Franz is our 44th transformation! This handsome guy has been a pure pleasure to work on. He was spotted on a free FB listing (thanks A!) and the donor is now a FB friend (thanks C!). This is a Berkey and Gay dresser and from my research, I believe he is from the 1920s.
Franz had a ring on his top, a bit of missing veneer, one drawer front of loose veneer and a few marks here and there. He also has some indents where the gorgeous hardware dropped and made dings into the drawer fronts.
If I had an unlimited budget, I would have replaced the veneer and bought backplates to cover the dings. BUT as supply costs come out of my pocket, I filled and color matched the area to camouflage the missing veneer and simply stained the dings. Backplates would have been nice, but finding the right size and perfect complement to the piece proved to be tough. That is certainly something that the new owner can do based on their preference.
The process for refinishing Franz was very lengthy with the biggest (and messiest) challenge being removal of the old shellac. For this, I used denatured alcohol, abrasive pads and cotton swabs. (See photos)
After all shellac was removed, I applied two coats of Danish oil followed by two topcoats (three for the top of the dresser). The hardware was boiled on my stovetop with a combo of vinegar and water – see photos for a big change there.
This dresser is truly a quality-built piece. He is sturdy and should last for many years to come. He is big and beautiful (that wood grain!!!!!) but because of his age and the careful process required, he really took me ages to finish. But I hope his new owner loves him. Franz is headed to Loudoun Habitat ReStore Leesburg today.