These 1950s showcases really needed a facelift. At some point in their 70-year history, they were painted. My original plan was to repaint them to match the Boathouse decor. Then I discovered there was beautiful walnut wood beneath the paint and I decided to restore them.
Here are the steps to the restoration.
Left, the old paint was some of the most stubborn I have ever tried to remove. I tried two different paint strippers and neither worked. Then I tried using a heat gun. This worked great! The heat softened the paint and then I could easily scrape it off. Unfortunately there was a black coating beneath the paint that would not come off. The photo on the left shows me sanding this black material with 80 grit sandpaper. this worked well. After sanding with the 80 grit I sanded with finer and finer grits until the wood was very smooth. The next step was to clean off all of the sanding residue with a tack cloth. Center, Both ends of one case seemed to be lighter than the front, so I stained both ends with a matching walnut stain. Right, I used a semi-gloss poly finish. It is always exciting to see the beauty of the wood come out at this stage.
Attention to detail is very important in any refinishing project. The corners and top edges on the cases are incised making them difficult to strip. In the Before picture the corner looks blotchy. I decided to paint these areas with Burnt Umber artist's acrylic paint. The after photo shows how dramatically this added effort improved the finished showcases.
Restoring furniture is very rewarding. There are many helpful tutorials on YouTube. Give it a try sometime!
The captain's Blog
Ahoy! Visit our blog the first Tuesday of every month. We share fun information about the shop, exciting events in Duluth and Lincoln Park, restoration tips & tricks and more!