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Restoring/Reconditioning A Chest of Draws

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19ninety

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Hi,

I recently bought a old (Georgian?) chest of draws. They are in ok condition for the age but do need a little work to make them properly functional again.
The runners (excuse the terminology, I'm no expert :) ) on the bottoms of the draws are badly worn or missing and the shelves between the draws have dropped, where the braces have fallen off over the years, and are badly bowed and broken.
I've attached a couple of photos below.
Just wondering what is the best type wood to use to replace the runners and shelves? I've got a couple of lengths of "Premium Timberboard" (Purchased for next to nothing when Focus closed down) but I think that it will be too soft. I'm not looking to make this as new, I love it for its looks, its a really beautiful bit of furniture that I want to make usable and reliable.

Any advice/tips etc welcome.

Thanks,

Greg
 

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9fingers

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Beech or ash are both suitable and low cost. If you don't have the machinery to cut/plane the small sections you need then maybe a member locally would be prepared to help if you were to put your location into your profile.
If you are near Southampton, then I expect I could find and prepare suitable offcuts of either timber.

Bob
 

Jacob

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Is it pine? Looks like it, in which case redwood is fine for all the repairs.
If you are re-doing the drawers add slips. With stuff like this it's the slots in cheaply made drawers sides which are often the weakest link. Glue the bottom boards into the front slot and don't fix them anywhere else with nails, screws etc.
The basic rule is to do everything exactly the same as they did it - with the slip exception, if they are omitted.
It's look nice with paint and just the knobs cleaned up and oiled.
Avoid caustic soda!!! A gentle wash with sugar soap solution could be good, but not too much scrubbing and scraping or it'll look like driftwood.
 

19ninety

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Thanks for the replies. It was advertised as Oak and I think its oak exterior with pine internals & fittings if that sounds right? The outer surfaces have a very textured grain, which is why I like it so much.
Well, I have a bench, vice, plane etc so am more than happy to have a go myself and see how it goes ... its a way off of cabinet making so I reckon it'll go well. I appreciate the offer though Bob, I live in Didcot so a bit of a way from you sadly.

Jacob could you post a link to a photo of what you mean by slips (sorry for sounding dumb), or are they the same a sliders?
 

19ninety

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Ah thanks for the extra explanation, thats a better link than I managed to find, I did just try googling "beginner guide to making draws" to try and figure it out.
The slips are very badly worn on my draws and one is missing! I had planned to try and recreate what was supposed to be there and did note on my draws the slips look like one piece of wood glued and with slots cut all the way through so they almost look like three separate sections.
I just found this link: http://americanwoodworker.com/blogs/projects/archive/2010/07/26/restore-a-chest-of-drawers.aspx which is helpful too.
 

19ninety

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Jacob":cjod082y said:
Goes on a bit! :shock:

ha ha, most things seem to once you start onto something, very little is a simple as A, B, C. Makes it interesting though!
 

woodbloke

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Clicking on the pics shows the medullary rays in all their glory...it'a a bit of oak furniture with pine drawer bottoms, but the exact age is doubtful. Replace the worn bits with oak, if possible. If it's survived all this time without drawer slips, there's not a lot of point in adding them now...one of the bees in Jacob's many faceted bonnet :lol: - Rob
 

Jacob

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woodbloke":2ht31nu5 said:
Clicking on the pics shows the medullary rays in all their glory...it'a a bit of oak furniture with pine drawer bottoms, but the exact age is doubtful. Replace the worn bits with oak, if possible. ...
So it is. Linseed oil for all the oak IMHO. Raw half n half with turps. Pine for all the replacement bits out of sight.
 

jimi43

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The medullary rays on the oak right hand drawer just catch the light...presume the other may match with a different angle...and that piece looks beautiful...just screaming out for a refinish.

Nice honest chest of drawers which would set you back a few bob if made now. Definitely worth restoring....post some pictures when you do.

Jim
 

19ninety

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I'm planning once the repairs are done to either wax of oil the wood to bring the colours and grain to life. I made a coffee table last year and treated it with a couple of coats of Danish Oil and it still looks stunning - might post some photos in another thread later of that little project!

Now on to timber, I can get regular pine sizes from Wickes and whats stached in the garage but I cant seem to find anywhere that has anything thin enough to make the shelves between the draws. They are the same thickness as the draw bottom and sides which is approx 7-8mm. Any pointers on who might stock a suitable board?
 

AndyT

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19ninety":1rx4y1ti said:
Now on to timber, I can get regular pine sizes from Wickes and whats stached in the garage but I cant seem to find anywhere that has anything thin enough to make the shelves between the draws. They are the same thickness as the draw bottom and sides which is approx 7-8mm. Any pointers on who might stock a suitable board?
They are not shelves, they are dustboards. Some people argue that they serve no real purpose, but if you want to make new dustboards from solid wood, I don't think you will find anyone stocking prepared timber that thin. The reason is simple - in a new piece you'd use plywood for that sort of application, which is easily available in 6mm thickness. That's no good if you want a sympathetic restoration with matching materials. Your options include:

- deep rip a 19mm board into two and then plane each piece by hand. (The surface does not have to be especially lovely - just smooth enough not to catch on clothing in the drawers.)

- buy the thinnest board you can and machine plane it down, wasting much of the wood. You may need to mount your wood onto a backing board so that you don't end up putting something very thin and bendy through your planer/thicknesser.

- salvage some similar boards from another old piece of furniture.
 

19ninety

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Hi Andy, thanks for the proper name for the 'shelves', I wasnt sure of the proper terminology so used the best description I could to try and be clear.
I did look at ply board as its so cheap and available though it would be nice to use real wood if possible. That said planing 13mm off timber boards I have in the garage sounds like a LOT of work. Forgive my ignorance but I would have thought this day in age there may have been an easier way to acquire thin timber board, would have thought there would be a market for it.

I have an idea of how use the 19mm board though without so much wastage!
 

jimi43

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Some three ply core boarding would look authentic and I think is available. I wouldn't be bothered about that level of authenticity....repairs to this type of furniture go on during the life of the piece and since it won't show I don't think it will matter that much.

Also you could look out for any old wardrobe on Freecycle and use the back board off of that and then either use the rest for other things (if solid) or burn it if not!

Jim
 

srp

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If it was originally fitted with dust boards then it was not a low quality piece originally. I wouldn't use ply if it was me - it would be worth going to a proper timber merchant (NOT Wickes!!!) and asking if they can deep cut some redwood for you, to something like 8 mm thick. You don't need to have them planed, and to be honest you don't really have to worry too much about quality, as these internal pieces were often made from timber which wasn't free of knots etc.

Prepare the edges with a plane and then just rub- joint them with pva - no clamping needed. When the glue has cured, give them a quick going over with a plane to get rid of the bandsaw marks ( as AndyT says, no need for a perfect finish). Put a slight bevel (called fielding) on the edges to fit the grooves and you're done. I think several of the books by Charles Haywood mention rubbed joints - used to be used all the time with animal glue, but I've done loads with pva.

Apart from the lack of authenticity, the other reason I'd avoid ply is woodworm - cheap ply is a magnet for the damn things, especially given the warm damp summers we've had for the past few years.
 

19ninety

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Taking a bit of time, baby things getting in the way, work, everything else and so on.

First job was to replace the braces in the top, not sure why but (unless they are a later alteration/replacement) but the braces that support the top of the chest seem to have been made and fitted in the weakest way and had warped and were not offering much support. The centre ones been replaced and two addition ones glued in to help support the old thin top boards. The top is now fairly level and much stronger.

I've also replaced two of the upper dustboards using 18mm timberboard. The original dustboards were 1/4" glued to the front 3/4" draw divider. the timberboard is glued to the front draw divider and to the side panels. Now this has been done the chest is much sturdier and the is hardly any sway at all. I may apply some glue into the corner joints to make things stronger, doesnt really need it though!

This weekend I'm going to use one of the old boards to repair the lower dustboard. I also need to go for a hunt for some timber to make the new slides out of. I have some Wickes 32x12 but its soft wood and I'm not sure if its the best thing to use? But then if I use wax it should be fine?
 

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Benchwayze

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woodbloke":1vhv39hg said:
Clicking on the pics shows the medullary rays in all their glory...it'a a bit of oak furniture with pine drawer bottoms, but the exact age is doubtful. Replace the worn bits with oak, if possible. If it's survived all this time without drawer slips, there's not a lot of point in adding them now...one of the bees in Jacob's many faceted bonnet :lol: - Rob
+1 on the oak, ( not endorsing Rob's remark about Jacob though! Honest Jacob. :mrgreen: ) and it looks as if it could be limed oak

If so, check out this link

http://www.bozzle.com/id_limingwood.html

Best of British.
:D
 

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