Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Heywood Wakefield Restoration

This is a project I've been working on, off and on for a few weeks now. It's a Heywood Wakefield Encore dresser. I found this (much in need of repair and refinishing) Dresser at one of my favorite local haunts. Didn't realize the back and the bottom was in need of replacing until we started loading it up. As of now, I have the bottom removed and the back (what was left of it) removed. The back and the bottom inner pieces (two 1/4" pieces of birch ply inserted in a tongue and groove solid birch/maple frame) were curling up because of over exposure to some type of moisture, so they will be replaced and re-inserted and then the bottom will be re-atatched. I will use the old back piece for a template to make the new one. I'll also save the old piece of the back with the serial numbers and finish type on it. I have restored many Heywood Wakefield pieces since I have been doing this and perfected a mix for both the Wheat and the Champagne finish. I mix all of my own stains and toners. I only use a certain type because it doesn't mask the grain. (there are about 3 variations of each of these even coming from the original factory and one of these is a little more opaque. I usually prefer (as do most) the lighter version of this because it doesn't mask the beauty of the solid maple graining, so this must definitely be taken into consideration when refinishing) I don't think there are many people in town who completely understand these finishes. It took much trial and error to perfect and there are many steps involved, but the results are beautiful. I have brought many of these back from the dead. This one is especially involved though. I have the top and the sides ready to finish. They have been stripped sanded and all of the gouges (and there were many) raised out and sanded. Here are some pictures of the progression so far. I will post more up as I get further along, so feel free to check back if you like.

Side View Before stripping

Back view before restoration

After stripping

Drawer after sanding with toner applied

Drawers after applying final finish

Bottom of cabinet before removal/restoration

Bottom of cabinet after removal

Top of cabinet after sanding/repair

Back of cabinet before removal

back of cabinet after removal awaiting new backing

This is as it sits now. I am in the process of making the pieces to fit into the bottom and the back. I will probably just add to this post rather than making a new one, so be sure and check back here in a few days if you want to see the progress.

Almost Completed (First Update)

Here are the bottom pieces cut, put in place and clamped to dry

And the bottom piece section put back in place

The back section cut and put back into place...

And finally, the whole piece toned, finished and put back together

All it needs now is for the two broken feet to be made (thanks Tony), put into place and finished and it will be complete. This has been quite an involved restoration, but it is always rewarding to see something like this come back to this. Now, hopefully, with the proper care, it can serve someone for a long time to come. I hope this didn't boar anyone to tears.