At Minwax® we value and celebrate the spirit of volunteering for the betterment of the community. With that notion in mind, we’re happy to share this two part blog series from Do Good With Wood™ honoree Lori Bowers. 

My dad is a picker. He had a great job when I grew up, but he always bought and sold antiques as a side job. I constantly wanted to go to auctions with him ever since I was a small child.

Lori and Dad

I was always in a trance as I watched antiques pass through the auction. The pieces were so original, and unique; like nothing I had ever seen in a store. My heart still races a little when I see a piece of furniture that is so precious and deserving of a total restoration.


I always appreciated the history of each piece of furniture that I saw, and I wondered what every piece might say if it could tell me about the places it had been and the things it had seen. I was curious about the treasures that might lie inside a drawer or under a set of pianos keys. There was always something hidden in those spots!

When I was about 25 years old, my dad had been to an auction where he bought an art-deco dresser with a marquee mirror for twenty-three dollars that had been painted white. I decided it was something worth saving. I knew if I can save this dresser, I’d have a piece of furniture that no one else could buy. It would be original…one of a kind. And I would be able to save it for the next 100 years.

Dresser and mirror

I set out to restore it back to the day it was made. I had high hopes for it, but sadly, when it was finished, it was a train wreck. I had no idea what I was doing! The stripper I put on the furniture looked like an elephant snuck into the room and sneezed all over it. I didn’t know how to get it off. Google didn’t exist yet, so I was on my own. My beginner’s problems were:

  1. I didn’t have any tools.
  2. I had no idea what I was doing.
  3. The stripper was slimy and burned my skin.
  4. It was me against the process and I wanted to win…

Before & After dresser

Stay tuned for my next post to learn what really drives me and some tips and advice so you don’t have to make my mistakes.

Until next time,
Lori Bowers