When the young man showed us the dresser I could see it was a bit rough around the edges. The 2 bottom drawers would not open unless he tilted it almost upside down! I also noticed some holes that had been drilled on the top. But I was so excited to find this dresser for only $10, I knew I could make it beautiful and restore it to its former glory!


This dresser was part of my inventory for a couple of years, and recently I decided to take a closer look. I was very surprised to find these unique drawer joints which I had never noticed. I knew the dresser was an antique but was unsure of the actual age. Upon further research I found this type of joinery is called Knapp Joints or Pin and Cove.

Square nails were used in other parts of the dresser, and together with the joints, date this dresser to a time period of 1870 – 1900. You can see the primitive construction on the back of dresser. I rarely paint the back of dressers or cabinets, as I like my clients to see the original condition “before” any refinishing.

The drawers required a lot of work repairing the broken places with wood filler, gluing and straightening the sides, sanding and waxing the slides on the bottom so as to glide smoothly. Only one drawer had the original brass keyhole insert, so I was fortunate to find a furniture restoration company that carried them.



I completely stripped and sanded the top and drawer fronts down to natural wood, and removed the orange mac tac! The drawers required a lot of extra sanding to get rid of the mustache shape of the handles which had become embedded in the stain! The original dresser used to have two small drawer compartments on either side of the top of the dresser which had been previously removed and explained the drill holes on the top.


I wanted the top left as natural wood so I filled these holes with wood filler which is barely noticeable at all, and actually adds to the character of the piece. Once all restoration was completed and good cleaning was in order! TSP to the rescue!

The dresser was built from red mahogany and decided to apply a grey wash to the top and drawer fronts to enhance the color and wood grain without using stain.


I painted the rest of the dresser with  a no VOC Behr light grey latex paint mixed with a couple of tablespoons of paint transformer, which transforms ANY color of ANY brand of flat latex paint into a premium chalk paint! Your color choices are endless!

I wanted to give the dresser credit where credit was due!

A little black wax gave the newly painted dresser a beautiful antiqued appearance. The entire dresser and drawers were then sealed with a  protective clear wax. Luckily I found some brass handles in my inventory that suited the dresser and painted flat black and top coated with clear polycrylic.


All finished and staged. I had fun with this one and love how it turned out!
Would be perfect in an entry way, living room or bedroom, don’t you agree?