Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Oak chest of drawers - old and tired to retro office

This is a smallish oak chest of drawers I bought via Marktplaats (Equivalent to Ebay in the UK or Craigslist in the US). I really like it now, but was a little sickened at paying EUR 90 for it when I bought it. I want a course in dealing with the very personal business of looking at someone's furniture in their home, just you and them, and then being unable, I feel, to insult them with a low offer.
It looked like the kind of cheap dark-varnished oak furniture cleared out from old relative's homes.
But it did have a lot of handy, bigger than A4-size drawers for filing all our paperwork that clogs up the dining room table (also the fruitbowl - that's my beloved's bad habit - freaks me out).

So I set to one sunny afternoon in the front garden, sanding the whole thing. Very zippy little Bosch blue sander - almost too powerful for my hand - and difficult to press the off button, but works a treat.
Blond oak emerged. Occasionally the wood under the oak veneer (sides and top, but drawer fronts are solid) emerged. Be careful with cheap stuff that is probably veneered!

I wanted handes with labels I could write on . Eight drawers, one can't be expected to remember what's where. I still love the Ikea handle on the 3rd drawer. Only have one left, don't remember the name, and Ikea doesn't sell them any more. The other two were the best option I could find at the hardware warehouses (Hornbach this time). The labels are temporaily stuck on with blu-tack / plasti-tak / poster buddies (depending on where you are in the world). I use it a lot for DIY - for getting an idea of placement / holding things in place while I drill / screw.
Then, serendipity: I got it into my head that the sandpaper pads for the Bosch we'd bought at a smaller specialist hardware shop (Enorm Veentstra), were the wrong size. I was wrong - I'd forgotten that they just stick on with velcro - they aren't meant to be large enough to clip around the ends of the sanding foot. But Veenstra had the handles I chose in the end. Actually they had the same handles I'd already chosen - but cheaper. So ever thrifty ( I was going to take back the pricier ones) ,  I was selecting them from the back of their cupboard, when I spotted the leftovers of old ranges.

Of course they only had seven - but they had labels in the same range without the pull, so one drawer- the top one has no pull, but it's easy enough to pull it open from the sides of the drawer front. I suppose this proves that I favour looks over convenience.
To mark (and pre-drill) the holes for the screws to hold the handles, make a template with a bit of cardboard. A stiffish flyer delivered that morning worked for me. Use a handle stuck onto the cardboard, and if, like here, there are old holes from central handles, use them as a guide, too. One of the old hanfdle holes turned out to be off-centre - use your eyes and common sense, too!

Because this stands in our sitting room, I didn't want it to look too office-y, so the labels are written or typed in smallish font but repeated over and over, to create a graphic blur rather than an obvious label.

Aren't the tulips beautiful? At this time of year in North Holland, the tulips cultivated for bulbs  are mechanically beheaded- great swathes of colour reduced to stubble.. but there're always a few that are slow growers and escape. These are sold at the roadside sometimes, and these were some of those.