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Today's project has been refinishing a cedar chest we got for free. It's solid cedar and sturdy but it has definitely seen better days: burn marks, initials and doodles gouged in with ballpoint pen, and the finish was crazed and cloudy. We've sounded it down to bare wood and trued up the corners a bit. Once the glue dries, we'll lay down a first coat of tung oil.

(This project is an example of why I think folks should have to be licensed to use chalk paint. I've seen would-be "upcyclers" claim they just HAD to ruin an antique with some twee pastel paint because "the wood was too damaged" and like, do they not know how sanding works? Cause if not that's even MORE worrying).

(And to be clear I have absolutely nothing against painting or customizing furniture. Plenty of really talented people are doing amazing things with IKEA pieces or other big-box-store finds. I'm not going to get shirty about the artistic integrity of particleboard.

It's just the folks who act like they're rescuing antiques by making them look like spray-painted IKEA pieces when they could just...spray paint IKEA pieces).

@Annalee I painted rather than refinished an old table from Goodwill. Not because I appreciate the chalk-paint aesthetic, (although I do) but because I grew up in a "use a coaster!" household, and wanted to not care at all if the coffee table, got, y'know, coffee on it.

Also, not everyone has the wherewithal in money, interest, skills, etc. to invest in power tools and traditional refinishing. Paint can sometimes be got for free, and is relatively unintimidating.

@Annalee that’s going to be so lovely when it’s done. I almost wish you’d left some of the gouges for historical interest. Was this an ex-hope chest, do you think?

@eilatan I don't know its full history, but it still has some of its original hardware, and that plus the style suggests mid-century.

We definitely didn't get rid of all the signs of wear, but there's "character" and then there's "a child repeatedly gouged this with a ballpoint pen," and since I was not the child in question I felt no sentimental attachment to the scribblings

@Annalee Oh certainly—I just think it would be a shame to try to make it look brand new, as opposed to looking good but definitely having seen some shit, if that makes sense? We have a mid century chair that needs reupholstered, but when we do it, we’re going to ask only that they clean up the wood and the worst of the scuffs.

@vapaad thanks! Second coat of tung oil goes on tonight.

@Annalee I hope you get the chance to post finished pics, I'd love to see it!

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