I was perusing the furniture isles of the Goodwill in South Seattle a few months back looking for a few pieces that I could put a little work into and turn for a profit. I have found some amazing stuff there that has been donated: an $800+ mid-century 8-drawer dresser for $59, solid wood buffets, a camel saddle, hand knotted carpets, two Morris chairs, etc.. It is not always a gold mine – I find something I can turn maybe one out of three or four trips. On this walk, I spied a solid wood and black iron hardware blanket chest that had some heavy water damage on the top. I opened it up, twirled it around to look for a makers mark and any unseen damage. Nope, it was a sound piece. I hopped on my iPhone and looked it up on the Interwebs… I found that it was originally sold at Pottery Barn for almost $400 and I whisked the thing to the front, dropped $39 off at the register and ran out the door.
I gave it a light sanding (320 grit) all over, gave the top some serious attention with 120 then 220 grit sand paper, and layered in some mixed mahogany and dark walnut stain to color match the top before putting on three coats of satin polyurethane finish a couple of days later. After it was done, we were teetering on the fence about keeping what had been returned to a really nice piece of furniture, but our limited space and us not having a clear need for a blanket chest led to the decision to sell it.
I dropped it off at one of the local consignment shops on a Saturday morning and it was sold within two hours. I pocketed $89 after paying for the chest, supplies and the store’s cut. Not too shabby for a 3-mile drive, some stain/poly, and an hour of my labor.