How To

Man picks up a ‘free’ vanity desk from yard sale making owners regret it after he transforms it

October 6th, 2020

Although furniture restoration has been around forever, it’s become an even bigger trend lately. Part of that has to do with so many people living on limited budgets. But also, with the pandemic, individuals look for projects they can do at home to occupy their time.

Finding bargains

The great thing about furniture restoration is that you can transform something you already own or you can find pieces from other sources. For instance, garage sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, and even dumpsters are ideal for making cool discoveries.

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Unsplash/Simone Pellegrini Source: Unsplash/Simone Pellegrini

One man’s story

A man by the name of Ross Taylor came across an Art Deco vanity/desk. Not only did he find the piece at a yard sale but it also had a “free” sign on it. Whoever wanted to get rid of it had no idea that it still had a lot of life left in it.

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YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks Source: YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks

Taylor’s secret

Although this furniture appeared to be in bad condition, Taylor has a secret. As a woodworker, he knew he could do something with it. So, after taking it to his shop, he set his plan into motion. He even uploaded a video to show the restoration process that’s now been viewed just under five million times.

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YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks Source: YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

Most people would look at this vanity/desk and consider it junk. But to Taylor’s trained eye, he saw furniture in good condition, excluding the drawer fronts. At the start of the video, he dismantles the piece, including the built-in clock.

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YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks Source: YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks

Tools of the trade

After removing the clock, Taylor used a heat gun and scraper to remove most of the yellow paint from the drawer fronts. That way, the printed-on grain underneath wouldn’t be damaged. He then applied a paint stripper to all the exterior surfaces and allowed it to sit for 24 hours.

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YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks Source: YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks

Stripping the furniture

The next step involved using a paint scraper to remove all the old paint from the entire piece. To get any leftover paint off, he rubbed the vanity/desk with a lacquer thinner. After the piece dried for a few days, he used a smaller tool to remove paint from inside crevices and corners.

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YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks Source: YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks

Making repairs

Since the drawers were in the worst shape, Taylor had to make some minor repairs. He started by removing the bottoms so he could sand the interior surfaces and outside edges. Once reassembled, he added glue blocks to the bottom portions to give the drawers more support.

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YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks Source: YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks

Creating new pieces

A few of the pieces on the front of the furniture were beyond repair. So, Taylor made new ones. After installing them, he turned his attention to the staining process. For that, he chose a color much darker than the original. But for the drawer fronts, he went with something lighter. He first applied a mahogany-colored dye followed by a dark walnut color.

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YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks Source: YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks

The finishing touches

Going through a few additional steps, Taylor finally finished the project. There are no words to describe the before and after. This restored Art Deco piece doesn’t look anything like it did before.

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YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks Source: YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks

An unbelievable transformation

We’re pretty sure if the people who gave this vanity/desk away saw it now, they’d be kicking themselves. You can watch the video in its entirety to see what all Taylor did. And hopefully, it will inspire you to tackle a restoration project.

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YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks Source: YouTube Screenshot/Ross Taylor Woorworks

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Source: YouTube, Wikipedia

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