Vintage Mail Sorter Box – Revived

Vintage Mail Sorter - BEFORE

OK…. so here I go again without a before picture, well technically I have the one from the Craig’s List listing, but it’s not very good.. I’m going to insert it anyway! Here it is in all it’s glory… a vintage wooden mail sorter, it has 24 cubbies & 20 of the original brass name plates. The back of the piece had some damage and the wood itself had a lot of nail holes and nails sticking out of it, but it was COOL!! I was waiting for my husband (“furniture moving man”) to meet me at the store, so I took the tag off of the piece (yeah.. of course so no one else could snag it!) and took it down to the register. I usually just hold on to a tag until I’m done but for some reason I decided to drop it off with the cashier as I continued to look around… now let me tell you about 2 minutes after I walked away the cashier received a phone call from someone who saw this on CL and wanted to buy it… Um.. well of course she told her I had just given her the tag.. you snooze you loose! For some reason it is always more exciting for me when I buy an item that I know someone else wanted too.. that sounds bad doesn’t it? I would be awful in one of those free-for-all brides dress sales… I think I would be one of those ladies you see sitting on top of a huge pile of dresses regardless of whether they fit her or not (what’s up with that?).. seriously laughing now just thinking about it.. Anyway I digress.. Cool piece, needed some work, right up my alley.. here we go!
Let me start by saying I knew I was not going to keep this piece. I didn’t really want to paint it but the outer wood case was so rough and with all of the nail holes I just felt like it may have been too rustic.. So my handy, dandy husband cut a new 1/4 wood back that I stained and reattached. I removed what nails needed to come out, removed the brass name plates (keeping original nails) and filled in the large holes but left normal wear and tear gauges. After a bit of sanding (thanks goodness for this unseasonably warm weather around here) she was ready to paint. I used AS Chalk paint in Duck Egg as the base color and then a light top layer of ASCP in Country Grey, only painting the outer cabinet and the front horizontal face pieces. Since it had gotten cool again I took the piece inside to finish up. I used water and a sponge with a scouring pad on one side to do the distressing. Now I don’t normally distress this way, but it works very well and honestly I just hate the chalk paint dust! It doesn’t work for all pieces, but this one had such light layers that it worked very well. The sorter got a coat of wax and a good buffing.. now I use 0000 steel wool to do my buffing…I love it and I think it works great! I do a final wipe down / buff with a soft cloth and that part is done. I then added back the plates so that the missing plates were at the bottom row rather than scattered about. I cleaned out the inside of the cubbies with Murphy’s Oil soap spray (love the smell of this stuff) and called it complete!

Vintage Mail Sorter - After

I love the way it turned out! I think the finish looks authentically old even if it isn’t! I think it would look great hanging on the wall (you would need to add a cleat) or even sitting on the mantle (it’s only 8″ deep)… so many great uses for this… what would you do with it?

Vintage Mail Sorter - After - Close Up

Linking up at:
Photobucketshabby creek cottage Somewhat Simple grabtt

Mum of All Trades

Posted on January 9, 2012, in Furniture refinishing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Ellen Linkous Argenzio

    nice cubby


  2. It would be great in a mud room – for all those things that get lost – labels on the cubbies – gloves, mittens, shoes – even those short umbrellas.

    Love the finish.


  3. that is awesome! what a great find!!!!


  4. OH I can only imagine the thrill of finding such a great piece to rescue! I LOVE IT! I’d be thrilled if you’d swing by and link this (and any other posts you’d like to show off) up to the Head to Head Showdown, going on right now at ~Jen


  5. I love your piece and the way it turned out. The layered ASCP is a beautiful finish and your distressing is perfect. I’m happy to see how you handled the mail slots, as I have a piece (you can see it here that was a mail station in an old hotel. I’ve been fretting about whether it would look okay just to paint the shell, as painting all those mail slots would be . . . well you know. And, the slots on my piece are very small compared to yours. Thanks a million for posting your fabulous redo. Gives me hope for mine.


  6. I want it!!


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