Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Refurbishing a Vintage Jewelry Box

I found this jewelry box in a second hand store a couple weeks ago and thought it might be fun to try to refurbish it. It had seen better days but the style and size were still very popular. I have seen new ones similar to this retailing in the $200 to $300 range so I figured it wouldn't  be a really bad investment to see what I could do with.

Here's a picture of it before I started disassembling and repairing several scratched and dented areas plus removing the well used and well-worn velvet liner.

I cleaned up the several dings around the box and filled the area with furniture wax filler sticks from Lee Valley. They are mostly comprised of resin and colored to approximate several popular shades wood. I use an alcohol torch and a Dental Instrument to apply the patching material and smooth the patch with the back of an instrument to approximate the surface.

A little bit of gentle sanding and the dings were flush with the surface and ready for a bit of staining.
One of the feet was missing so I took a pattern of the opposite side and reversed it and milled out the profile on my router table and with a little judicious filing I was able to approximate the style of the other feet. 

 As you can see from the picture below the liner had seen better days so I very carefully spent a few minutes removing and storing it away in a safe place until I could get some more velvet and some card stock for backing.
Rather than completely remove the existing outside surface I chose to apply water-based stain to the entire surface and adjust the tone of the wood exterior to match the top which required complete stripping due to the damage on the surface.

 Here is a picture of the box stripped out with the hardware removed.  It looks like they used some sort of a hide glue originally.  The material I have on hand sets rather quickly so I decided  to use  Elmers' spray adhesive that I'm more familiar with .

This shows a picture of the blended stain which I hand rubbed with a piece of paper towel to even out the repairs and the several different shades that the many years of use of taken on the box.
 Shown here is the finished box with the nameplate reinstalled. I couldn't find a new plate for it at this time so I gently sanded off the original name and polished the brass the new flat surface . The finish that I'm using is an acrylic polymer from Target coatings.  It handles in many respects very similar to nitrocellulose which is no longer available to me . I find it will burns in quite well, it's relatively clear, and it responds well to polishing compounds used industrially .
  This picture shows the bottom drawer open with the new velvet added. I have yet to glue down the side liners as I wanted to complete all fitting of the liners to be sure that there weren't too many obvious flaws.
  This final shot shows the top and bottom along with the movable tray finished with the red velvet .  The color was not my first choice but here in the "Great White North" purchasing velvet can be a bit of a trial  both from the perspective of obtaining quality product and  having more than a limited choice of colors.  For my taste, I would have chosen a deeper royal red but surprisingly, this shows quite well .

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