Repurposing antique dresser drawer fronts...

Last fall I went to a really nasty auction. The place was nasty, the stuff was nasty...and honestly, some of the people were questionable. 

But I scored some really nifty old pieces. Most had to be scrubbed with straight ammonia.

I bought an old solid mahogany dresser that was literally in pieces and had obviously been outside for quite some time. (This is AFTER a good scrubbing with ammonia!)

What I really wanted was the mirror...and sure enough it sold in days! The couple who bought it knew exactly what they were getting...solid mahogany, amazing carvings and unique style! Truly stunning! What was really incredible was the original mirror was still intact and unbroken!

I really wanted to do something with the base, but it would take a pretty extensive repair and rebuild to get it back in shape. A fairly large critter had obviously nested in and nibbled on the drawers and insects had made a snack out of some of the wood. I stuck the base and drawers back in my garden cubby and knew I would eventually have some "stroke of inspiration." I just can't bring myself to toss old wood. I don't normally stick wood furniture out in the elements...but seriously, it had already been outside for who knows how long and I was fairly certain not much more damage could be done!

A few weeks ago I decided to clean out the garden cubby. The drawers had again been nested in and all of it was covered in ants. And I am not sure what kind of spider crawled out of the drawer when I moved it but I'm pretty sure it intended to make a meal of me. 

I carefully pulled apart the dovetail joints of the drawer really wasn't to difficult since any glue used to construct the piece had long since "disappeared." I tossed the bottoms of the drawers, set aside the sides for future use and went to work on the drawer fronts.

The fronts are not what one normally finds with older furniture...veneer over solids. Nope...these drawer fronts were solid mahogany. Surprisingly, they were not warped or twisted which tells me the wood was well cured when the dresser was constructed.

The black stuff is the old literally flaked right off when I scraped it with my fingernail.

The old hardware is amazing. I suspect the plates are copper. There are two eye bolts through each side of the plate and they are affixed to the back with little square nuts. A decorative "handle" is looped through the eye bolts. I decided not to paint them or even clean them up. I pulled them off so I could easily sand the pieces. The bolt threads and nuts were pretty rusty so I sprayed them with a little WD40 just to make them thread easier.

I sanded the drawer fronts, scrubbed them with varnish remover, and then wiped them down with Watco Teak Oil Finish. After the finish had dried, I added two cast iron hooks I've had in my hardware stash for some time! 

I attached two loop fasteners to the back.

Beautiful! I love them so much there is a good chance I may keep one for myself. The wood is magnificent! They would be perfect in a bathroom or by a door for hanging coats and purses! 

Not sure where the inspiration came from, but they are beautiful, useful, AND unique! Mr. Morris would be proud!