This post, a continuation of the previous one, focuses on David’s heroic efforts that resulted in a repaired Heywood-Wakefield Bedroom Set. To the purist, the finish in this Miami Bedroom set is darker than traditional Hey-Way colors, but faced with the prospect of stripping the chest, vanity, nightstand, and bed frame, David opted to keep the finish and make cosmetic and structural improvements.
Paint and Wood Scratches
Some of the scratches had resulted from a painted piece being dragged across the chest and foot/headboard. Other scratches, non-paint, came from years of use. David’s process:
- Apply Watco Danish Oil and let it sit on the piece for 5-10 minutes.
- Coat a small piece of 0000 steel wool with the oil and rub lightly. That helped remove the paint scratches from the surface. The non-paint scratches were light enough that they disappeared with the oil treatment. It’s important not to rub too hard with the steel wool because you risk rubbing through the top coat.
- Use a Minwax Wood Finish Stain Marker to blend light scratches into the rest of the finish. The scratch is still there but adding color to it reduces its visibility.
Hardened Nail Polish
Although we didn’t get a photo, David dealt with droplets of old nail polish stuck to the bottom of the vanity drawers. Using a razor blade and 100-grit sandpaper, he removed most of the unsightly mess. the 100-grit also removed the old finish and whatever discolorations had appeared over the years. He finished with a 220-grit finish sandpaper to smooth the wood in preparation for shellacking the interior drawers.
Smoothing the Drawer Slides
Using 600-grit sandpaper on each drawer’s underside, David smoothed out the edged surfaces that affected how well the drawers slid in and out. He then turned to the inside of the piece where the drawers reside. He sanded the center channel slide and center drawer guide, along with the bottom edges of the drawers. More sanding on the drawer edge slide and the bottom openings of each drawer front to reduce friction. David sometimes adds wax for smoother sliding, but it wasn’t necessary for this project.
Because of excessive wear dating back to the early 1940s, David inserted tack slides to prevent the drawer from catching or sticking on the initial movement in or out of the opening.
Realigning the Worn Drawers
The grooves worn into the drawers’ bottom rails threw off the vertical alignment. That resulted in an upper sitting — scraping — the top of the drawer beneath. Years of constant scraping had worn away finish.
Heywood Wakefield used solid wood for the drawer fronts and the side walls. The drawers are heavy. Add the weight of the contents and you can understand how deeply grooved the bottom rails became over 75 years of daily use. Refer to the photo above to see how deeply those side grooves cut into the wood. That’s why David added those tack glides.
Repaired Heywood-Wakefield Bedroom Set
And there we have David’s process. We moved the set into our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery. Here are the nightstand and the full bed frame, which can be converted to fit a queen-sized mattress.
And the chest:
What Can You Do?
You may not need a repaired Heywood-Wakefield Bedroom Set right now. But you can take steps to help your older furniture. If you have sticky drawers — hard to open or close — pull them out and take a look at the sliding path. Sometimes sanding the bottom edges with high-grit sandpaper and rubbing wax on the sliding areas will make them much smoother to use.
If your drawer sticks underneath, add tack glides to realign. Problem solved.
Ann Marie and David