Grandmother’s Antique Hatbox


I walked into my garage this week to find a new project waiting for me: an oak antique hatbox that had been Leigh Ann’s grandmother’s. It had once sat atop an oak dresser, but we don’t know what happened to it. The hatbox has a few issues: the glass knob is not original and the finish is extremely dirty. Not to mention ……

the reproduction pull on the drawer has come loose. This won’t be a quick project, but it is certainly one worth doing, especially since it came from her grandmother. I’ll take my time on it, and give it the love and care it deserves. I will post a picture here in the coming weeks for you to see how it turns out.

Thanks for stopping by! – Bruce

4 comments on “Grandmother’s Antique Hatbox

  1. neil

    Greetings…visited the MinWax site to get some ideas and perhaps you can share your thoughts with me.
    I have a slice of an Elm tree about 4 feet in diameter and 4″ thick. It was cut 2 years ago and I soaked it in Pentacryl then to try to prevent splitting….so far so good. It was stored vertically in the garage for 2 years between cardboard to slow the evaporation . We live in southern Michigan
    Now i am sanding it and will go to 200 grit. I have had several suggestion as to finishing it. I think I want to use oil, not varnish because it may be outside in the summer and don’t want to have to deal with pealing or chipped varnish…but I will listen to other opinions.
    Would appreciate your thoughts…thanks ( i can send some pics if you wish).

    1. Bruce Johnson Post author

      I agree, Neil, with your idea of using a penetrating oil finish, such as Minwax Wipe-On Poly or Minwax Tung Oil, as they will penetrate more deeply into the wood than does a surface finish, such as a Polyurethane. The penetrating oil will give you a more natural look, but you will have to be ready to apply additional coats at any time it looks to be drying out. Also, be sure to apply several coats to the underside as well, as it could dry out and crack from underneath as easily as it could from on top. If at sometime you decide to use it outdoors, then I would switch to Minwax Teak Oil to give you more protection against the sun and rain. However, I do need to warn you that by moving outside and exposing it to the elements, it is very likely that the outer bark will begin to release its hold on the wood itself. To keep it looking its best, I suggest keeping it indoors. Thanks for reading and good luck!

  2. Meg Wagner

    I have been working on a coffee table that had a damaged finished, and have sanded it down with 150 sandpaper,although I didn’t take it completely down to the bare wood . It looked good, and I applied early American stain and sealer and wiped it down. It has been 24 hours, however, and it still hasn’t dried so I can put on a protective finish. Is there something that I can do to hasten the drying so I can proceed with the finishing? What would you recommend for the final finishing product?
    Meg Wagner

    1. Bruce Johnson Post author

      All drying, Meg, depends on warm temperatures and low humidity. I would make sure the heat is turned up in the room and set a fan up to blow air across the piece to hasten the drying. After the stain dries, I would apply two coats of Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane. Hope this helps! Good luck.

Comments are closed.