Thursday, August 18, 2016

Antique Dresser: What to do when the drawers are broken...make doors!

I had the honor of another "cast off" dresser finding me.  It was the call from the curb, like a Batman Signal in the sky that came through social media to me from a friend.  There was another dresser ready to hit the great landfill in the sky and I had to come rescue it.  I have to admit, when I first saw the dresser, it did seem a little beyond repair but I took it.  At the minimum, it could be used for parts, and at the most, my biggest challenge.  I took the dresser and the challenge.  It was one problem after another but the final result is a big Second Chance in PA for this baby.
Based on the markings on the back, this dresser appears to have first been a shipping crate headed for Peacock/Stafford, KS or from this city.  Someone must have turned it into a dresser with drawers and they did a great job.

These drawer fronts had already broken off so I used an electric sander
Look at that gorgeous wood grain!
I first began with TONS of sanding by hand to peel away the cracked stain and finish.  The drawer fronts had already broken off so I could sand them easier.  After realizing that two drawers were beyond repair, I decided to glue them together, along with the center separator.  The idea was to glue them, saw them in half, and have two doors!  However, the center keyholes presented the problem so I cut them off too in order to have a center divider like with kitchen cabinets. 
Center separator removed
Glued together
And then cut for future doors!
Before the doors were complete, I needed to fill in the holes from the drawer handles and redrill new holes for door handles.  I also had to add hinges.  This was the biggest challenge.  A dresser drawer was not designed to swing open.  After much reworking, I landed on the non-mortise hinges and made the adjustments.  I also purchased vintage hardware from eBay and stained the wood in Black Cherry.  The result was perfect!

And the final product was just how I envisioned it and NOTHING like the sad castoff on the curb.  It's ready for a new home!


  1. Beautiful! I am going to do this to an old piece I have, but I am going to put a shelf inside the doors.

    1. Good luck! It really makes it unique to add doors instead of just having an open space. Keep restoring!