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.


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.


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.


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.


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”.


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.


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


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.