One more photo of the front of the refinished Lane Rhythm dresser. We love the way this project turned out. January 2019.

Lane Rhythm 6-Drawer Dresser

Lane Rhythm 6-drawer dresser, pre-restoration, September 2018.
Lane Rhythm 6-drawer dresser, pre-restoration, September 2018.

Back in September, we purchased a Lane Rhythm 6-drawer dresser that was in pretty tough shape with the intent to restore it.

Here are a number of photos showing the damage to the piece. We keep waiting to find a wad of money forgotten behind the drawers of a dresser we rescue, but this dresser just had lots of random papers and plenty of mouse droppings. Not quite the treasure we were hoping for.

Top of the Lane Rhythm dresser. Note the scratches and loss of finish. September 2018.
Top of the Lane Rhythm dresser. Note the scratches and loss of finish. September 2018.

 

There's a loss of finish on the front of the Lane Rhythm dresser, too. September 2018.
There’s a loss of finish on the front of the Lane Rhythm dresser, too. September 2018.

 

Miscellaneous garbage left behind in the Lane Rhythm dresser. September 2018.
Miscellaneous garbage left behind in the Lane Rhythm dresser. September 2018.

 

Mouse midden pile and droppings in the dresser. September 2018.
Mouse midden pile and droppings in the dresser. September 2018.

 

As we cleaned the dresser, we wore gloves and masks due to the mouse droppings. Here Erik is using compressed air to blow the detritus out of a drawer. September 2018.
As we cleaned the dresser, we wore gloves and masks due to the mouse droppings. Here Erik is using compressed air to blow the detritus out of a drawer. September 2018.

 

As we removed the drawers in order to clean the inside of the case, we numbered each one and its corresponding location using blue painter's tape and a Sharpie marker. September 2018.
As we removed the drawers in order to clean the inside of the case, we numbered each one and its corresponding location using blue painter’s tape and a Sharpie marker. September 2018.

 

We have refinished a couple of other Lane Rhythm lowboy dressers in the past. Each one has had the same design flaw - the dresser develops what we call a sway back. Due to the span and not enough support, the entire dresser droops in the center, so it is no longer level. September 2018.
We have refinished a couple of other Lane Rhythm lowboy dressers in the past. Each one has had the same design flaw – the dresser develops what we call a sway back. Due to the span and not enough support, the entire dresser droops in the center, so it is no longer level. September 2018.

 

Here is the dresser case without drawers after cleaning. Large dressers are much easier to move with the drawers taken out. September 2018.
Here is the dresser case without drawers after cleaning. Large dressers are much easier to move with the drawers taken out. September 2018.

 

Once we got the dresser case into the shop, we put it on the work table with its top down. This allowed us to see the droop more clearly. See the white line beneath the dresser? That's light showing through indicating how the entire piece has sagged over time. September 2018.
Once we got the dresser case into the shop, we put it on the work table with its top down. This allowed us to see the droop more clearly. See the white line beneath the dresser? That’s light showing through indicating how the entire piece has sagged over time. September 2018.

 

In order to try to fix the Lane Rhythm dresser droop, Erik first clamped it and attempted to attach a piece of angle iron to the bottom to pull the dresser into place. The hope was that the angle iron would both straighten the dresser and support it so it wouldn't sag again. No such luck. The droop was so ingrained in the piece that when it was unclamped, the angle iron bent. September 2018.
In order to try to fix the Lane Rhythm dresser droop, Erik first clamped it and attempted to attach a piece of angle iron to the bottom to pull the dresser into place. The hope was that the angle iron would both straighten the dresser and support it so it wouldn’t sag again. No such luck. The droop was so ingrained in the piece that when it was unclamped, the angle iron bent. September 2018.

 

In order to make the refinishing process easier, Erik will disassemble furniture. Here is in removing the back. He also removed the top of the Lane Rhythm dresser and refinished it separately from the rest of the case. September 2018.
In order to make the refinishing process easier, Erik will disassemble furniture. Here is in removing the back. He also removed the top of the Lane Rhythm dresser and refinished it separately from the rest of the case. September 2018.

Fast-forward a few months …

Notice the wall framing in the above photo. When we brought this dresser to the shop, we didn’t have our new shop space completed. As we let the Lane Rhythm dresser sit, we spent several months building out the shop. Once the shop was complete, we returned to the dresser this past week to finish it.

Lane Rhythm dresser stripped, sanded, and awaiting stain. January 2019.
Lane Rhythm dresser stripped, sanded, and awaiting stain. January 2019.

 

The finished Lane Rhythm 6-drawer dresser. See the extra leg in the bottom middle? That was Erik's solution for the sway-back ... add an extra leg to provide more support. January 2019.
The finished Lane Rhythm 6-drawer dresser. See the extra leg in the bottom middle? That was Erik’s solution for the sway-back … add an extra leg to provide more support. See the wall behind the dresser? This was the same wall that was merely framing back in September. January 2019.

 

Top of the newly refinished Lane dresser. It's a far cry from what we started with, eh? January 2019.
Top of the newly refinished Lane dresser. It’s a far cry from what we started with, eh? January 2019.

 

All the drawers were scrubbed to within an inch of their lives, plus we add new drawer liners. January 2019.
All the drawers were scrubbed to within an inch of their lives, plus we add new drawer liners. January 2019.

 

One more photo of the front of the refinished Lane Rhythm dresser. We love the way this project turned out. January 2019.
One more photo of the front of the refinished Lane Rhythm dresser. We love the way this project turned out. January 2019.

Measurements on the Lane Rhythm 6-drawer dresser, in case you’re wondering are: 61″ long, 31″ high, 18″ deep.

Mid-Century Modern Dresser of Unknown Origin

9-drawer mid-century modern dresser, May 2018.
9-drawer mid-century modern dresser, May 2018.

Erik’s most recent restoration project was this 9-drawer, mid-century modern dresser of unknown origin.

We’re always a little frustrated by piece of furniture that don’t identify themselves. Normally, the manufacturer puts a brand or label in one of the upper drawers. Not so with this piece, so we can’t figure out who designed or manufacturer it.

Still, it makes for a lovely, mid-century dresser with lots of room. It measures 60 1/4″ wide x 17 1/2″ deep x 30 1/2″ high.

When we picked it up, the dresser was in rough shape, with very wobbly legs. Erik has created reinforcement pieces for the bottom sides. He also inserted a new board on the lower bottom, between the legs, salvaging the trim piece from the old board so that the design of the dresser would remain intact. With these fixes, the dresser is now sturdy. No more leg wobble.

This dresser is now available at MidModMen+friends in St. Paul, MN.

Side view of 9-drawer mid-century modern dresser. The piece of wood between the legs was added by Erik to stabilize the structure. May 2018.
Side view of 9-drawer mid-century modern dresser. The piece of wood between the legs was added by Erik to stabilize the structure. May 2018.
9-drawer mid-century modern dresser, view of new piece of wood with salvaged trim on the front bottom (between the legs). May 2018.
9-drawer mid-century modern dresser, view of new piece of wood with salvaged trim on the front bottom (between the legs). May 2018.
Jens Risom Credenza: Restoration complete.

Jens Risom Credenza Revived

Jens Risom credenza as found.
Jens Risom credenza as found.
Front of Jens Risom credenza as found.
Front of Jens Risom credenza as found.

Erik is known for taking on furniture restoration challenges that few others are willing to tackle. When we picked up this Jens Risom credenza, all the defects weren’t apparent until we got it into the shop. This project took at least 20 hours for Erik to finish and there were points in the process where he felt it was going to kick his ass. But, he prevailed and the end result is beautiful.

Below are photos showing some of the defects, parts of the repair process, and the final result.

Risom Credenza Drawers

Before: Jens Risom credenza drawers.
Jens Risom Credenza: Drawers before.
After: Jens Risom credenza drawers.
Jens Risom Credenza: Drawers after. 

Once Erik started examining the Risom credenza, it became obvious that someone had attempted to refinish it before. The finish had been applied haphazardly and it was a sticky mess to remove. Typically, during refinishing, especially when someone is inexpert at it, the interior of the piece is not touched. Not so with this credenza. Even the insides of the drawers had been poorly refinished.

Erik had to disassemble the drawers and remove the hardware in order to properly strip and refinish them. The top picture shows the foreground drawer after sanding and the background drawer in its original state. Note the stain slopped on the original Risom label. We love labels in furniture and do our best to preserve them, which Erik managed to do as seen in the bottom picture.

He did not restain the insides of the drawers, but gave them 2 coats of shellac and 1 coat of lacquer to protect the wood.

 

Repairing Holes in the Top of the Credenza

ens Risom Credenza: Holes in top, before.
Jens Risom Credenza: Holes in top, before.
Jens Risom Credenza: Holes in top, epoxy filled.
Jens Risom Credenza: Holes in top, epoxy filled.
Jens Risom Credenza: Holes in top, stain and sealer coats applied.
Jens Risom Credenza: Holes in top, stain and sealer coats applied.
Jens Risom Credenza: Holes in top, finished repair.
Jens Risom Credenza: Holes in top, finished repair.

This Risom credenza is actually the return from an executive desk, which means that the two pieces would have been joined together to form an “L” shape. The holes in the top of the credenza are where the desk is attached to the credenza. When selling the credenza separate from the desk, you have to repair the holes. The above photos show this process.

The first photo shows the holes before any work has been done.

The second shows the piece after sanding, with epoxy filling the holes.

The third photo is the piece after staining, 2 coats of shellac, and 1 thin coat of lacquer. Note how the epoxy-filled holes are still visible. It’s at this point that Erik had to use his artistry to grain-paint these spots, making them blend in to the rest of the finish.

The fourth photo is the finished product.

 

The Left End of the Credenza

Jens Risom Credenza: Left end before.
Jens Risom Credenza: Left end before.
Jens Risom Credenza: Left end, defects epoxy filled.
Jens Risom Credenza: Left end, corner epoxy filled.
Jens Risom Credenza: Left end, defects epoxy filled.
Jens Risom Credenza: Left end, defects epoxy filled.
Jens Risom Credenza: Left end, finished repair.
Jens Risom Credenza: Left end, finished repair.

The left end of the Risom credenza needed a lot of work, including removing an unneeded mounting board for the privacy panel, gluing to tighten joints, epoxy-filling a corner and more holes (lotta holes in this piece!), and a couple of other veneer repairs. The same process was followed as for repairing the holes in the top and you can see the end result.

Replacing a Piece of Trim

Jens Risom Credenza: Splintered and missing trim.
Jens Risom Credenza: Splintered and missing trim.
Jens Risom Credenza: New walnut trim cut, secured in place and shaped.
Jens Risom Credenza: New walnut trim cut, secured in place and shaped.
Jens Risom Credenza: Trim, repair complete.
Jens Risom Credenza: Trim, repair complete.

This Risom credenza is meant to float in the middle of the room, so the entire thing was designed to be finished, even on the back side. A portion of the trim on the back left corner was broken off and jagged, so Erik had to fabricate a new piece, glue it on, and shape it so that it matched the profile of the original. By the time he had the credenza finished, you could barely tell he had replaced this piece.

The Risom Credenza Brought Back to Life

Jens Risom Credenza: Restoration complete.
Jens Risom Credenza: Restoration complete.

Ta da! Here it is, the Jens Risom credenza fully restored and ready to be used by someone new. This piece would make a great entertainment center, with a slide-out tray, 5 drawers, and a space for vinyl albums or books.