Fusion’s Everett was a colour I was hesitant to try …

Fusion’s colour, Everett, was one that I hadn’t thought of using for anything in particular, until a customer sent me a picture of the piece she had painted using this beautiful shade of olive green. I was inspired to find a piece to use it on, and I already had a silky oak dresser with two drawers sitting in my garage waiting to paint.

Prepping the Dresser for a new Finish

It was an old silky oak dresser that had seen better days, but it was a lovely marketplace find. I removed its handles as a few were broken.

In this photo, I had already started stripping the top and sanding it ready to remove the old varnish, ready for a white wash to keep the silky oak wood grain showing through on the top and on the drawer fronts.

markings on the side of drawer of dresser
The Markings you Find in old furniture

Have you ever cleaned or refinished an old piece of furniture and found markings on the inside of drawers or doors or even on the underside of some pieces?

It can be a little clue into the history of the piece.

I reached out to my followers on Facebook and Instagram to see what people thought these might be. Possibilities I had thought of could be: 

  • phone numbers – in Australia, our phone numbers prior to 1950s had only 4-6 digits (depending on the area).
  • high scores – maybe kids were playing a game and recording their high scores on the side of a drawer.

Most of my followers agreed that they are more likely phone numbers.

Another marking you may see on old Australian furniture is this one:

“European Labour Only”

I found an article with an explanation on what this marking indicated. You’ll find it on a lot of furniture made before the 1960s here in Australia.

European Labour Stamps on Australian Furniture.

European Labour Only marking in drawer
Artisan Easy Scrub in action
Cleaning Your Piece Before Painting

Cleaning your piece is an important part of the prep process, and I recommend doing this before sanding the surface that you’re about to paint.

Mainly because you want to remove any grease or grime so that you don’t end up sanding it into the surface.

For this, I used Artisan’s Easy Scrub – just one scoop in 1 Litre of water. Wash on with a cloth, rubbing the surface to clean it, then rinsing off with a clean rag.

Alternatively, you could use Fusion’s phosphate free TSP cleaner, which you can find in Australia here or USA/Canada here.

The next step in my process was to sand the entire top of this piece and the drawer fronts.

I wanted all the varnish removed back to a completely raw finish. See my post on Sanding and finding the right sander for your project HERE.

I started with a 60-80 grit to remove some pretty stubborn varnish, then changed the grit to a finer 120, then 240, until I finished off with a 400 grit for a nice smooth raw silky oak surface.

For this piece I wanted to finish it with a white wash on the wood grain, but let me show you something on the image here. Beginners to refinishing, will sometimes see the look of the raw wood on the left of the picture and think “oh I love that, I want to keep that colour or tone”, but when you add any clear finish to the surface, it will appear like the right side with that golden colouring. All I have on my cloth is water to wipe the surface.

Sanded silky oak on top of dresser

To test how your raw wood might look after a clear sealer of any kind, wipe it with a damp cloth. The way it appears when “wet” is the way it will appear once sealed.

wet surface showing what it will look like with a clear finish over it

So if you’d like to test and see what your raw wood surface will look like with any clear finish over it, wipe it down with a wet cloth, and you’ll see in this example, my silky oak surface is a golden yellow – that is the natural surface.

If I allow it to dry, it will go back to the sanded, dry look, but as soon as I seal it, this is the colour that will naturally occur. Whether you seal with clear wax, or a wipe on poly, or an oil-based clear sealer, this is the colour that will result.

So, if you’re not liking the golden look, you can change up the surface colour with a stain, or in this example I’m working on, where I’ll use a white wash.

To create the wash, I used 50/50 mix of water to Fusion’s off white colour, Victorian Lace. I don’t have pictures of the process, but I recorded some on my story highlights here on Instagram.

Here are the two drawers, having been sanded back to raw, then white washed with the 50/50 water with Fusion Victorian Lace, that I mentioned above.

I simply brushed the wash on – it should be quite runny – then wiped it off with a lint free cloth or applicator.

After the white washed surface has dried completely and you are happy with the strength of the white tone, add a sealer such as Fusion’s Tough Coat Wipe on poly. Or in the case of this project I used Artisan’s Flat Matte Sealer, which also comes in a matte or gloss.

Other ways you may want to create a white washed look might be:

Everett dresser
ready to paint the dresser with Everett, by Fusion
Ready to Paint with Fusion’s Everett

The colour I used for the base of the entire piece, is Everett, by Fusion Mineral Paint. It’s a dark olive and gaining in popularity as more customers try it. As I said in the beginning of this post, I hadn’t thought about using it, until I saw my customer use it on her piece.

In this picture, you can see the contrast of the white-washed top now, compared to the original varnished sides and base of the dresser below it.

For the base section, I gave it a quick scuff sand by hand with a 120 grit sandpaper. You really only need to key the surface to create the best possible grip for the paint to adhere to. Having said this, Fusion has incredible adhesion, and for this piece, would have been fine to paint directly on the cleaned surface without any dramas. But I always tend to err on the side of caution, because the more you prep, the more successful your results will be.

I was given this beautiful Laura Ashley wallpaper, and had been looking for an opportunity like this to use it. It works nicely as a liner.

Laura Ashley wallpaper inside drawers
drawers lined with Laura Ashley wallpaper
handles on drawers

Scroll or swipe through the images below to see the finished look. These matte gold half moon handles really modernise the whole piece, making it the perfect addition to a living space or bedroom.

Everett Dresser
Supply List Used for this project:

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