Repairing old dresser

Old 03-07-14, 06:30 PM
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Repairing old dresser

I am kinda new to repairing and refinishing furniture. I helped my mom do it when I was a teenager but nothing as extensive as this project. I need some help and advice. I have an old dresser given to me. I'd like to repair and probably refinish. It needs A LOT of love. I want to keep the wood look I don't like the look of painted wood. So first off what kind of wood do you think this is? As you can see its missing some veneer in a couple different places. How do I go about fixing them? It's missing a corner and some wood that goes between the drawers. How do I fix that? There a few cracks or splits going across the top? How to fix those?
Here is a pic of dresser:

If anyone can answer any of my many questions it would be greatly appreciated. Any and all help needed. I have more pictures of the damage if needed.
Old 03-07-14, 06:55 PM
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It's just cheap pine.
I'd cut my loses and find one in better shape to refinish.
That broken drawer front in the deal breaker.
Old 03-07-14, 08:07 PM
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I don't think there is any way to identify the wood based on that picture. It's too far away, too dark, and doesn't show any of the details of the wood grain.

Since it is missing veneer, the only thing you can do is put new veneer on. If the edges of the existing veneer are still tight not loose, then you can bondo/fill the missing veneer and apply new veneer over the top of it (after removing old hardware). But if it's loose, you might as well scrape all the old veneer off. A multi-tool would be useful to separate all the old veneer from the drawer face.

Problem with veneering just one door is that you will never get the new veneer to match the old veneer, either in the appearance of the wood and grain or in the color of the stain and finish.

As far as the wood on the corners, I would doubt that the table edge is a separate piece. If it is, you could remove it all and replace it with something similar. But if it's not a separate piece and is part of the top, about the only thing you could do is neatly cut the entire table edge moulding off the entire perimeter of the dresser, then replace it with something similar. This might be beyond your capability if you don't have the carpentry tools or skills needed.

If the cracks and splits in the top are also veneer, the repair would be similar to the drawer faces. But in view of the other problems, replacing the entire top with one that comes with a new solid wood table edge moulding might be more feasible.

Generally, I would agree with joecaption that this piece may not be worth the time and effort.
Old 03-08-14, 04:26 AM
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Problem with veneering just one door is that you will never get the new veneer to match the old veneer
I agree! with a lot of expertise you can get the new veneer to blend somewhat but it will always be noticeable under the right lighting, angle of view, etc. I know you said you don't want to paint it but filling in the missing veneer and paint would be the best way to salvage that dresser. I'm not a big fan of faux painting but that would be a way to paint and make it look like stained wood.
Old 03-08-14, 05:29 AM
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The only thing I can see in that picture is the missing veneer. Can't answer any of your other questions without better pictures.

The biggest problem with keeping this as a stained piece is that veneer. Repairing it will be very time consuming and it won't look that good when finished. If you are lucky, the veneer that is still on might be loose enough to completely pull off.
Old 03-08-14, 06:20 AM
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I redid a dresser that looked similar in shape to this one, but it was a nice rich mission style oak color and I didn't have the issues with the table edges being broken because it was a square edge top. I ended up veneering every door face (inset doors, so that was easy) and the just the top. The rest of the cabinet (sides and legs) were solid wood, so it was fine. Had to fix the drawer slides but that was no big deal. I didn't even strip the woodwork or the finish on the sides and legs because it was in good shape and I didn't want to lose the patina of the antique wood. I used the scraps of veneer that I had left over to test the stain and finish and got the color to match pretty good (I thought). All the drawer faces matched that way, and it looked great.

This particular cabinet had some sentimental value for my sister-in-law and she wanted to use it as a dresser/baby changing table for the baby that was on the way. Plus it was my give to her. Otherwise it would have been a little time/cost prohibitive... kind of like your project will turn out to be.

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