Antique Dresser Makeover | The Repairs

Don’t trash that hand me down piece of furniture just because of a few needed repairs! Let me share with you some simple ways to repair heirloom pieces like this vintage dresser!

In my last post, I shared this dresser and showed you some of the details that help to date the piece. Be sure and read that post!

This is also part of our ongoing series about furniture repairs!

antique dresser makeover

Broken Drawer Repair

A common repair looks something like this. The drawer bottoms were often a couple of boards joined together and held in place with a groove that runs along the front and side edges of the drawer. Sometimes those boards come apart after years of opening and closing.

This is an easy fix! Just slide the loose piece out towards the back of the drawer….

…and the piece from the front of the drawer (if it’s loose) and run a bead of wood glue inside the groove.

Run a bead of glue along the whole groove. Not too much – just a thin bead. You might have to move the boards around a bit to get glue all the way around the drawer.

Next, slide the drawer bottoms back into place and clamp. My hubby has nice selection of these bar clamps so I used them to hold everything nice and snug.

If you don’t have clamps, here are two alternatives:

  • Green FrogTape. Yes. I said Frog painters tape! It is a really strong tape. You will use a fair amount of it so be sure to check your supply. Just wrap from the inside back of the drawer, underneath the drawer and then back up around the front of the drawer. Pull so that the tape is fairly snug.
  • Use something heavy. After glueing and putting the boards back in the right position, set the drawer on end with the front of the drawer on the floor. Place something that has a bit of weight to it ( a couple of 2×4’s would work) on the back of the drawer. This will cause a bit of pressure while the glue dries.

It is best to let the glue dry overnight. You can wipe away any drips with a damp paper towel.

Stop That Drawer!

The next easy repair will fix drawers that slide in too much. The drawers can look a bit wonky if just one little piece is missing.

See that tiny piece of wood on the drawer slide at the back of the inside of the dresser? Well, if that is missing, the drawer will not have a place to stop!

This is so easy to fix! Cut a scrap of wood the same size as the existing drawer stops using a hand saw.

Glue the new drawer stop in place. Be sure to measure the distance of the existing drawer stops so that the drawer will stop evenly on both sides. Use squeeze clamps to hold in place!

Something so simple like this makes a world of difference in finished look of the piece.

Knobs and Pulls are Furniture Jewelry

The next fix is not really a repair but it is a common issue with vintage furniture. The knobs on the dresser needed to be updated. You will see I painted the dresser (more on that in the next post!) I also purchased replica glass drawer pulls from D. Lawless Hardware. They are gorgeous!

I used a piece of printer paper to make a template that I could use on all six pulls. See the thingy sticking out of the paper on the right? That is where the original hole is. The second hole for the new pull needed to be marked. I eyeballed it using the pull itself, but if you feel better measuring, you can do that as well. I used the pencil to poke a little hole through the paper marking the spot on the dresser.

Next, drill the hole! Choose a bit that will fit the bolt that comes with the hardware. There should be a bit of wiggle room for the bolt.

You will notice that one bolt also has a washer under the square nut. The original hole was a bit too big for the square nut that came with the pulls so the washer takes care of that! BTW, did you notice the two existing holes that have been filled? That would have been from the original hardware before the wooden knobs were added! The original holes were filled using a dowel rod method that we use all the time in our workshop! Love those kind of details! They really add to the story of this piece!

Customer is Here!

Well that’s it for tonight! This post turned out longer than I expected and also, my client is here to pick it up!! Yes, it is sold! My fave four letter word 🙂

I will post again tomorrow with the full reveal! Now to load up that dresser in their vehicle! See ya!

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    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Hahaha!! ?? You’re too funny!