Shoeshine Bench Makeover

Painted with Behr Marquee Cameo White
Bench in its “after” state

I found this odd-looking seat on the curb while taking a neighborhood walk with my mom. It had been left out in the rain and snow that fell during the previous week (this was in the winter), so it was starting to deteriorate from the dampness. I didn’t even know what it was exactly, until the owners happened to drive up and said it was an old shoe shine bench that their kids played with. There are two drawers underneath the seat for storage. It is just the right height that I thought it might make a good perch for my cats to sit on and look out the window.

I hauled it home and proceeded to assess the damage. I first let it dry out to free the swollen drawers that were stuck from the dampness.

Not having much experience with repairing and refinishing furniture, I researched a lot online, especially about how to deal with the peeling and splintered veneer.

Here is a list of the materials I used from start to finish to take this piece from curbside trash to cat decor:

The veneer on the back side was peeling and seemed beyond repair, so I elected to remove all of it by dampening it with a wet rag, running an iron over it, and the scraping/peeling it off, little by little. It was a pretty easy process, though a bit tedious.

In other places, the veneer was peeling, but intact enough to repair. So I used wood glue to adhere it back in place, and wood filler to fill in the missing areas.

Here’s how the backside looked after I peeled off the veneer. You can see the sections where I added wood filler in the cracks and gouges. Then I sanded by hand to smooth the patched areas.

I used Krud Kutter to clean the piece before painting, but I took special care to clean the inside of the drawers, which were beginning to mold from the dampness.

I should have taken a power sander to the entire piece, but being lazy and new at furniture refinishing, I did not.The finish came out decently, despite the lack of sanding.

The sloppy paint job can be seen here in the handles that are half green, half gold.

The metal handles on the front had been painted the same green as the rest of the bench, so I removed them and spray painted them. (The handles are just decorative. The drawers are on the underside of the bench.)

Using foam rollers and brushes, I painted the entire piece with Berquee Marquee Cameo White. I did not prime the piece first, but the Behr Marquee coverage is very good, even using white to cover the bright green. I’m not sure I would say that it is exactly one coat coverage, but not far from it.

After applying paint to the sides of the drawers, they wouldn’t slide in and out easily, so I ended up later taking a sander to the sides and removing all the paint, as well as some of the wood. I then repainted the sides of the drawers, and they slide nicely now.

The bench’s finish isn’t perfect, but much improved upon what it was when I found it.

Handles painted with Rustoleum Champagne Mist

The bench found a home by the window in my home office, and the cats seem to like it.

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