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Sideboard Restoration. | Digital Vision EFX

Sideboard Restoration.

Cabinet restorationSo a while back a friend donated an old sideboard to me from their shed. It was broken; the top was missing, the back was a patchwork of crappy fixes, and most depressingly someone had once tried to restore the lacquer, badly.

(I really need to start taking photos of the before state)

But it was an antique, at least in the modern sense. When I look for furniture I’m always looking for unique woods because they are rare now. And this cabinet was sporting some very nice stripy grain. So I took it, but when I got it to my shed I discovered the grain was fake. A Print! I lost interest in it for a while after that.

Some months later I needed the room it was occupying in the shed, so I got to restoring it. I happened to have an old wooden bedhead that would make a good top for it and despite my earlier  disappointment it held some interest and was structurally sound.

When I stripped it back I was intrigued by the grain (print) as it followed the three dimensional shape of the cabinet. (at least the main structure). I realised (after some research) that the whole thing was applied using a process called ‘HydroGraphics’ or ‘Immersion Printing’.

A fascinating process where an oil based print is printed on a water soluble sheet, placed on the surface of water, the paper dissolves and you (dip) your item into the tank of water. The oil based print sticks to your object. Totally awesome thing that I need to try one day myself.

TheMrByrom will tell you how…. 🙂

The cabinet in my possession was dipped whole, so this would have required a pretty big tank. I think I gained a new appreciation for the fake wood grain, it took skill and ingenuity to apply. Initially I was considering sanding it all off, however I decided to try and keep what I could of it.

Sadly the lacquer was ruined and the drawers and door at least had to be stripped back to bare wood. but the main body was fairly sound and some discriminate stripping managed to preserve most of it. Where it was thin I touched up the grain.

It actually pulled up fairly well, The inside drawer wall and back were replaced with new (old) bits. Nearly all the wood I use is recycled. So when I came to the drawers and door, I realised it wasn’t going to match very well with the actual cabinet. So I decided to pay homage to the obscure water printing method and try my hand at Laser Toner transfer printing.

; Like this:

Except I didn’t use wood burning. It was experimental but it worked rather well. I did a practice run on the back of the cabinet door. Which remains.

Cabinet restoration


The Front Turned out ok, however the drawers got a bit mucked up and I pretty much ended up doing 80% of the pattern by hand.



After the designs  I needed to darken it up a little to make it mach the grain, so dry brush with acrylic paints and water based laquer was applied in a liberal manner. The cabinet was an experiment in so many ways as I learn this craft. But coming from a fine art background I can tell you that no less work goes into something like this then a painting. Even the spots in the lacquer remained because I liked the aesthetic they presented.

The Door handle is original, but the drawer handles were cactus so some new ones applied.

Finishing something like this takes effort. When you heart the term (shabby Chick or rustic) that just means however was doing it got tired of sanding the stupid thing.

Its my third piece on this cabinetmaking journey. I think it tuned out OK for someone just learning.






IMG_4082 IMG_4093 IMG_4094


Oh, I couldn’t resist. The edge of the top got a pattern. This took bit of work to get right.


Interestingly, this is becoming a habit. My Signature mark got made into a stamp. Might have to do until I acid etch some more copper…

Cabinet restoration