Look at the beautiful shape of this Duncan Phyfe demilune dresser!! I’ve never worked on a piece like this before. It’s a fairly heavy walnut dresser with the classic mahogany veneers on all the surfaces. It was probably made in the 1930’s or 40’s by the Union National Fine Furniture Company out of Jamestown, NY. My client “Cheryl” received it from her father who she thinks purchased it at a garage sale some many many years ago. What a gem!! I just loved working on it!
The first thing I like to do is strip the top with a chemical stripper…. it’s been so nice out this week I had no problems with fumes as the garage door (I mean studio) was wide open. After cleaning all the goop (my technical word) off of the surface I allowed it to dry over night and then did a light sand with 120 grit sandpaper. I have to say I don’t do a lot of mechanical sanding. Most of the sanding that I do is done by hand with a rubber sanding block.
I then used General Finishes Antique Walnut Gel Stain to give it that lovely warm colour over the mahogany (which is inherently a reddish tone). I’ve noticed in the past that even after letting this layer dry for the recommended time I’ve been getting colour “lift” meaning when I go to apply my topcoat, the stain actually “lifts” off of the surface. So to combat this problem I came across a tip and this is what I now do. So, before I apply my topcoat (whatever it may be) I first apply a light spray of shellac to seal in the colour preventing it from being lifted by the topcoat.
Quick Tip: To avoid ” Colour Lift ” when applying your topcoat over your stain, apply a thin coat of spray on shellac first. The shellac dries very quickly and then you can get on with your topcoat application.
Spray shellac drys fairly quickly and then the topcoat can then be applied. My choice of top coat on this dresser was the General Finishes Gel Topcoat which is a polyurethane (oil) based product. This will have it looking like this for many years to come!
The rest of the cabinet was painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in my go to perfect “greige” colour French Linen. Cheryl is trying to achieve a coastal feel in her master bedroom. To give it more of an airy feel I also applied a subtle whitewash to the entire cabinet. The classic Hepplewhite handles received a spray of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray to finish it off!!
I am truly smitten with this piece…. I absolutely adore it! I hope you like it too! Let me know if you would have chosen another colour for this piece?
Before and After:
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