Updated: Jan 13
I think the most charming piece of furniture you can own is a hoosier cabinet. They come in many styles and finishes and work well in modern kitchens for extra storage. If you come across a hoosier cabinet while treasure hunting, take a minute and explore the piece. These cabinets were built to last and quality materials were used. Back in the day these furniture pieces weren't just for looks but really the center of any working kitchen, holding flour and other essential ingredients.
A Well Loved Piece
In August 2021 I was given an opportunity to restore a solid pine hoosier cabinet. This cabinet was a family heirloom and the owner was able to share lots of fun memories attached to the piece. As a lot of you know, I like to name the furniture I work on. However, when I work on heirlooms I always ask the owner if they would like to name the piece and this one was named after their grandmother, Ms. Willie Mae. The goal was to preserve and keep this cabinet going in the family so a full restoration was the way to go.
Ms. Willie Mae
Covered in black paint you'd never know there was an additional 4 layers coving beautiful wood. I will be honest here, from the very beginning I knew this was going to be a big job. It was a doable job but also a daunting task that was 100% worth it.
I can't express that enough! It takes a lot of patience to work on pieces like this, you just need to plow through and keep things moving along. When I was waiting for paint stripper to set, I was cleaning layers of paint off hinges and hardware pulls and let's not forget about ALL the screws. This restoration took a few weeks to strip, sand, detail and seal. It was all worth it because the end result was spectacular. There's no other word for it!
The paint layers went in this order...Black, Red, Gray, Green, and then White.
Each layer represented a time when the cabinet was loved and used. Stripping it down to it's natural self was the plan so it could be passed down to her daughter. The owner was planning ahead and wanted to give her daughter something with family history to cherish and then, one day, pass to her kids and so on. That's what makes it worth it. That's why I do what I do. Heirlooms are important. It gives us something to hold onto when family members are no longer with us. It's something we can look at and smile while remembering good times.
If you decide to take on your own restoration the best advice I can give you is research techniques and be patient, don't force anything. Let the product do the work and once you've started... keep going! I always use Citristrip paint and varnish remover stripping gel. It's a lot less toxic and the smell is easy to handle. Another must have tool is a metal scraper painters tool. Which works great for removing the stripping gel and getting in those detailed hard to reach places. While using this tool remember to not press too hard, otherwise you'll leave scratches in the wood. If this does happen a good sanding will usually remove those lines, but it's better to avoid in the beginning by not pressing hard. The last must-have to make the process a little easier is a canvas drop cloth. They are low cost and will make life so much easier in the end.
I hope these tips are helpful and thanks for stopping by!