Hi all, I'm (VERY!) new to DIY but am keen to upcycle three old sideboards into bathroom vanities.
I have an old cedar washstand (pic #1) which is falling apart but is full of character. I want to pull it apart (that part won't be hard!) and just sand it all back to waterproof it somehow, then secure it back together. I've got an above counter basin and a polished brass mixer tap which will suit nicely.
For the 2nd one, I've got an old oak(?) Victorian sideboard. I want to do exactly the same as above to it too.
For the 3rd one, I've got an unusual kind-of tudor-style sideboard - I have no idea what type of wood it is, but it's heavy so I'm assuming it's oak. I may end up replacing the top with Bettastone, cut with the same detailing as the current counter-top, rather than sealing it, but will still need to seal/waterproof the rest of it.
So long story short, could anyone please help with:
- what the best way to sand cedar and oak down (I've never done this before - serious newbie here!)
- what the best low VOC (perhaps water-based?) way to waterproof the wood would be? Especially for #1 & #2 vanities, since the wooden countertop will be on display.
- and would placing a glass on top work well to protect the wooden countertops (after being stained/sealed)?
Any advice for this would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance 😃
Solved! See most helpful response
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. Thank you so much for joining us and sharing your question about upcycling old sideboards into bathroom vanities.
Before you touch these beautiful pieces with sandpaper, I strongly encourage you to have them appraised or valued. The furniture pieces that you have are all vintage and carry reasonable dollar value. Your Victorian sideboard is even more valuable as the original mirror is still intact. Your Tudor-styled sideboard looks to be in excellent condition with the handles complete. I am not an antique expert, but I would rather be wrong than to tell you to use an Ozito 200W Detail Sander and totally ruin your sideboard's value.
However, if you still wish to proceed, upcycling furniture is a straightforward process. Rather than disassembling the furniture, I suggest fixing it and tightening the fixings. If you're looking to re-stain or varnish the furniture, you'll need to sand all of the old finish that was on it. If you are painting it, I suggest priming the furniture using Crommelin 1L Flat Aquablock Waterproof Primer Undercoat. It provides you with excellent waterproofing and is ideal for wet areas. You can then paint it with interior paint tinted to your preferred colour.
As for the top of the vanity, I suggest using Cabot's 1L Water Based Satin Cabothane Clear Polyurethane Timber Varnish. Please note that the painted surface must be sanded so that the Varnish will go on top of the paint.
Here is a link to a handy guide: How to restore wooden furniture
Here are some amazing upcycle projects which our Workshop members have shared.
Please keep us updated with your progress, we look forward to seeing your sideboards painted.
Thank you @EricL - that's very helpful!
Whilst they are beautiful pieces of furniture, unfortunately they aren't worth very much - the tudor-style sideboard is the one that's a bit rarer than the other two, but the top board is cracked and the rest of it hasn't been very well looked after. The other two can be picked up quite cheaply on Gumtree as they're easy to come across. They'd all need to be properly restored (by a professional = $$$) before they'd be worth anything. We figure that this way, they'll be in our house and cared for, for many years to come.
@EricL Sorry, just to confirm I've read that right - if I wanted to re-stain them, would I first sand the current polish out, then re-stain it (I want to keep the same colour/stain), followed by the 'Crommelin 1L Flat Aquablock Waterproof Primer Undercoat' - or does the primer go on before staining?
For the top surface, if I need to sand it back before applying 'Cabot's 1L Water Based Satin Cabothane Clear Polyurethane Timber Varnish' will that remove the stained surface, or does it only need light sanding so the stain doesn't come off?
It's good to know that you've considered the possibility that your sideboard pieces might be worth something. If you want to restain them, I suggest using a wood stain and varnish. I recommend bringing either a door or drawer front to your local store and speaking with the paint specialist. They will be able to recommend which stain and varnish are closest to your current finish. Please note that due to age and exposure to weather, it will be very difficult to get a matching finish.
I recommended sanding the sideboards as this is the usual step when upcycling furniture. When a piece of furniture is upcycled it is usually, but not always, painted with a new colour. They sand off the varnish and paint it for example in white or a combination of two colours. This is why I suggested using Crommelin 1L Flat Aquablock Waterproof Primer Undercoat. This is a white undercoat meant for painting over. Unfortunately, you cant stain or varnish over this primer.
The Cabot's 1L Water Based Satin Cabothane Clear Polyurethane Timber Varnish is a water-based clear coat used to protect furniture. This will no longer be necessary as I've suggested using wood stain and varnish. Please note that any area of the cabinet that is not painted will be susceptible to moisture damage. I suggest painting the entire cabinet inside and out if you are using it in the bathroom.
If you need further assistance, please let us know.
Wonderful, thanks again @EricL.
I'll bring in a drawer front to try to find the closest finish.
Ok I'll make sure to paint the entire cabinets (in & out) to make sure they're well protected 😃