I left the yard sale without this piece. I got all the way home and knew I needed to turn around or I’d regret it. And boy I’m glad I went back - wait until you see this one…
I love a good antique cedar chest. They are super functional and can be used in so many ways, from a blanket chest at the end of a bed, to a coffee table, or bench with storage. I look for them when I go shopping for exactly this reason. They’re also a great size for a makeover, not too big, not too small.
When I spotted this antique cedar chest, I knew it was special, it’s much more detailed than most with little curvy feet and trim and details for days. I could also immediately see it in distressed white to really make all those details pop!
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This piece needed a bit of prep work, one of the feet had been broken, so needed to be re-attached. The inside was a little musty so I sanded and oiled the inside, and removed the lock mechanism (for safety) as well. Once all that was done, it was time for the fun part.
Refinishing the top with Arm-R-Seal
I knew there was beautiful wood under the scratched up top, so I sanded it down to raw wood and was not disappointed!
Because the wood really was in such good shape, I finished it using Arm-R-Seal. It’s an oil, urethane finish that soaks into the wood and makes the grain come to life… watch this little video and see what I mean:
It does take 24 hours for each coat to dry, so this is a lengthier process than using a water based finish, but if you have a nice piece of wood, it’s well worth it! After the first coat dries, lightly sand between coats with 400 grit sandpaper and repeat the application. It’s just the prettiest finish.
Priming & Painting
I knew I wanted the base of this to be white, so I also knew I needed to prime. No sense in risking the dreaded bleed through. I primed with General Finishes Stain Blocker to make sure I could get a nice solid color.
My favorite white is a mix of 50/50 Antique White and Snow White Milk Paint. It’s the perfect combo, warm without being yellow, white without being too bright. Two coats of that, and the result was just right.
I distressed the feet and edges with 120 grit sandpaper. Just enough to really make the details stand out.
Although there are no drawers, this chest did still have it original hardware, and I like the accent it gives, so I cleaned it up and replaced it.
Ugh, I cannot get enough of that top, I just want to hug it.
I painted the back of this antique cedar chest as well in case someone would like to use it as a coffee table, it’s ready to go!
Whoever said wood and white didn’t make the perfect combination was dead wrong. It’s so timeless and just so good!
Until next time,