Goodwill Trashed to Treasure

3 Materials
5 Days
We were just finishing up a Sunday brunch when we were all trying to figure what to do next. Gotta love my daughter , She said " Goodwill trip " so we all piled in our cars and met up again at the local Goodwill. I spotted this poor thing the minute I walked in the door. I told my husband I had to have it. He tried to say "NO" but he later said that was futile . He knew it was a battle he couldn't win. I had just bought a new Car. A Chevrolet Spark. About the same size as a Mini Cooper. We managed to take it apart and fit it in. I always find things like this when I'm in the smallest car I own. The Jeep Commander was home.
This is how it looked when I walked in the store . The top was not connected and it had about 15 coats of paint.
The mirror shows the $49.99 price tag from Goodwill. Somebody tried to buy it out from under me . Around things like this don't sit around long.
This is the top half. Notice the repair on the left side. After doing some stripping and research on this item we realized this is only half of the Secretary. It had a bow front shelf on the left side that must have been damaged along time ago . Some took the time to rebuild the whole thing . So the left side was actually made of Pine.
The Hard Wear was Solid brass. A lot of work getting the paint out of the crevices . Soak it in paint stripper than picked at it with a dremel and a dental scaler .
Part of the paint removed.
The detail in the wood was amazing . This  was a lot of work with the dremel  and the dental scaler too.
The dental scaler worked real well on these wooden spindels
It became a family project . This is my Iraqi war Veteran hero . My first born. We were waiting out some really bad storms in the area and he just jumped in on the project.
He did most of the detail work on this.
And this part too.
Clear coat applied and partially assembled. Some of the hard wear in place.
This is the detail on top of the Beveled edge mirror
These are the little cubbie holes inside.
Just a little buffing and she is all pretty again. I stained the pine side to match the Oak.
Suggested materials:
  • Spray on paint remover   (Had it on hand)
  • Satin finish polyurethane   (had it on hand)
  • Denatured alcohol   (had it on hand)
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Carol christina Carol christina on Mar 04, 2017
    What do you use the Denatured alcohol? Is absolutely awesome.

  • Cindy Cindy on Feb 10, 2018
    So how long did it actually take? Its really lovely, glad you didn't paint it.

  • Donna Donna on Mar 17, 2021

    Wow, you made this piece look, beyond amazing!! ♥️ If you were to purchase this same piece, at let’s say an antique store or show, you’d pay hundreds.

    The only thing, and it has nothing to do with, your amazing work. That name, Goodwill, is so deceitful! They help no one, but the CEO, of the company. He or she is worth millions.... and they treat their employees, not well at all. I’ve heard awful stories. I just find greed, very ugly! I would love to shop there, but in good conscience, I just cannot. You mentioned a “mission thrift,” do you mind if I ask, what that is about? I am not aware of those. Thank you in advance, for any insight! 🙏🏽

Join the conversation
5 of 143 comments
  • Becky Becky on Nov 17, 2018

    You SHOULD be proud! It looks beyond amazing! I get so sick of seeing all that "distressed" multi-layered, multi-colored look! Thank God for people like you! I can see you spent many labor hours with such a beautiful piece as this! I not only give you a thumbs up but a huge WELL DONE!

  • GeorgiaBulldogsFan GeorgiaBulldogsFan on Sep 23, 2019

    I have just found your post. First off, thank you for taking off all the paint that had been put on this beautiful piece of furniture. It turned out beautifully!! I had to laugh when you said you had to take this piece apart to get it into your compact car. I have been in the same situation 15 years ago. I got a steal of a deal for an antique Victrola through an online auction. At the time I was driving a Maxima. Not only would the Victrola not go into the trunk but wouldn’t go in the back seat either. We had to literally take one of the back doors OFF the car being careful not to cut or break any electrical wiring. We got the Victrola in the car but when we got home we had to remove the door again. Thankfully, I didn’t end up in divorce court. Just wanted you to know that you weren’t the only one who had trouble with getting a treasure into your car. 🤪