Vintage Hand Made Tables

This post is less about a project and more about the decision before the project. I have found myself in a predicament and was initially looking for input. I have this pair of very old, vintage hand made tables. They are solid wood, with dovetail cubby drawers. The tables appear to be hand made due to the visibly hammered nails in parts.
The hardware can not be removed without risking damaging and possibly destroying them. Note the photo is of the inside of the drawers where the hardware is merely a nailed end hammered down. You don't see that every day!
The craftmanship is fantastic, imperfect yet made to last, obviously.
Originally I wanted to put a pretty print on each drawer and paint the body but now I'm not so sure. I couldnt decide on whether I should leave them alone and sell 'as is'.. or attempt to work around the hardware and paint.
After much consideration, I decided to NOT paint these tables. Instead I cleaned them up and refreshed the wood. A simple cleaning and refresh brightened and enhanced the rich chestnut color of the wood.
Then to line the drawers I chose neutral print with a simple design that doesn't take away from the character of the tables. I used a clean cloth as a buffer and ironed the print flat to make sure it didn't curl up in the drawers, since I didn't want to make the liner permanent. I want to make sure that the drawers are clean and a place that someone would want to place personal items. But at the same time I don't want to compromise the integrity of the tables.
Once the drawers were lined, these apothecary style chests are gorgeous... and without paint.. For those who follow my work, I paint everything but I can always appreciate a piece that doesn't need paint. These definitely fall into that category!
Just the Woods, LLC
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Notalemming Notalemming on Jan 05, 2016
    Nice. What did you use to refresh the wood? In my first attempt to "re-fresh" a wood dresser, I used tung oil, but I neglected to wipe between coats. The dresser came out very shiny, and took forever to dry. Lesson learned.

  • Elizabeth Baker Elizabeth Baker on Jan 05, 2016
    Where, oh, where, did you get your flying pig?!?! I LOVE flying pigs!

  • Kelly McMeekin-Miller Kelly McMeekin-Miller on May 07, 2019

    Do you sell your work?

Join the conversation
2 of 123 comments
  • Darsmietanski Darsmietanski on Jan 31, 2016
    I almost didn't finish reading your post, I was afraid you had painted those beautiful tables. What a relief to see what you did do to them! Beautiful!

  • Gra3854089 Gra3854089 on Mar 30, 2016
    Very nice! I like the end result! :)