Monday, 8 July 2019

Barn Find Bedside Cabinets

One item which holds its value as an antique is the humble bedside cabinet. The reason is that these pieces of furniture are eternally useful and even smaller modern interiors can accommodate them. It is normally paired items that come at a premium, but even a single well-made bedside cabinet can fetch a good price.

While rummaging round a dark outbuilding that was being cleared, I stumbled across two identical units: apparently these were base sections for an upper level gun cabinet.  However, they jumped out immediately as suitable for bedside cabinets. My quest for bedside cabinets has lasted many, many years so I got very excited and quickly asked if they could be for sale. They were - hurrah!

Once I got them in the light, I realised they were very faded. They are rough provincial pieces made by a local carpenter, but having said that, little details such as chamfered edges show they have been put together with a great deal of care. They are solid pitch pine, with just the teeniest bit of dry rot in one. Both have an oak back rail. 

I stained the cabinets to a more consistent dark colour. For comparison purposes, the photo below has one cabinet before staining on the left, and the other cabinet after staining on the right. In the photo the stain looks a little too dark, but this is just an artifact of the camera's auto-exposure. In fact, I spend a deal of time and effort to get the tone right by eye. 

barn find cabinets before and after staining

After staining, I sealed the units using a clear furniture wax. The final result can be seen below with the cabinets installed in one of the castle's kitchen wing bedrooms.

cabinets installed in a Balintore Castle bedroom

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