Mid Century Veneer Repair


I found this Lane end table alone, abandoned in a thrift store.  Marked down to $1.00 and still nobody wanted it.  After looking it over it wasn’t hard to see why.  There was a bad burn in the top about the size of a quarter.


It was completely charred.  Crispy like so much burnt breakfast toast.  It was clear that I would be the one to rescue it from the thrift store and give it a new life.  The repair method I chose was to use a decorative walnut veneer patch.  I didn’t make any attempt to match the new veneer to the old and instead wanted the veneer patch to be obvious, similar to a dutchman joint.


Here’s the end result.  I’d say it was worth the work.  Another piece saved from the landfill.

I made a short video documenting the process.  Check it out below.  Thanks for watching!




Stereo Console Conversion

Sometimes it’s easier to build something from scratch than to try and make something into something it was never meant to be.  Such could be said for a project like this.  Still, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give this old stereo cabinet a second life.


The electronics were long gone and the finish was gone, too.  Even in this sorry state it was clear that it had style.  The trickiest part was building the shelves where the speakers used to be. It would be a straightforward job on a brand new cabinet where all the angles were straight and true but this 60 year old cabinet had moved a bit over the years.  A little massaging was needed here and there to make things fit but it all worked out in the end.


Here is with the internals all removed.
Finish stripped and the shelf structure installed. 
Stained and ready for lacquer.


Here’s the finished product.  I added an adjustable shelf on each side (the left one was removed for the photo). Looks sharp!

Stay tuned for the next restoration project from Dashner Design & Restoration.

Broyhill Saga Restoration Pt.1


The Saga as I found it. In need of a refinish.

We now present the saga of the Broyhill Saga dresser restoration.  Broyhill is probably best known for their Brasilia line but their Saga collection was no slouch either.  Broyhill described Saga as “a fresh twist to the New_1_sagaScandinavian furniture story”.  As a matter of fact, the label’s three crowns represent the three kingdoms of Scandinavia:  Norway, Swed
en and Denmark.
How’s that for useless trivia? Impress your friends with that little tidbit at this year’s holiday party. You can thank me later.


Doors with painted vertical stripes.

The finish on this piece needs some attention.  The worst areas are the top and the drawer fronts.  The finish on the doors is in pretty good shape.  The doors have vertical stripes that are painted on so I’m hoping I won’t have to strip them since that would remove the stripes.  I’ll do my best to match the new finish to the original finish on the doors.


The first order of business was to strip the old finish off.  I used my usual process of Citristrip followed by a wipe down with fine steel wool and mineral spirits.  The finish on this one was pretty thin so it came off without too much trouble.

Saga after stripping. Note the lighter contrasting wood on the legs.

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of the saga of the Broyhill Saga!







Dresser In Need Pt. 3 / It’s Alive!!!

low2  New_1_New_1_res5

When we last left the Dresser In Need it was receiving some much needed veneer repair.  Much progress was made since then and it’s finally complete.  Joints were glued, wood was stained, shelf paper was removed and legs were fastened.

Let’s take a look….

low6After stripping the old finish we were left with this pale shell of its former self.

low5But after a little stain it’s coming back to life. I used Varathane American Walnut stain on this one.

bottom2bottom1Here we can see where the side panel was separating from the frame. Some new glue and a plethora of clamps and it’s back together again.

legsNext up was the legs. I’ve got a pretty sizeable stash of vintage pencil legs and attachment plates that I keep for just such an occasion. I found a set that were in great shape and just needed a few inches trimmed off and a fresh finish applied.  Now it’s ready to stand on its own four feet.

shelfI saved the best part for last – shelf paper removal. This is never a fun job. I usually attack it with a heat gun and a razor blade. If there’s any glue residue left it usually comes off with a scrubbing of mineral spirits.


The finishing touch was a fresh coat of satin lacquer and voila!  Not bad considering what we started with.

Thanks for following along and stay tuned for more furniture refinishing fun!

Dresser In Need Pt.2 / Veneer Repair Is Fun

Today’s order of business involves repairing damaged veneer on the dresser in need.  For this particular repair I cut a new piece of veneer just slightly bigger than the damaged area, placed the new piece over the damaged area and traced around it with a razor blade, removed the excess material and glued in the new veneer. I find this method sometimes works better than trying to cut the new piece to match the shape of the damaged area.

Here’s the damaged area with the new piece next to it.


Here I’m scoring the line that I traced around the patch. Hmmm, somebody needs a manicure.
Once sufficiently scored I’ll remove the excess material and the new piece will drop right in.


And there we have it. The new piece is glued in. I’ll place a clamp on it and go do my nails while it dries.


Stay tuned for more exciting updates on the Dresser In Need. Ooooh, can you stand the suspense?!?!

A Dresser In Need

It doesn’t look like much does it?



Judging by the stickers and doodles scratched into the wood, I’m assuming this dresser spent some time in a child’s bedroom.  I wasn’t sure if it was worth saving until I took a closer look. Underneath the stickers, stains and scars is some very attractive grain. Also, it’s a nice smaller size which always a plus when it comes time to sell it. I’ve found that most people just don’t have the room or the need for large pieces.

If it looks a little short that’s because somewhere along the line it lost its legs.  I’ll fashion a new set and it will stand tall and proud once again.

Here it is after stripping off the finish with a good dose of Citristrip.



Those are some mean looking scratches across the grain on the top. I won’t be able to completely erase those but hopefully they can at least be lightened a bit.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Restoration Hardware


Yes, I am a vintage hardware nerd.

Every time I extract a screw from an old piece of furniture I have to pause and marvel at the beauty and craftsmanship that went into these quality controlled fastening devices. Just look at those cleanly cut threads and the polished heads. You won’t find anything close to this quality at Home Depot or the like. Anybody who’s ever searched through the bins looking for a screw that doesn’t have threads that look like they’ve been chewed on by an angry giraffe knows what I’m talking about.

They don’t make them like this anymore. Why not?  Can I get an Amen!!

Removing Black Stains

Today’s project brings us more embarrassing black stains to be removed. This is an American of Martinsville end table that needs some attention.

-The first photo shows the top of the table with a multitude of black stains and scratches.


-Here I’m applying oxalic acid to the black stains to bleach them out. At this point I’ve already stripped off whatever was left of the original finish.


-This photo shows the top with fresh stain and little to no black stains left. The oxalic acid did a great job on this one.


-And here’s the finished product. Nice!




Lane Perception Restoration


Here’s the story of an old Lane Perception nightstand that’s seen better days. It’s got flaking finish, black rings, loose trim, chipped veneer and a broken drawer pull. Can this poor table be brought back to life? Follow along and find out!

Stripping the Existing Finish


This is the least enjoyable step and is best left to your minions. I don’t like to get my hands dirty so I’m usually out on the links while the stripping is underway but my minions tell me that their preferred method of stripping the finish on this piece was to scrape it off. This can be done with a card scraper or even a utility knife blade. Scraping works particularly well when the original finish has already begun flaking off as it had on this table. Scraping is also a lot less messy than using a chemical stripper and is cheaper since you don’t have to buy stripper and the scraper can be used over and over and over again. This isn’t always the best method and often a chemical stripper is necessary.

Black Ring Removal


I first tried sanding this ring out but it was in there too deep so instead I used oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is usually sold in stores as wood bleach. I just dabbed a bit on the black areas with a small paintbrush, let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then washed it off. It worked well as you can see in the pictures. There’s still a hint of the black lines left but they are running in the same direction as the grain so it shouldn’t be too noticeable once the finish goes on.

Veneer Repair


This table has a few veneer chips. Here’s a shot of one of them. My preferred method of veneer repair is to cut the damaged area to match the new veneer patch rather than try to cut the patch to match the damaged area. It just seems easier to get an accurate fit this way.

I first cut a new piece of veneer that’s just slightly larger than the chip, hold the patch over the chipped area and trace around it with a knife. I then remove the patch and continue cutting along the line I traced until the excess material comes off and then glue the new piece in place. On the subject of glue, when gluing these in with wood glue I will sometimes color the glue with some dark brown dye or water based paint and when the colored glue squeezes out it will fill in any small voids around the patch.

Gluing Loose Trim


There was a loose piece of trim on the front that needed to be glued. I cleaned out the joint, shot some glue in and clamped it up.

This trim piece appears to be made of ash wood. Ash appears often on Lane furniture. This one is a particularly nice piece of ash.

Pore Filling


This step is optional depending on the look you’re going for. This table has a walnut veneer and walnut is an open pore wood. If you’re going for a mirror smooth finish then the pores have to be filled before applying your topcoat otherwise the pores will be visible as small pits on the surface of the wood. If you’re going for a more natural look and don’t mind seeing the pores then you can skip this step.

For this piece I am using Timbermate filler. This is a water based filler and is pretty easy to work with. The first step is to apply a sealer coat of shellac so that the wood isn’t stained by the filler. I then colored the filler with some dark brown dye and then added some water until it’s the consistency of toothpaste. I then spread it around the surface with an old credit card. Since it’s water based it dries quickly but it can be sped up by warming it with a hair dryer. After it’s dry I lightly sand the excess off with 220 grit paper until the only filler left is in the pores of the wood.


Here it is after the excess filler is sanded off. Doesn’t look very attractive, does it? That will change once we get the finish on.

Stain and Topcoat


For this piece I’m using a walnut stain and a satin polyurethane topcoat. There’s not much to say about the staining process. I just wipe it on and then wipe it off after a few minutes. I do usually put a sealer coat of shellac or wood conditioner on before applying the stain. After applying the shellac I give it a light sanding with 320 grit. The shellac that’s left in the wood after sanding helps to even out absorption of the stain and helps prevent blotchiness.

After the stain is dry I wipe on a few coats of the polyurethane.



And here’s the finished product. I left out a few steps, including gluing the broken drawer pull back together, but maybe I’ll get to them in another restoration demo. I think it looks great. Another piece of furniture saved from the landfill!


Before and After

What better way to kick off the Dashner Design and Restoration page than with a before and after montage. I like a good challenge and this Lane end table had just enough challenges to keep things interesting. A little Citristip stripper and some elbow grease and voila! Underneath that paint and grime was some very attractive grain.

I’ve never seen this particular Lane table before but I like it. It’s hexagonal and who doesn’t like a good hexagon? The front opens up to a large storage space on the inside. Wonderful!