to an extent there was no discernible change.

I initially polished the brass locks and key entry but Cathy did not want it to look new so only the one as done.

-- Regards Rob

7 comments so far

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

608 posts in 3071 days

#1 posted 11-01-2013 10:29 AM

Nice work.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15644 posts in 2790 days

#2 posted 11-01-2013 11:38 AM

I can imagine the panic that set in with Pic 3. Wow, what a turn-around. It took me awhile, but I finally realized “3” is a magic number when it comes to clear coats of finish. But getting there takes courage.

Well done, it looks great.

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

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1996 days

#3 posted 11-01-2013 11:42 AM

What a great job Rob….the transformation from what Cathy had given you, to when you completed it is awesome. The wood has new life again, I am sure Cathy was very pleased with it…well done.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 2769 days

#4 posted 11-01-2013 04:30 PM

You have a heart of gold to help out this woman. The restore looks great.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View stefang's profile


16058 posts in 3506 days

#5 posted 11-01-2013 09:54 PM

First rate work on the Robert. Some really beautify wood in that old chest. You Aussies are blessed with an abundance of wonderful wood species down there.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View robscastle's profile


5382 posts in 2376 days

#6 posted 11-01-2013 10:38 PM

Mike, I can only agree with you.

When I did the initial sanding I discovered the builder had done a very good job on the cedar edging on the front.
I couldn’t work out how it was done at first then did a bit of exploration and found a very fine glue line.
Amazing work for its time as I imagine it would have all been done with non powered tools.

Here it is fully reassembled and ready for delivery.

-- Regards Rob

View robscastle's profile


5382 posts in 2376 days

#7 posted 11-01-2013 10:48 PM

Forgot to add the glue line shot, and a shot of the back just for interest only.

Thanks everybody for the great comments.

I should have taken a picture of my face after the first shellac rub, priceless!!

-- Regards Rob

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