a vintage cavalier cedar chest refinished using general finishes perfect gray milk paint
This cedar chest is from the depression era (1930’s-40’s). It was a great find from The Mill Property Antiques. The cedar chest was in great shape save for a few spots of buckled wood veneer. It’s been sitting in my stash, patiently waiting to be refinished. Now that I have a few projects finished, the time finally came to give this piece a fresh facelift.
using bondo to repair damaged veneer
My favorite product to repair damaged veneer is Bondo.
Bondo is a great product to use instead of wood filler because it doesn’t shrink. It’s very durable and dries hard. The only downside is that is has a VERY strong chemical odor. You definitely need a respirator when working with it and good ventilation.
I used a putty knife to scrape away all of the loose veneer that had buckled from moisture over the years and filled in all of the gaps with Bondo. After smooth sanding, the piece was ready for primer.
priming with stain blocker by general finishes
Whenever you’re going to paint over an existing dark finish with a light paint color, you should prime first. Not only does this help with the coverage of your paint, but it will prevent potential bleed-through.
My primer of choice is General Finishes Stain Blocker.
General Finishes Stain Blocker has a sophisticated resin system that makes it the Cadillac of primers!
I applied 2 coats of Stain Blocker, waiting 12-24 hours in between. Tip: Whenever you’re using primer, you ALWAYS want to apply 2 coats. The first draws out any stains and the second covers them over. Never stop with just one!
Perfect Gray milk paint by general finishes
Furniture sales have been a bit slow for me as of late. Part of that is because it’s not the season for folks to be buying furniture. Another part is because I’ve been painting with some pretty bold colors.
While I love these colors and think they look lovely on these pieces, I find that they take longer to sell. There’s always a fine balance between what I want to paint and what will sell.
A great compromise is gray. It’s a color, so you’re not painting with white (which is boring) and most people can fit gray into their existing color scheme at home! One of my favorite grays to use is General Finishes “Perfect Gray”.
I’ve used it on a handful of pieces since General Finishes launched it earlier this year, and I love it!
There was this Jacobean Buffet:
This beautiful spinet desk:
And this oak dresser I posted a few days ago:
Perfect Gray was the best choice to keep my cedar chest neutral and appealing to potential buyers. I applied 3 coats total and gently distressed the edges to reveal the Stain Blocker underneath. This added interest and highlighted the gorgeous features of the piece.
As I was painting, I made sure to keep the paint away from the underside of the lid.
This cedar chest has great features! In each corner on the front, there are beautiful fan onlays.
Along the bottom, there are pretty curved bits. One was missing when I got the chest, but I made sure to keep the existing one!
The original finish on the chest was heavily gatored or bubbled. This is caused by exposure to extreme temperatures. The finish expands and contracts over time and develops an alligator texture which we furniture nerds call “gatoring”.
I also love that the piece came with the original WORKING key! Usually these are long gone.
The maker of this chest is a company called “Cavalier”. I did some research on them and they were based out of Tennessee.
I really like working on blanket chests like this one. I’m hoping more come across my path in the future!