Henredon Campaign Chest: Before & After

In my ongoing obsession with campaign furniture (IT NEVER ENDS), I frequently peruse Craigslist for super awesome deals. That being said, rarely-almost-never does the sky open and Craig himself smile down upon this particular quest. There aren’t many campaign pieces to be found in OKC, it seems. (Now Dallas on the other hand has PLENTY of pieces, which is another story.) And I’ve really been wanting one to use as a media cabinet for the lake house.

So on Saturday when I was trolling CL as I tend to do, I stumbled on this little beauty.Henredon Campaign two-drawer chest - before the brass hardware was refinished - how to refinish brass hardware -

Located out in Jones, Oklahoma, which is about as exciting a place as you might imagine, this two-drawer campaign chest was a whopping $45. YES. I didn’t even look twice at it. Load it up!  Better yet? When I got it home and took an even closer look, I realized it’s a Henredon dresser and the wood is insane. There was no way I was going to paint this baby, but I knew the hardware could really be the showstopper with a little TLC.

So here’s how I did it – check out the after below.

Step 1. Ask the internet what you should do. Instagram agreed with me that we should definitely NOT paint it but polish the wood and use Brasso on the hardware. Squat out in the garage with a screwdriver as you remove all the hardware from the chest.

Step 2. Send your husband to Home Depot for supplies and attempt to make a homemade paste of lemon juice and sea salt in the meantime. Work WAY harder than you have to.

How to refinish brass hardware -

Step 3. When your husband comes home with the Brasso, feel an instant sigh of relief. Drench all the brass hardware in the Brasso (above) in a melamine bowl that you received as a wedding gift 9 years ago which will now no longer be the same due to the harsh chemicals.

Step 4. While the hardware soaks in the Brasso, consult with your assistant, who is dutifully helping. “Look, Mom, I’m reading the Bible.”


Step 5. Find one of your husband’s old toothbrushes to remove the now-a-weird-shade-of-blue Brasso from the disgusting hardware.  Brush like crazy – and don’t forget your gloves.

How to refinish brass hardware -

Step 6. Get an entire roll of paper towels and scrub the heck outta the hardware. Scrub like you’ve never scrubbed before. Feel instant gratification as the once disgusting tarnished hardware turns into this before your very eyes.

How to refinish brass hardware -

Step 7. Make comments about how you wish you had made it to NSS this year after checking Instagram and seeing everybody’s pictures. Receive  remarks from your husband about how if you’d gone to New York, you would’ve missed out on the antiques roadshow happening right here in your very own garage.

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Step 8. Reattach hardware and admire your handiwork. Watch as your husband lovingly applies some kind of wood polish to it and the chest almost sings with delight. Google Henredon chests and discover they are selling for $400 on Etsy. Pat self on back for having scored it for $45 and a trip to Home Depot. Cry at the misery of your garage.

Henredon Campaign two-drawer chest - after the brass hardware was refinished - how to refinish brass hardware -

Now doesn’t that hardware just look amazing? Totally a different chest — that’s what quality brass hardware is supposed to look like!

Step 9. Feel invigorated by your project and decide to start another one. (Remember this little dandy? Coming to the lake house too.) Spray it red on the windiest day ever and then realize later your blonde hair has turned pink.Painting campaign hardware

Aaaaaand end scene. Happy DIYing, my friends.

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