Antique Pine Dresser


September 28, 2021| DIY, Farmhouse furniture, Refurbishing furniture

Do you want to transform an antique pine dresser and give it an update? I will share with you how I refinished a recent find.

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I went to a fundraising event for a library that was a little unconventional. In addition to selling books, they were also selling furniture, home decor items, sets of dishes, and more. While there, I stumbled upon an antique dresser that needed some attention. It had great lines and I could see its potential – however- the color of the stained wood had a strong orange undertone. This chest of drawers was made in the 19th century and was 52″ inches wide x 44 ” high. It looked very similar to some english pine dressers I have encountered in the past.

Antique Pine Dresser

Obviously, the library sale was not going to provide free delivery – which meant Mr. SLH and I had to wrestled the chest of drawers into the back of the our little SUV. Oh the joys of being in a relationship with someone who sells antiques and refurbishes furniture.

I just knew that with a little elbow grease, I could transform this antique pine dresser into something more beautiful.

Let’s get started on this transformation process.

The antique pine dresser started off looking like the photo above.  In addition to having the unfortunate orangish color – a couple of the drawer rails needed to be repaired and some of the drawers needed some work.

Step 1: Strip the Existing Finish off the Antique Pine Dresser

First I used Citristrip to removed the existing clear finish. I brushed on the stripper and covered it with saran wrap. I put some videos together showing how the dresser was stripped and sanded.  You can watch how the dresser was stripped of its existing finish HERE.

Once the dresser was stripped, I wiped it down using steel wool and denatured alcohol. The denatured alcohol helps to remove the gunk that the stripper leaves behind.

Step 2: Sanding the Antique Pine Dresser

Then I started part 2 of refinishing this dresser- sanding it down.

Partially sanded top of an antique pine dresser

Then I started sanding using 120 grit sand paper. 

The biggest challenge was getting rid of the splotchy areas on the wood.  You can see them clearly in the photo above.  The bottom drawer was sanded once using 120 grit sand paper.  I ended up sanding the entire dress three times using 120 grit. Then I still had to do some spot sanding.

I kept sanding and sanding and sanding until there was a uniform finish.  Of course, for the larger flat areas, I used a random orbital sander.  For the crevices and the corners, I hand sanded.

When I finally achieved a uniform appearance, I went over the dresser again with 200 grit sandpaper.  

All in all, I am happy with how it turned out.  Here are some more photos.

The top came out amazingly well considering the age of this dresser.  Fortunately, during the past 100 plus years, there was no significant damage to the top of the dresser. All I had to do was sand the top really well. 

The sides also came out well.  See the wood in the middle of the side that has the wood frame around it?  That’s a single board.  That’s one indication that this is an antique piece of furniture.  Most modern furniture has multiple pieces of wood glued together. 

Step 3: Final Details

The glass knobs were cleaned by placing them in distilled white vinegar and gently boiling them on the stove for about ten minutes.  These knobs are original to the antique pine dresser.

I should also mention that I sanded the interior frame of the dresser and scrubbed it using Mr. Clean in a bucket of hot water.  The inside of the dresser really needed to scrubbed.  When I was done, the water was black. 

I didn’t want to apply a polycrylic to the dresser because it would change the color of the raw wood.  Instead, I decided to apply MMS clear furniture wax.  Although, it did change the color slightly, the change is not noticeable.  The benefit of the wax is that is preserves the wood and protects it from moisture.  (Like a spilled drink or water from a vase of flowers). I love using MMS waxes because they are all natural, smell good and are easily applied. They are perfect when you want to protect raw wood finishes and don’t want to alter the color of the wood.


Thank you for following along on the transformation of this antique pine dresser. This was a fun project to work on and the end result was very rewarding. This piece of furniture would be perfect in an entryway, as a buffet in a dining room, or even in a home office.

If you want to remember this project or the information in this post for the future, simply pin one of the images below to your Pinterest account.

Antique Pine Dresser 2

The soft buttery pine is perfect for fall.

Antique Pine Dresser 1

The original hardware cleaned up so well!

Antique Pine Dresser 3

I love how you can see the character and age of the old wood.

Other Projects with Antique Pine

Antique Pine Blanket Chest

If you liked the transformation of this dresser, you may also like reading about this pine chest that was given an update.

Waxed Pine Dresser

You can also read about the transformation of this waxed pine dresser.


Thanks for following along on this little journey.  If you decide to use this technique on a piece of furniture, I hope you share a photo with me.  Please let me know how the process goes. 

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    1. Where for you think this dress e r was made, and about what year? I have never seen such a clean and refreshed antique like your dresser’s end result..

      1. Hi Cindy- I am not positive but I believe the dresser was made between 1880-1890s. Sanding down antique pine gives it such a beautiful clean look. Thank you for commenting.

  1. I am so pleased to see that you showed off this beautiful antique piece and did not paint it. I am so sick of people covering beautiful aged pieces with paint and all the other trendy surface coverings.

    1. I am a beginner to diy I didn’t know about it being 1 piece of wood on the one side and that’s how you can tell how old it is.thank you

      1. Hi Cassandra – Thank you for your comment. Yes! Generally if you have wide single boards, it is an indication of age. I am glad you found this post helpful.

  2. So much work and totally worth it, Anna! Wow – this piece is a stunner. I didn’t realize you could continue to sand until the wood finish became even so I’m excited to learn that. Whenever I had a tough spot that didn’t come out even I just painted over it because I thought the tannins were just too damaged. It’s nice to know all I really need to do is stay the course! Loving and pinning as always sweet friend, CoCo

    1. Hi CoCo – Thank you for stopping by and for reading the post. Yes, I find if you continue to sand long enough – you can get a unified finish! It just requires a lot of elbow grease. 😅

  3. wow Anna! This came out beautiful. We have a few antique pine pieces from Europe (it’s the East coaster in me 🙂) and this piece would fit in beautifully. Well done. XO- MaryJo

    PS. and those knobs!!! 🤩

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