This is a family restoration the piece in question belonged to my wife’s grandmother. I twas most likely a dressing table or a washstand. There is evidence on the top that something was screwed to it in the past. Grandma used it as a kitchen table (which is what I will refer to it as) and bench which means the top took a beating.  Other than that the piece was in reasonably good condition. There were no manufacturer’s marks which makes dating the piece difficult. Im no expert but it looks Edwardian to me  so it must be over 100 years old.

Kitchen table

The kitchen table was finished with shellac so I washed it with methylated spirits and steel wool. The top was the most damaged and I used a cabinet scraper to remove most os the finish. This exposed the old screw holes so I ended up sandins the whole top. Sanding removed some water damage but left the timber looking brand new. I didn’t touch the edges other than a light sand. I needed to fill some old screw holes and decided to use wooden plugs. The timber was difficult to identify. In the end I used some red pine as the  grain and colour were close to the original. After more sanding I stained the top with a mahogany stain to bring it closer to the rest of the kitchen table. I applied several coats of shellac to the top and then followed up with three coats to the entire piece. I sanded lightly between coats leaving the final coat. After a week or so I applied beeswax which brought a nice finish.

The only other challenge were two of the brass castors. The swivels that attach the castors to the legs had split with the passing of time. I was able to repair these with a brass brazing rod. The repairs were quite successful.

My wife is happy that the piece looks refreshed but her grandmothers marks are still visible. I do wonder when I repair or renovate family pieces they matter to us because we knew the owners but our children did not. It is very likely that on our passing that the kids will either toss it out or sell it. When no one knows the providence of a piece of furniture or its connection there is little value. Despite this I’m still happy with my restoration.