• Hometalker
  • Lebanon, OH

Early 1800's Antique Dresser

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.
early 1800 s antique dresser, painted furniture
The majority of the wood veneer was in good condition considering its age.
early 1800 s antique dresser, painted furniture
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.
early 1800 s antique dresser, painted furniture
So I removed the remaining veneer around the drawers and replaced it with iron on veneer banding. 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).
early 1800 s antique dresser, painted furniture
I positioned the veneer banding in place. The veneer is easy to trim to fit with scissors or a utility blade.
early 1800 s antique dresser, painted furniture
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.
early 1800 s antique dresser, painted furniture
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.
early 1800 s antique dresser, painted furniture
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.)
early 1800 s antique dresser, painted furniture

Suggested materials:

  • Band It Veneer Edging  (Home Depot)
  • Various stains
  • Iron and foil

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


Have a question about this project?

3 of 46 questions
  • Amm31477624
    on Sep 29, 2018

    Oh, I bet someone here has the answer I need for repairing a wooden drawer in my chest. For the wood sliders under the drawer-any idea how to fix the piece of wood that’s beginning to splinter? I’m not ready to part with it and don’t want to spend more repairing one drawer than I spent on the whole piece. Carpenter’s glue doesn’t seem sufficient. I am handy but not a carpenter.

    • Jessi
      on Feb 13, 2019

      They also make those pieces in metal now. If you have to buy then metal would last longer.?

  • Malaika Ward
    on Dec 4, 2018

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

    • Patricia
      on Dec 4, 2018

      Yes the heat gun is much hotter than a hairdryer. I think the stream of hot air with a heat gun is also more concentrated.

  • 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?

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