A Weekend Project: Refinishing a Toy Chest

Over the weekend, Joy's sister brought over an old chest for Seth to use as a toy box. Overall, it was a nice solid chest, but it had been worn from age. I decided I'd put my minimal-woodworking skills to the test and refinish the chest.

Sadly, I forgot to take a before picture (no idea what I was thinking), but this is essentially what the outside of the chest looked like:

Besides having a poor finishing job (notice the dripping in the picture), there were various dings, knicks, and scratches just from use and age.

I had bought a belt sander a few weeks ago to make my desk risers, and it came in handy for this project: I sanded the outside of the chest to strip the past stain and finish. Here's after the sanding:

And a close-up:

I went with a dark walnut stain to help hide some of the deep stains in the wood that I couldn't remove with sanding:

And after three coats of spray-polyurethane satin finish:

Some of the original blemishes can still be seen in the wood, but overall, I think it adds a nice, rustic character to the chest.

Also, I decided not to refinish the insides:

Instead, I think I'm going to line the inside with a soft felt. It'll make it nicer for Seth's little fingers, and provide a nice contrast to the wood.