Antique cedar wardrobe finally refinished

Not open for further replies.


New User
Michael Lemings
Thank you all for allowing me to share this recent project with you.

This wouldn't have been possible without the great help of Mac (Skysharks)!! :eek:ccasion1:icon_thum:eusa_clap:eusa_clap

Mac invited my wife and I over to his tremendous shop last weekend to assist us with repairing one of the cedar doors using a biscuit joint. John also gave us a great class on his jointer and biscuit tool, enabling us to make the excellent repair ourselves! Thank you again, Mac!! Like I said last weekend, I'll be calling to deliver some of my special applewood and hickory smoked babybacks either this weekend or early next week.

We picked up the wardrobe earlier this year from the Fayetteville Restore Warehouse. We were told that the person who delivered it there said it was in their family since the 1930s. After alot of stripping, sanding, repairing the door, and adding some cedar panels to the back interior, it was finally prepared to finish. As with many older pieces, I wanted to preserve as much of the original character it had when it was originally constructed. I contemplated simply applying a tung oil, BLO, or danisn oil finish, but Mac had a great point to use a more protective finish such as a poly. I agreed, and kept it very simple by applying Minwax water-based satin polycrylic. It looked real milky-white in the can, but each of the four coats (lightly sanded between coats) dried crystal clear in about two to three hours. The grain and figure doesn't quite "pop" as other cedar finishes I see throughout other discussions, however I'm very pleased with the final, softer, overall appearance. Now my entire house smells like a Virginian Juniper forest!

Here's the piece prior to any work. It was lying on it's side.

Here's a close up of the wood surface prior to any work.

Working down to the bare wood.

Different levels of the surface.

The entire piece prior to finishing.

A couple of pics after the finish cured.

There are some additional pics in my gallery.

Once again, I really want to thank Mac for inviting us over to his awesome woodshop, and giving us a tour of some of his tremendous projects!! That matchbox walnut table he mentions in the Norm Abrams plans thread is a priceless beauty, and I can't wait to see it once it's completed!

One quick gloat...the wardrobe was only $12.50 plus a little elbow grease!


Corporate Member
Great job! When it comes to refinishing, elbow grease ain't cheap, though it is free. :eusa_doh:


Excellent job!! :eusa_clap I have a similar piece that is structurally sound but at some point the exterior had been painted :BangHead: Your project results will serve as an inspiration once I start stripping and refinishing it :wsmile:


Staff member
Corporate Member
Great looking wardrobe. You did a wonderful restore. Top it all off you got to meet Mac. Some how all WW projects seem to turn out better when you have an assist from a fellow NCWW member. For the ladies on the site that was a generic fellow. :wink_smil


New User
Michael Lemings
Thank you all for the great support and very nice compliments. I'm still quite new to finishing and woodworking, and understand 'trial and error'.

Although I've never used WaterLox, I'm very impressed with what I've read and seen thus far throughout NCWW. I'm very anxious to try it (S&F, TO, etc) on my upcoming projects. Pehaps a small roadtrip to Aberdeen (Burney Hardware - my nearest local supplier according to the WaterLox website) may be in the very near future.
Thank you all again! :eek:ccasion1


Administrator , Forum Moderator
Good looking restore on the cedar. It is amazing to me how well it came out


Corporate Member
:eusa_clapGreat restore, Mike!!!:eusa_clap

That cedar really does shine now. You certainly breathed another 50 years of life into that piece.:icon_sunn

Nice work.



New User
John Macmaster
Looking good Mike. Love the way that the Cedar just Pops out when you put a finish on it.
Don't know if you know it but you repeated your last post twice. I wonder if it is a software thingy, or a miss key stroke???


New User
Michael Lemings
Thanks for catching that, Mac. :rolf:
I deleted that 'delayed-duplicate' post (that was weird). I may have had two separate windows open at the same time or something.

When sanding down the wardrobe, I had to be real careful when using the 3 x 21 belt sander (slowest speed with fast passes). I have a large shoebox full of very fine "powdery" cedar sawdust; not sure to do with it.
I really need to get started on building a decent workbench, but need to complete that large alder armoire to make space for the workbench. I guess that my 3/4, 4 x 8 plywood and sawhorses can work just a bit longer. I've seen some great ideas and discussions here on workbenches, and really need to put building a (or restoring a used) workbench to the top of my list. Thank you for the great compliment. :icon_thum


New User
Michael, nice job on the wardrobe. Looks good!:eusa_clap:eusa_clap:eusa_clap

I have a similar one that my Dad had built before he married my Mom in 1939. It's a one of a kind, built by an old gentlemen who made church furniture.

I use it every day. Lots of good memories in there.

Tar Heel

New User
Nice job on the refinishing Mike. My MIL has a cedar blanket chest on which the finish looks much like the one in your second picture. However, she won't even consider letting anyone refinish it. :dontknow::roll: You got a nice piece for $12.50 plus that elbow grease.


Corporate Member
Great deal on a beautiful piece of furniture. You did a great job on the refinish. :eusa_clap:eusa_clap

Not open for further replies.

Premier Sponsor

Our Sponsors