Early 1800's Antique Dresser

3 Materials
1 Hour

I bought this dresser at an online auction. Based on the condition of the veneer that I saw in the photos, I thought it would be a perfect candidate for painting. But it turns out it was about 100 years older than I initially thought. Based on the materials, hardware, and handcrafted construction I estimate the dresser was made in the early 1800’s.
The majority of the wood veneer was in good condition considering its age.
The main area of concern was unsightly loose and missing pieces of veneer that surrounds the drawers. Antique veneer is much thicker than modern day veneer and was difficult for me to source.
So I removed the remaining veneer around the drawers and replaced it with iron on veneer banding (link to actual product I used). I know, I know, I know . . . it's not authentic, but my goal was to get it ready to sell for everyday use (if a true restoration is desired an expert restorer can easily remove the new veneer and replace it with something more authentic).
I positioned the veneer banding in place. The veneer is easy to trim to fit with scissors or a utility blade.
Next I applied the banding using a hot iron wrapped in foil. I used the foil to protect the iron's surface from potentially getting adhesive on it or getting scratched.
Afterwards I stained the new veneer. There's a lot of color variation in the original veneer, so I tried to match my stain to the darker variant. I used 3 different stain colors that I had on hand.
The drawers required some minor repairs and cleaning which I explain more on my blog, so stop on by if you have a few minutes! (Link at bottom of this post.)

Suggested materials:

  • Band It Veneer Edging
  • Various stains
  • Iron and foil

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 47 questions
  • Malaika Ward
    on Dec 4, 2018

    Whats the difference between using a blow dryer versus a hot iron? Temperature??

    • Krafty Mrs.K
      on Jan 7, 2020

      also you can add pressure with the foil wrapped iron.The heat gun and dryer only blow air.

  • ShelbyNeen
    on Jan 2, 2019

    Absolutely beautiful piece of furniture.

    I like the darker color you used on the veneer. It gives it a 'pop'

    Have you sold it yet?

    • Wanda Burt
      on Oct 5, 2019

      I wouldn't think something over 150 years would be beautiful.That was a real antique.. Beautiful piece.

  • MaryAnn
    on Jan 19, 2020

    Could you determine the purpose of the string in the lock? Just curious as I can't come up with a reason myself. I really appreciate your not destroying this piece with paint. It looks wonderful as is.

    • Patricia
      on Jan 19, 2020

      The string was already there when I bought it, but I think it is there so it can be hung somewhere when not in use. Also probably so it won't get lost. I have other furniture pieces that I put decorative tassels on the keys so they won't get lost too easily.

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