Vintage Painted Chest

Refinished Oak Chest, The General

I don’t normally name my furniture but the name “the General” (not really a name I know) just came to me as I was waxing this beautiful vintage oak chest. I was so very lucky to have found the chest in the condition it was in… only cosmetic issues. All of the escutcheon plates and handles were still attached, the drawers were in fabulous condition and there were no gouges or missing anything… pretty rare for a piece with this kind of age to it!



I opted to sand the finish off of the top (versus stripping) it was cold and I prefer to sand a finish away if possible… having said that it did take me quite a long time to remove the old finish from the top as oak is a VERY hard wood species! I used 100-150-220 grit sandpaper in that order to remove the old finish.

Here he is all gussied up! The finish on the handles is what I discovered under all of the years of dirt and grime. I soaked the handles overnight in a solution of ammonia and water and brushed them with a soft brush… super easy! I had planned on painting them but I really like how the finish looks with the new paint scheme! Can you see the stars..?

Vintage Painted Oak Chest

I The stained the top “Kona” and I applied a coat of Briwax Dark Wax to the oak top once the stain had dried, about 24 hours.

Vintage Painted Oak Chest

The drawers and cabinet are painted in a base coat of Old Ochre and a top coat of Coco Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I didn’t use any sandpaper to distress the chest, just warm water and a scrub sponge, super easy!

Vintage Painted Oak Chest

I applied a coat of clear Briwax to the painted areas… that wax smells but it is so much easier to work with than some of the other popular waxes, I really do love it!

Vintage Painted Oak Chest

I actually was able to stage the chest in our library and I love how it looks in there… but I cannot keep it as there are other pieces that belong in this space that I am not ready to give up!

Vintage Painted Oak Chest

So the “General” will be for sale, but maybe I will enjoy looking at him in this spot for a few days first!

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time…

My Signature

Linking up to these parties!

Between Naps on the Porch, Coastal Charm, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, The Ivy Cottage, A Stroll Thru Life, The Dedicated House, Elizabeth & Co., Savvy Southern Style, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, PJH Designs, Miss Mustard Seed, French Country Cottage, My Romantic Home, Chic on a Shoestring

The Dedicated House


    1. Alyson, the ammonia with a small amount of warm water will strip of any finish that is on the metal… paint, protective coatings, everything! The solution will take the piece back to its base metal finish… I have been doing this for at least 20 years and have never had any issues.


  1. Your piece turned out absolutely gorgeous – nice colors with the wood top! And thank you for the tip about the ammonia and water!

    Best, Geri


  2. I might be way off here, but I wonder if that piece once had caster feet. It just looks like it needs them. I am going to use the ammonia treatment on some hardware i have in the shop. Thanks for the tip. You have done a great job on the finish…I hope it sells right away and finds a new home. It would live with me but I’m not in your neighborhood!


    1. You are absolutely right! It did originally have casters, but they were not there when I bought the piece. I thought about buying some replacement wheels for it, but it really doesn’t need it to function properly.. You are on the ball though! 🙂


  3. Wow, I love it, such a great piece and the finish is perfect. Looks fabulous in your furniture arrangement. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, marty


  4. Susan, That is absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing this at the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see your prettiness again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse


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