Thursday, March 29, 2012

Antique Map Dresser

A while back, I stumbled upon this old dresser in a barn.  I had actually gone to see some other furniture for sale which needed a LOT of work - the kind of work I just wasn’t sure that I wanted to take on.  I was about to back out of the deal and then the seller showed me this old piece, hoping I would take it as well.  After closer inspection, it turned out to be the only piece I really wanted so the seller offered me a “package deal,” and I ended up with the whole shebang. 

Here’s background on the dresser:    It’s ooooold!

Since I’m pretty sure the dresser had already been refinished at some point thereby decreasing it’s value, I decided to put my own spin on it and came up with this great idea!  I had been wanting to decoupage a piece of furniture for some time, but was waiting to find the right piece.  When I saw this old piece and saw the flat front (perfect for decoupage), I immediately thought of decoupaging an old antique map to the front.  

The hardest part of this whole project was finding just the right map!  I knew what I wanted, and was determined to find it.  Not only was the look of the map important to me (antique world map), but the size was as well.  I found a couple that I liked the look of, but they were either too big or too small.  And when I finally found just the right thing, it was way too expensive.  I kept searching though and finally found a wholesale company in Canada that sold  EXACTLY what I was looking for, and I got it without the 50% mark-up of a retailer!!  YEAH, BABY!  It was still more than I had planned on spending, but it was perfect!!!  I loved the coloring of this map, I loved the big center globe, and I love how the top and bottom knobs fit perfectly into the four corner globes. 

So I started by sanding the dresser down.



I wanted to give this piece a darker, richer color than before.  I chose Dark Walnut Danish Oil for this project, instead of a typical stain.  I was introduced to this product by my Danish in-laws and I think it’s great.  This oil soaks into the wood, instead of sitting on the surface so it doesn’t chip off if it gets nicked.  It does have to be re-coated from time to time as the wood dries out, but I like the more primitive look of this finish – especially for this particular piece.


I used rubber gloves and a soft rag to apply this oil and just rubbed it in.  You can see on the bottom part of the leg in the photo above how dark just one coat was, but I did end up giving it three coats because the wood was so dry that it kept soaking it up.


I had to make some minor repairs – chipping out the old putty over the nail heads because it wouldn’t take stain or the Danish Oil, and replacing it with dark walnut wood putty.  Also, three of the glides were missing and I just happened to have a strip of wood that was just the right size, which left over from a woodworking class that I took once.  I had just enough to cut the three strips I needed and screwed them into place.



When I received the map, it had a border on it that I didn’t want so I removed it.

I then laid the map on the front of the dresser and taped it into place with painters tape. I made tiny marks with my blade on each side of the map, at the top and bottom of each drawer, so I would know where to cut.



Since my straight edge square wasn’t long enough, I used a long piece of scrap molding to line up the marks I had made, and also as a cutting guide.

After cutting all the pieces, I laid it out and realized each piece needed to be slightly trimmed to to allow for the spaces between the drawers. 



Using this wonderful product, I glued each piece into place.

I also painted the Mod Podge on the top of the map to seal it.  This particular Mod Podge is a sealer too, but there are many types available for all sorts of projects.  I used three coats for this project.

NOTE:  I did not apply the Mod Podge with the drawers inside the dresser as shown in the photo below.  Otherwise, the drawers would get glued shut!!!!  I removed them for the applications so that I could wipe off the excess around the sides of the drawers with a wet rag as I went.  When the final coat was almost dry, I got so anxious to see what it looked like that I had to put the drawers in before it was dry.  But I removed them again after taking the photo until they were completely dry.


This dresser did not come with knobs, but I had some antique wooden knobs left over from another dresser that was missing a few knobs when I got it.  I used Dark Walnut Danish Oil on the knobs as well and they match perfectly!!!!

Although I did not refinish this dresser for my own use, after it was completed, I realized it would look perfect in our office which is filled with maps, globes,  family antiques (guns, chandelier, desk, chairs) and many other souvenirs  from our travels around the World!   Somehow I got emotionally attached to this neat little old dresser so, for now, it will live in our office. :-)

I'm already on the hunt for my next decapouge project!!!
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Anonymous said...

The dresser is perfect in your home office....great storage spot too. I think you should definitely keep it. Mom

Anonymous said...

Love this!

Anonymous said...

Breathtaking! said...

It looks amazing! What a great idea.

Anonymous said...

I had a wonderful chance to see this dresser in person. It is truly "AMAZING". This piece is very unique. Andrea has talent and and eye for detail and it is seen in her work.