Wooden Chest Refresh

Bridget & I often go on and on about our love for thrifting. There’s just nothing like visiting our local antique shops and thrift stores in hopes of finding a gem amongst the piles of items. But 90% of the time, we just browse and leave empty-handed. It’s still fun, but it’s nothing like the rush of finding something that you actually want to scoop up and put in your car immediately.

I recently had that awesome “rush” feeling, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it today.

This wicker basket pairs well with the wooden sign on the wall. You guys have seen this little nook here on the blog before. It’s in our family room right by the TV area, and the basket holds all of our wrapping paper and gift giving essentials. We found the wicker basket at an estate sale in St. Louis (for less than $10) and it’s been a welcome addition to our home. But recently I was jonesing to replace it with something a little more substantial. Perhaps something that could offer a bit more storage, and something that didn’t shed little pieces of wicker everywhere. #notfuntocleanup

This wooden chest is a well-made and in great condition. So imagine my excitement when I found this wooden chest at my local Salvation Army store for only $30. It was in relatively good condition, and I could tell that the solid wood piece was definitely well made. After a text to Finn for his “man approval” (and receiving the green light) I scooped this baby up and brought her to her new home.

After a closer inspection, I decided that the wooden chest certainly didn’t need an entire overhaul. Instead, it just need to a little refresh to bring the wood back to its former glory.

I’ve read about Restor-A-Finish on a few of my favorite blogs, and decided that I would give it a try for this project. It’s supposed to breathe new life into old antiques, without the rigorous steps that accompany a strip/stain/poly method of completely refurbishing a wooden piece. Feed-N-Wax goes along with the Restor-A-Finish as a way to finish off the piece and give it a nice, shiny coat. (Kinda like shampoo and conditioner). So I grabbed these 2 products before getting started on my mini refresh.

Use a magic eraser to clean the wooden chest. Use the magic eraser to really scrub and dirt or dust off the chest. My first order of business was to get rid of some of the weird gunk that was on the chest. Honestly, not really sure what was on this thing. Stickers? Gum? I actually probably don’t want to know. I used a Magic Eraser (my new favorite cleaning supply) and scrubbed away at any suspicious areas. In about 5 minutes, it was look much better…and a lot less gunky.The results after cleaning the chest with a magic eraser.

Then I got to work with the Restor-A-Finish. I simply followed the directions on the back (wipe-on with a cloth, wipe-off with a cloth) and I immediately saw a difference. It covered up water marks and many of the surface scratches and spots with just one coat. It also made the finish a tad bit darker, which really brought out the natural colors in the wood. I was pleasantly surprised to see it worked so well without a heck of a lot of work. The newly restored wooden chest looks brand new.

I followed up with the Feed-N-Wax and that really did add a shine to the piece. That too was really easy to apply (wipe-on, wipe-off) and I even put a coat of it on a couple of my other DIY wood pieces (our coffee table, our side table) to give them a little TLC.

The chest was done in about an hour. No stain, no crazy dry time, no big mess. The newly stained wooden chest pairs well with the other room decor.

If you have deep imperfections in the wooden piece you’re looking to spruce up, then this might not be the best method for you. Instead, I would only recommend doing this if your piece has some surface flaws, water spots, or light scratches. Consider the Restor-A-Finish method as a facial, while a strip/stain/poly method would be an actual facelift. Know what I mean?

This thrift store wooden chest makes a good corner nook.

So there you have it…a mini makeover of our new thrift store find. This simple refresh eliminates a lot of the intimidating factors that come along with DIY’ing a piece of wood furniture (staining, sanding, waxing, etc.) Would you give this method a try for your next furniture project? These tips for refreshing wood furniture really work. casey_sig