Preview: Drexel Dining Set Update

During my massive Craigslist haul, I stopped by to pick up a couple of tables and a set of dining chairs from the guy that sold me the colonial dressers (they're done aside from the insides of the drawers - I had to wait forever for hardware in the mail).


He had had the dining sets stored for quite a while after one of his renters ditched them, and I got everything for $80. For a breakfast table, 6 dining chairs, and a solid dining table complete with 3 leaves that allows it to extend to accommodate up to 10 people..... $80 is not bad. Not bad at all.

Especially when you consider the quality of the extendable table. Not one wobbly leg, and not one tear in any of the cane back chairs after decades of use. On the underside of the table, there is a signature and date from the builder, along with a company stamp. Turns out that this table was built 50 years ago by a company called Drexel.


I looked up the set that I have (Esperanto), and a fairly similar set was going for over $800. A set in the condition I had mine in was going for $2000, and a newer refinished set (painted & reupholstered) was going for almost $3000. Not to mention this set that is almost $7000.


Ho-lee sh**. And I got it for less than $80.00....this is a win for the books, folks. I knew that I loved this set the first time I saw it way back when I got the dressers, but now... now I really LOVE it! What a steal! I almost feel bad for not offering more (almost).



I've stripped and sanded the top of the dining table down to the bare wood. Using Citristrip really cut down on labor time. It was really easy to apply with a paintbrush, and really easy to remove (kid of disgusting looking though).


I left it on the surface for about a half hour until it all turned white, and then used a putty knife from the Dollar Tree to scrape it off. This is where it got gross. It was like sticky pudding in consistency, smelled like oranges, and was an unpleasant orange-ish brown color. Not at all appealing, but very effective!






Then using the new orbital sander, I got down to the naked wood, and was happy to discover that it would not remain an orange tinted wood. Just look at that color difference!





I planned on using the same fabric from the Chair Overhaul Re-do for the seats and bringing this set to a much lighter color.

I had thought about white washing or grey staining the whole thing, but there are far too many nooks and crannies for me to try to strip and sand down enough without affecting the shape and level of detail. Not to mention that no one in our area offers services to re-stain/re-color cane backing.

I decided to try a two-tone look, painting the apron & legs of the table, and the entirety of each chair, while leaving the top the bare naked wood with a few nice thick coats of polyurethane to protect it.

I'm not affecting the structure or shape of the piece at all, so if I ever wish to have this professionally refinished with stain, I will be more than happy to pay someone to do this piece for our home. Luckily, because there are things such as paint & wood stripper & professional furniture refinishing companies, I'm not devaluing the piece at all.

This is not a piece I see myself ever letting go of, and I cannot believe what an investment this piece of furniture really is.



Stick around for the full reveal later this month!


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