Cedar Cupboard Restoration

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Project by robscastle posted 263 days ago 566 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 Robert

7 comments so far

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

489 posts in 1495 days

#1 posted 263 days ago

Nice work.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


9568 posts in 1214 days

#2 posted 263 days ago

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


3014 posts in 420 days

#3 posted 263 days ago

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.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View amagineer's profile


1383 posts in 1193 days

#4 posted 263 days ago

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


12525 posts in 1930 days

#5 posted 263 days ago

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


1483 posts in 800 days

#6 posted 263 days ago

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 Robert

View robscastle's profile


1483 posts in 800 days

#7 posted 263 days ago

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 Robert

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