Workbench Blog

Oak File Cabinet Refinished Cherry Hill NJ

Posted on May 26, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Deep Furniture Makeover for A Cherry Hill Foyer

It was the furniture find of the year!  A vintage oak filing cabinet unit.  With variety.  File size drawers.  Index card drawers.  And flat specimen type drawers.  Eroded, dirty finish masked the patina on the tiger oak faces.


The piece would fit prefectly in their entrance foyer, next to the library.  If it didn't look so ...



It was hard to see past the split legs, damaged veneer on the top and various ages of crud.  A few of the drawers were frozen shut and several of the card label pulls missing.


Patiently, the repairs unfolded.  First the legs and base.  Then the jammed drawers.  Finally new flake oak veneers on the top.  We removed all the hardware.  Much of it had rusted through the plating and would be replaced.


We didn't want to chemically strip the old finish from the oak - knowing that the patina would be affected.  But the crud had to go - as did the crusty varnish remnants.  Cabinet scrapers, sandpaper, elbow grease and an alcohol rinse eliminated most of the ugly stuff.


Under the hardware we got a clue about what the old finish looked like had it been protected.  A water dye stain (two actually) blended the more exposed and bleached areas with the rest.  A few light wash coats of finish sealed everything down and gave a consistent surface for a thin brown glazing stain to further blend the surfaces together without hiding the wood.  A few coats of satin lacquer completed the new finish.



Replacing all the label pulls and file handles with satin antique brass hardware complemented the soft sheen of the new finish.  You can almost guess at the usage patterns the piece experienced.  The wear patterns and patina show the story.


The refinished piece made it to the foyer, greeting the guests to this Cherry Hill, NJ home with a unique charm!







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Categories: Furniture Refinishing, Camden County