An American in Wexford, Antiques, Antiques, Decor, Furniture, Ireland, Travel, Tutorials and Information, Wood

Redesign an Antique in Ireland- Demonstration Part II

In my last post, I showed you an old mahogany dressing table John found at Neville’s Antiques and Collectibles in Wellington Bridge, Wexford; our favorite pickers place.  It had been left out in the yard and it was rain-soaked and missing a top.

After drying out in the workshop with a nearby heater, John started to work on the little thing. First, he took an old mahogany table top and cut it to fit the top of the dressing table.  He cut along the old lines of the table and sanded down to bare wood.

Top made already- vintage mahogany sanded and ready for finishing

Next, he started on the harp side pieces and center stretcher.  He filled cracks in the wood, sanded and sanded with very fine sandpaper.  He was able to keep much of the original finish but he will work on finishing that later. I love the heart shape with the center finial!

Side Piece filled and ready to finish

Then he worked applying new mahogany veneer to the sides of the dresser top.  The old veneer got very wet and peeled away from the wood.  After applying the veneer all around the side of the table, John carefully sanded that down also.  The veneer now needs to be clamped down for a day.

Meanwhile, John is now working on the center drawer. It no longer fits perfectly and so he sands a bit here and then sands a bit there until he gets it to fit and line up perfectly.  Then he will work on getting it to open and close smoothly. Can you see it doesn’t close completely flush with the table?

Reveneered and clamped for a few days

Remember that hole under the table?  The old finial was gone so John made another.

New wood ball made to replace the missing finial.

Seeing how the word finial keeps coming up on my spellcheck, maybe I should describe what it is.

Antique world uk describes it as “A finial is an ornamental knob crowning, sometimes found on stretchers on a table, chairs and stools, on cabinets and at the top of pole screens.”


(ˈfɪn i əl, ˈfaɪ ni-) 


1. relatively small ornamental terminal feature at the top of a gable or spire.
2. terminating ornament, as on the top of a post or a piece of furniture.
3. curve terminating the main stroke of the characters in some italic type fonts.

I am sure you have seen these little wood ornaments on furniture and now you know what they are called.  They are also found in metal and other material as a decorative add-on on towers, poles, laps, etc.

So now the little table is coming together.  I thought it was going to be a writing table but John is thinking of adding a center mirror and having it remain a dressing table.  But I think you don’t have to keep her in a bedroom.  I would still place it in a hallway or another room.  We shall see.  Will keep you posted on the progress.

Originally I called these posts tutorials, but the process described is really more of a demonstration.  I also called this a redesign but it is really turning into a restoration.

I am unsure if the European and Irish decor look of combining furniture from different eras works in America.  This antique furniture does sell over here and is found in old country homes, regal estate homes, and in everyday decor style.  Age does not seem to be a huge factor here either. We just sold two old mahogany pieces: an old secretaire desk and a vintage table to a young family in a modernly styled bungalow in Wexford.  The wife admitted she liked to mix good wood furniture in with a contemporary decor. The tops of these pieces were the finished old mahogany but the bodies of the pieces were painted a pale robin egg blue- one way to combine the old with the new!

I must admit, the European style mix of antiques in the modern home is a look I truly enjoy.  What do you think, do you like to mix antiques in your home?

Thanks for listening


Talk soon

Take good care


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