I have a little (one drawer, 2 doors) serpentine front dresser or wash
stand in oak to refinish. I guess it was varnished and stained at the same
time, the finish is very dark. Looking at the drawer from the top it is
easy to see that the drawer face was cut (band saw?) from one piece of wood
and easy to see that the front face is a veneer as is the back face. I
hadn't thought of how this style must have been made but now wonder if this
veneering was necessary for just about every kind of wood or the stain
would make stripes depending of how the band saw hit the wood to make the
Checked the internet but couldn't find plans or construction for the
serpentine face. The drawer front is dovetailed and the back has slots
running perpendicular to the draw so the back of the drawer slides in -
Looks like it has had real utility use!
"Once you know, you know"
Even it if looks well-worn, you might want to have it appraised before you
do anything to it. Sometimes, in our enthusiasm to make it look fresh
again, we seriously reduce the value of a valuable or semi-valuable
Also, there is a "cleaner" that is actually a restorer that makes it look
almost new that only takes off the "grime" of the years and not the
finish. It's been so many years since I came across it that I have no
clue as to the name. Hopefully, someone here will know of it. Your local
museum might know of it.
I very foolishly stripped an oak chest of drawers decades ago without
realizing what it was. It was just an old chest of drawers someone gave my
mother when I was eight years old. It had turned almost black through the
years. It was just junk so my mother gave it to me when I was married,
felt sorry for us when we bought a house right away with no furniture. We
used it for years until we got something much nicer, then relegated it to
the basement. Later, I decided to refinish it. Because it was nothing of
any value (or so I thought!), I just lay it in the yard with the stripper
and the garden hose and went to work with the steel wool. In my ignorance,
I could have ruined it but was very lucky I didn't. I've still not had it
appraised but I've only seen one similar to it anywhere, and it was
missing most of two drawers. For that reason, I suspect it is more than
an old piece of junk. It is very well made. The curved drawer fronts and
door in the top portion are incredible. The dovetails in the drawers are
especially pretty. Three pieces of the original hardware (drawer pulls)
are gone but the rest is in great shape as well. I learned then to not
just jump into a project with old furniture without some serious review.
You might consider moving a little slowly on this one until you
investigate a bit. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Glad you checked it out, though I'm not surprised. :-)
Actually, I did find one from one of the web pages that was kindly posted
here; thank you for asking. Then . . . I found the photos of the one
across the street. Decided to go see Al to see if he could find someone
to make one and get some sort of estimate. Sadly, the result of that was
finding that he died about two years ago which means it was right after we
had spoken about this. I had been by his shop a few times on a Saturday
but figured he finally started taking off Saturdays. :-( His passing is
definitely a loss to our community, both as a good person lost and as a
good welder lost. When he cut my fireplace screen/door frame for the
electric exchanger I have, he told me I would not longer be able to
operate the door vents because of placement of the intake/outtake on the
exchanger. However, when it was complete, not only could a person not see
the cuts when all was in place, but the vents worked perfectly. He was so
good he was able to fine-tune the cuts and placement to avoid the rods.
That is real talent and not too common in today's shops.
That led me to call the muffler shop he had originally recommended, but
had then just burned and had not started rebuilding yet. Verifying the
date of their fire means that it was, indeed, almost two years since Al's
death. The owner there is so much like Al (the old-timers, both in
attitude and skill) that it's like I already knew him. He knew exactly
what I wanted, as Al had told me, and will construct it for me. He
prefaced that with it being done as time is available. So, instead of a
one-size-fits-all exchanger, I'll have one to fit this fireplace
specifically which is what I was hoping for. Prepared to pay as much as
the commercial one ($250 approx.), the price quoted made it even better,
about $70. I figure even $100 is a really good deal. Best of all is
supporting a local business.
I had a couple of other little projects going on for which I was going to
post the results and a thank-you to those who answered questions and sent
information as soon as the exchanger was "home."
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.