After
DIY, Furniture

refinishing a eureka silk spool cabinet

Sometimes, social media surprises you.  I had a new Twitter follower, renoback, in the Fall and I clicked to see what they were about and found a jewel of a cabinet just waiting for me to bring it home on their site.

Before

This Eureka Silk spool cabinet is from the early 1900’s and was probably used in a store to display and house spools of thread.  I picked it up for a great price and have seen similar versions in antique shops for considerably more.

The cabinet was in rough shape when I got it but that lettering is certainly something to love.  I knew with a bit of work, it could be beautiful again. I also knew it would make a fabulous Christmas gift for my Mom.

Before

You can see the water damage on the sides and top and it looks like an animal gnawed off one of the corners.  A knob was missing, as was a piece of glass and the handle for the top drawer. None of this deterred me though from handing over some cash and popping it in my trunk.

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The first step was giving it a really good dusting (it had been sitting in a workshop and was covered in sawdust).  This is also when I started making measurements and notes for all the parts and refinishing products I needed to get it back into shape.

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During this step, I took off the surviving glass front and had a replica made at Crystal Glass.  They were able to make a perfect match for only $6. The bottom piece is the original and you can see how it was notched by hand while the new one above is a little more laser precise.  You really can’t tell the difference though once each piece was put back into their respective drawer fronts.

Bare wood

I spent a very messy Saturday morning, dressed in old clothes with goggles and a mask on stripping what remained of the finish and stain off the cabinet.  I didn’t touch the drawers as they were in better shape and I didn’t want to risk damaging the Eureka Silk lettering.

You can see what a huge difference sanding the piece made as well.  All the watermarks disappeared and I was able to round off the rough corner.  I also decided not to fill any of the nail holes or cracks as I really wanted to revive the cabinet but not hide its age.

Added stain

One coat of stain was all I needed to get a perfect match.

Added stain

One thing that photos can’t show is how smooth the wood feels now.  It’s like butter!  I chose not to seal the cabinet with varnish as I liked the matte finish and instead just applied a bit of oil for a light shine.

Addition of tung oil

Calgary has a very dry climate and wood furniture here can take a beating.  I applied tung oil with a brush and you can see how thirsty the drawers were.  The colour deepened perfectly and is now a match with the drawer fronts and the rest of the piece.

New knobs

I found these gorgeous brass knobs from Lee Valley and they have a perfect patina and shape to match the cabinet. Again, can we talk about how beautiful this lettering is?  I love a good “K”.

After

The only outstanding replacement is a bit of dowel to support the replaced glass.  I didn’t have the right tools to shape it but luckily, my Mom does.

I picked up a few vintage spools of thread to add to the drawers to start dressing the cabinet.

Before

Ok, here’s a reminder of what I started with.

After

And here’s the refinished cabinet.  It is so beautiful and was a wonderful surprise for my Mom to find this under the Christmas tree.