Thrifty Thursday 06 (Part 2): MCM Tallboy

Hey all, and welcome to Part 2 of this week's Thrifty Thursday!

I have been itching to reveal this thing like you would not believe. I am so super stoked about this dresser. It just turned out so well.

This is one of those projects that, when you finish it, you step back, look at it and think, there's no way I did that.

But I did do it, and I am incredibly in love with it!

-----before & after shot collage

Here's the what & how:
So this is where we started. Scratched, orange, and covered with stickers, tape, and grime.

From far away, it didn't look too bad, but it still needed some serious help.

First thing was to get all of the grime off. I wiped it down with some soap and water on a paper towel, making sure not to let the veneer stay damp. Then I busted out the Black & Decker Mouse and started sanding the drawers with 80 grit paper. This would be sure to get through all the yuck, but leave the veneer in tact.

The drawers really gave me a challenge with the inwards curve, and I had to use a half & half technique, sanding down along half of the drawer, moving to the next half, and then touching up the center, at the deepest part of the curve.

Unsanded vs sanded (Left to Right)

In some areas, this caused "critters" (those weird squiggly lines) to appear on the drawers, but I don't mind the little bit of extra character they added. While the Mouse made quick work of the drawers, I think any future pieces with these drawers would be better suited for a few hand sanding blocks to reduce the risk of unwanted "critters."

Then I started staining each drawer with Dark Walnut stain. It's my favorite color stain, since it's so rich & deep. Here you can see the difference between all three stages of the drawers.

Top left: Dark Walnut; Bottom left: Sanded; Right: Original finish
Top left: stained; Top right: sanded; Bottom: original

And here, you can see just how rich the color goes on. Usually, I allow stain to seep into a piece before I wipe it off, but I wanted to make sure that this piece didn't get overwhelmingly dark. I would cover the entire drawer, and then immediately wipe off any excess stain, allowing it to dry in the sun. It ended up a very rich, dark reddish color while it dried, and eventually turned into a deeper brown.

Top stained, bottom sanded

I let those dry overnight, and tackled the frame the next afternoon, using the Bosch orbital sander for the larger sections, and the Mouse for the small parts.

Top sanded, bottom original finish
The grain really started to show through, and I started to get really stoked. This piece was turning out way better than I thought it would. This was the first time I was sanding & re-staining a veneer piece, and it was coming out exactly as I'd planned (without taking a lifetime).

I finished staining the frame by working in sections along the sides, wiping any excess off after about 30 seconds, and using the stain from my towels to wipe onto the smaller dividers on the front. The dividers were made of different kinds of wood, so it soaked in a bit differently, but overall, it didn't look bad.

Left: sanded; Right: stained
I let it dry for a few hours while I went to class for an Astronomy test, came back, and this was waiting for me.

Ho-lee cow. Just... whoa.

I did this?

It's a much better view than what we did have in the bedroom along the far wall...

It did take some effort getting it up the stairs by myself, but I had a furry supervisor.

But seriously, I can't believe this is a project I did. 

Overall cost for this bad boy? Free.

That's right, I had all of the tools & supplies on hand, and I got the unit for free from someone I know from Craigslist. He's a great furniture source, and most of his pieces he finds on the side of the road. 

When he doesn't have room to store things, he shoots me a message with a picture. If he can deliver same-day, I get it for free. When he has room, and stores it for me, I get it for half the price he'd list it for on Craigslist. Doesn't get much better than that!

I'm still playing with things above the dresser for the wall, since our big blue map doesn't fit where it was originally hung, but the room is definitely coming together (that bright red anchor definitely needs to leave though). 

Slowly but surely, our house is being transformed, room by room, into the MCM dream I've been pining after. It's been a very slow process, but we're getting there. Maybe one day I'll live in a pretty little house with a funky little mailbox....

See you soon, for even more DIY goodness!


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