Vintage Oak Secretary

7 Materials
8 Hours

This lovely vintage secretary has beautiful bones but some cosmetic problems so we took on this piece hoping to bring a clean updated look to this timeless piece.

We started this makeover by cleaning with Krud Kutter and rinsing with water. A piece might look clean but they rarely ever are.

The existing finish had so many pigtails, so we had to sand for a long time to get the surface nice and clean so that beautiful grain would be swirl free.

We started with 80, then worked our way up through the grits ending on 220.

We used some plastic wood to fill in some dings and holes. We also removed the base shelf so filled those holes too.

Shellac serves as a great primer to seal the wood so it would be ready to accept paint and in the areas where we had to use wood filler, the surface color would be a consistent color and the paintwash would not soak so deep into the grain.

We decided on a neutral color for the wash, updating the finish which is a far cry from the oroginal orange tone we found it in. This was is about 50% paint to 50% water.

Here is the first few brushstrokes if the wash on the wood.

We added this beautiful oak applique from D. Lawless Hardware that adds visual interest to the front.

We switched out the old rusted friction lid supports to these new and ones and sprayed the hinges oil rubbed bronze to match the new drop pull hardware we added too.

Here it is sealed and ready to be used for another 100 years.

Resources for this project:

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Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Debbie Debbie on Oct 13, 2021

    What color Dixie bell did you use ?

    I have 2 dressers I’ll be redoing & I like the look you created.

    thank you

    debbie V


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