Meet Duke. Duke’s owner passed away, his home was being sold and he was headed for the “furniture-pound” when we rescued him. Duke is a sturdy, solid-wood, primitive, two-door cabinet that has lived a very hard life. He has some interesting heavy-duty metal straps across the front and along one front corner. Unfortunately the metal is missing from the left corner. He was also missing the hook on his front latch. Duke was pretty beat up and was in desperate need of some TLC.
The patina on the metal was really unique and I didn’t plan on touching that but Duke was the perfect candidate for a new coat of paint. Someone had replaced Duke’s original strap hinges with modern metal hinges from the hardware store which was pretty disappointing. They also painted the inside a glossy white color and he was filthy!
Duke had two different closures on the front. Two twist clasps at the top and another that looked like it may have been a hook and eye or padlock latch.
After a close examination and cleaning him with soap and water, I found he had a lot of drill-holes, maybe from the original hardware that had been removed. The doors needed a slight adjustment to make them open and close a little easier (the left still sticks a bit). Although the exterior finish was interesting there were just too many deep scratches and holes to leave Duke as-is.
The first step was to fill in some of the numerous drill-holes with wood putty. When the putty was dry, I gave the entire exterior a light sanding.
I chose to use a chalk-paint finish, in a color called Elephant. I thought the dark gray would contrast nicely with those rustic metal straps. I was wishing I had some old strap hinges that I could replace the modern hinges with but I didn’t. I decided to paint right over the modern hinges with the hope that they will be less noticeable.
I decided not to paint the top. Instead, I used an antiquing wax in a dark color that you brush on and immediately wipe the excess off with a rag. It helps hide light scratching and gives the wood a slight sheen while allowing some of Duke’s natural character to show through.
I removed the clasps and painted the heads of the screws with a dark color to match the original finish of the two top clasps. I found a rustic hook at Hobby Lobby that was a close match. I attached that to the front of the cabinet to latch the doors because the twist knobs at the top really did not hold the doors shut very well.
I covered up Duke’s glossy white interior with a single coat of flat antique-white latex, followed with a dark antiquing wax to enhance the somewhat crackly paint finish on the interior. To apply the wax I dry-brushed it on and wiped it with a damp cloth to remove the excess. I used a sander on the shelves to chip away some of the paint and uncover some of the older layers.
I applied a clear matte finish coat to the exterior.
Duke is still very “rustic” looking but he is ready and waiting for his new home! He would make a great, sturdy, storage cabinet. Check out my No-Kill Furniture Rescue page for details on how to adopt Duke.