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Rio Heywood Wakefield Low Dresser Restored

The finish was in sad shape. As you can see there is finish issues on the front and side of the cabinet.

The finish was in sad shape. As you can see there are finish issues on the front and side of the cabinet.

I finally got to the last dresser in our Rio set. The restoration was straight forward just like the other pieces we completed. The only thing left to refinish is our queen dog bone bed. This is not the original bed that came in the Rio set but I like it’s styling more. I am very pleased with the results and have discovered a new trick for those of you who have had difficulty getting a smooth finish.

There she is!

Here it is…

I love this stain! It looks absolutely fantastic.

I love this stain! It looks absolutely fantastic.

We were fortunate that when we purchesed this set the dressers came with glass cit for the tops of them.

We were fortunate that when we purchased this set of dressers they came with glass cut for the tops.

I discovered a trick that could be used when using the Heywood Wakefield stain sold by Jeff at needful_useful_things on Ebay. If you are like me you do not have a paint booth which means you sometime have particulate such as dust affect your final results. Here is my new tip: after the stain is completely dry you can use the following products to smooth the surface to a slick finish.

This stuff isn't only great for the finish of your car but also your refinished dresser. The clay bar actually sheers imperfections from the surface and creates a slick ans smooth surface.

This stuff isn’t only great for the finish of your car but also your refinished dresser. The clay bar actually sheers off imperfections from the surface and creates a slick and smooth surface. Use is pretty straight forward, spray, rub clay bar over surface and wipe with microfiber cloth.

After I use the clay bar I apply wax and buff it off to reveal and really nice finish.

After I use the clay bar I apply wax and buff it off to reveal and really nice finish.

It is sooo important when you restore things to keep your mind moving thinking of ways to fix problems and sometimes that may mean using a product for a purpose outside of its intended use. When I come across a problem I try to think outside the box to help resolve the issue I am facing. That is how I thought of this idea and the repair technique that I pioneered to repair chalkware lamps. The most important thing to do when you have an idea that could help others is to share it and that is the purpose of our blog. Here are the other pieces we have finished:

The Rio vnaity

Rio vanity

Rio tall dresser

Rio tall dresser

Rio night stands

Rio night stands

Mel and I had Bill from B&T Upholstery start on upholstering the vanity stool. We were able to find some really cool geometric cotton Frieze fabric to make it look authentic, here is a sample of what we found:

This fabric is pink and black and also has silver threading accents.

This fabric is pink, black and has silver threading accents. (hard to see in this photo).

The stool base is complete, just waiting on the cushion.

I cant wait to see what a great job Bill will do on the cushion!

I cant wait to see what a great job Bill will do on the cushion!

Next on the agenda is to refinsish the bed frame and then work on the Brown Saltman desk. It feels good to get these larger projects knocked out.

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4 responses »

  1. thatmidcenturyfella

    As always, amazing! I am definitely going to try this out during my next restoration project!

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  2. WOW! *drool* I’m picking my jaw up off the floor. It’s absolutely gorgeous! You did an unbelievable refinish job. Please, please come refinish mine 😉 I’m the one who also has a Wakefield Rio set. I was actually inspired to buy mine after seeing your set originally. Mine was already refinished when I purchased it, and the refinishing job of mine can’t even compare to yours. Mine has ruff spots and the champaign finish is very dull not shiny at all. In the pictures, yours looks so smooth and shine to it. What’s weird is that the whole top of my high boy dresser finish came out very dark, not even matching the champaign color of the rest of the dresser. I’m attributing the difference to the variances in the wood darknesses used to make the Rio maybe, and some parts might stain darker, not sure. Wish I could fix this.
    Anyway, I noticed your low boy didn’t have the round mirrow on it, did you just choose not to use it? I think the two round mirrows on the vanity and the low boy are what really drew me to the Rio set.
    I’m sure you know that Heywood Wakefield company is still making a dog bone type bed and in a king size at that, that I’m dreaming about one day, the link is
    http://www.heywood-wakefield.com/bedroom/m530-stylemaster-bed/
    Right now I have the original full bed that I used a full to queen converter frame so I could keep my queen mattresses, worked great.
    Im curious, was it very costly to refinish all those pieces? I would absolutely love one day to find the time and talent to refinish my set like yours! You have inspired me once again. Right now I’m on the hunt to find a reproduction of a 40’s/50’s bedspread to complete my room. Can’t wait to see your finished bed! And thanks for listing everything you used to refinish…ill have to go re-research your posts about the steps on refinishing. So sorry for such a long comment, but I just love talking about the Rio set :). Susie

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    • Thanks Susie. Yeah, we didn’t have the room for the mirrors, so we kept them off. I was thinking about putting the mirror in the cubby where you see the Carlo’s hanging, but we really like the look of the Carlo’s above the dresser. The color differences on your dresser are because of the color of the wood. If you look at our tall dresser, you’ll notice that one of the dressers is darker than the others. Also, try the technique I outlined in this post to smooth out the finish of the piece you restored. It won’t make it perfect, but it should improve the feel of the wood. It wasn’t costly to refinish. I was able to refinish the long dresser and vanity stool with less than one can of stain. I still have 1/5th of a can left and each can runs roughly $45. Just remember, prep is everything, sand/strip everything down to bare wood, fill cracks, etc.

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