Friday, March 4, 2011

Refurbishing an Antique Cedar Trunk: Day One

Today I began the two-day process of refurbishing a cedar trunk I purchased last Fall for $20 through Craigslist. I was anticipating this endeavor to take an entire afternoon, and I was happily surprised to have fully sanded, cleaned, and applied the first coat of finish in about an hour.

The recommended time between the first and second coats is 6 hours, so I'm planning to do the second coat tomorrow once the sun is back to help with the drying process. In the meantime, here are some before shots of the trunk, a pic of the products I'm using (disposable rubber gloves, minwax "Black Satin" 2-in-1 stain, and two grades of sandpaper. Not pictured: very fine steel wool and a sandpaper-gripper) AND two shots of the trunk after the first coat.

Step One:
Using 100 grit sandpaper, sand the entire surface of the trunk (this will be extra dusty- so be sure to do this outside and/or in a very well ventilated area.

Step Two:
Wipe off the dust and repeat the process with a 400 grit sandpaper. Wipe trunk again with a slightly damp cloth being sure to remove all dust. Allow the trunk to fully dry from the damp cloth.

Step Three:
Once the trunk is dry, put on the gloves and stir the stain. Before jumping in with both feet, apply the stain to a small hidden portion of the trunk to be sure you like the color/stain/finish. If you are happy with it, begin working the stain onto the surfaces of the trunk with small amounts on the brush and in sweeping motions in the direction of the grain of the wood. Do this over the entire surface of the trunk. Be careful not to brush up against the trunk or spill the stain on your clothes (it's oil-based and will not come out.)

Step Four:
Call your mom, dad, husband, best friend, and gush about how much you already love the project as you reseal the stain container and put away your brushes. The stain (per the instructions on the side of the tin) requires 6 hours to dry before the next coat can be applied. Find something great to do, like go for a run or get started on making dinner.

...More to come tomorrow! Looking forward to posting pictures of the final product!

-Domestic in the District


  1. Looking GOOOD, DIY Queen. Very inspiring. Love, love ya.

  2. It turns out that one coat of the stain on the trunk was perfect. As it dried I realized I loved it just the way it was, so I decided to be content with what I had and re-assemble our bedroom (which was strewn with the contents of the trunk.) Now the trunk looks amazing AND is back to its job of keeping all my running clothes and PJs in one spot rather than all over our room- which makes both me and Ken quite happy.