I never thought my husband to be quite the eager handyman, largely because for longer than I really care to remember, there have been some half-finished if not barely started woodworking projects eating up valuable real estate in the garage. He’d always assured be he’d eventually get round to two of them in particular and I think the only reason I’ve not had them thrown out was because I’ve had my hands full looking after the kids.
I must say that I’m thoroughly impressed with the outcome now that we have what looks like a brand new bookshelf in the study and an old-style grandma chest which has somehow been brought back to life.
Some woods are (almost) forever
Both these two dated pieces of furniture (or what was left of them) were inherited from my late grandmother and were brought along by my husband as part of the consignment of goods left to me. I wasn’t there when everything was being sorted, otherwise I’d have had these old items thrown away immediately, something I now realise would have been a bit of waste because yes, apparently you really can repurpose old wooden furniture into some really nice pieces. It all depends on the type of wood used to construct the core structure of the furniture and in our case the granny-chest was made out of a core of mahogany wood, while the freestanding wardrobe (which is now a bookshelf) was made out of a core of African Teak wood.
I often tease my husband about it in saying that all he did was break the wardrobe apart and then added a coat of glossy wood stain to both pieces of furniture, but the truth is a lot more work went into both projects. Yes the wood stain definitely did a great job of enhancing and in a sense galvanising the finished pieces, but it also served to give them some new life. I had no idea African Teak wood actually looked so good and a the “brand new” bookshelf could now never be linked to all the filing, sanding, chiselling and breaking-apart I saw it subjected to while it was still a freestanding wardrobe. The depth of the wardrobe was a bit too wide for it to pass off as a bookshelf, but that was nothing a bit of precision sawing couldn’t fix. It’s important to keep as much of the good wood in place as possible, otherwise getting rid of potential splinter-causing edges would require a bit more sanding and filing.
The grandma-chest required a bit more sanding and filing, but fortunately its core structure wasn’t that badly beaten up, even though it really looked like it was one shift away from completely falling apart.
Where some fresh extra wood was required, engineered wood worked well to fill in the structural voids and again, the magic of some wood stain made the extra engineered wood look almost exactly like both the mahogany and African Teak wood.