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Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 | 3 comments

Create: Refurbished Midcentury Modern Cabinet

Create: Refurbished Midcentury Modern Cabinet

I love trolling through idea boards and DIY blogs to see gorgeous pieces of furniture and gather inspiration for my apartment. Two unfortunate things happen while doing that, however: one is the realization the pieces on Houzz are a good chunk of one’s salary, and the second is that these finds are rare.

Although, it still leaves me a little inspired.

I found the skeleton of a midcentury modern gem at the Salvation Army on Whipple Ave. on a Saturday morning, and without any hesitation, bought it. After seeing the craftsmanship, it was a no-brainer; the routing, biscuits and joints showed it was created by someone who knew how to make furniture by hand, not mass produced and sold on the floor of Value City. With a little work I was able to turn it into a pretty neat piece that I intend to keep for a while.

It took me about two weeks of working on it in E’s basement for a couple hours every other night. It was a lot more work than I was expecting but it is something I’ll know how to do forever.

I sanded all surfaces, nooks and crannies of this sucker, first with a coarse grit, then a fine 220 grit. So after a good sanding, I tack clothed the entire thing and picked out a stain at Home Depot (going in there on a Friday night: par-tay): Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain in Kona. After two coats on each piece, I let it dry for an evening and got the polyurethane.

Four coats later, ANOTHER round of sanding, and another two coats after that, the final piece is done. I’m super excited about my new midcentury modern cabinet and even happier that I was discouraged from cheating and finding short cuts.

Best time to refinish/refurbish furniture? I’d recommend summer because the sanding covers everything, and I was lucky enough to have a basement to work in, but omggg it’s messy and doesn’t smell so hot.

If it’s a larger piece of furniture, find someone who has an orbital sander, it makes the process so much faster and saves your hands from complete destruction.

Another tip – don’t wear your favorite flats while sanding… you’ll have to find another favorite pair of flats because sanding can ruin shoes :)

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  1. Have you ever used the stain color “Special Walnut”? It’s the color that was originally used in most mid century furniture production and is a bit warmer than most typical walnut stains.

    • No, but that sounds like it would be wonderful for an upcoming project. Which brand do you use?

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