Restored Swedish Workbench

You know I like painted furniture: red furniture, white furniture, gray furniture, and more gray furniture… But there comes a time in every gal’s life when she finds a piece this is not to be painted.

when not to paint furniture - Maison de Pax

Not that I had a choice in the matter anyway, though.

Details of old vintage workbench- Maison de Pax

This piece actually belongs to my father. It is an antique Swedish workbench that my grandmother acquired and willed to my father when she passed a few years ago.

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If you think it’s a little rough now, you should have seen it when he pulled it out of her garage.

when not to paint furniture |

Years of rats (before my grandmother got it), rot, and probably worse…

when not to paint furniture |

But you know what? It’s beautiful.

when not to paint furniture |

Now I admit that he did clean it up: lots of soap and water.

Swedish Work Bench (vice)

A little sanding where the splinters were especially bad.

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And this gorgeous new glass hardware.

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With the antique spool chest we refinished together, I’d say it’s stunning in his office…

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Wouldn’t you?

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when not to paint furniture |

Disclosure: D. Lawless Hardware provided the hardware for this piece, but as always, opinions are 100% my own.


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  1. Rachel this piece is truly gorgeous! I totally agree it needs to be left natural so you can really appreciate all the rough-hewn goodness. what a wonderful heirloom.

  2. Oh my, Rachel … what a wonderful piece of furniture. Glad you found a use for it in your house and you are keeping it natural and letting the awesome age show.

    1. Thank you, Audrey! I do love it. Unfortunately, my father hasn’t let go of it, so it’s still in his house… But maybe some day he’ll let me have it! 😉

  3. This is an amazing piece of furniture with all the character and stories it could tell. I love it and know you are proud for your father.

  4. Oh my goodness, Rachel. You are one lucky girl, i mean wife 😀 That is a real piece of history you have. You can tell that really hard work went into making that bench. I have an antique dining table made by the Stickley Bro. It’s beautifu ltoo, not quite as rustic as yours but reminds me of it with the dowel down the center (I’m sure that’s not the right word for it ! 😀 ) My husband decided to surprise me after I had brought the table home and he ask a friend of ours to “refinish it” as a surprise for me, well you can imagine the horror on my face when i came home from work one day and there they were with grins as big house all proud of themselves, standing behind the table and i was just about in tears. But I digress, it was such a sweet, thoughtful gift from my husband and I could tell my friend put alot of work into it. It is a beauty in all her nakedness 😀 Take good care of it and you’ll be able to hand it down to your son or daughter. Have a great day Sincerely, Diena Cameron <3

    1. I’m SO glad to have you here, Cindy! And I couldn’t agree more; I’m so glad to have it in the family. Thank you!

  5. Beautiful, you are so right…. No paint for this stunner it’s just gorgeous au natural, wonderful family piece.

  6. That is one seriously stunning piece of furniture! And so cool that it’s got sentimental family history too!

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  8. Hi Rachel,
    I love things with a history and a story to tell. Your father’s workbench is such a wonderful example of that. Leaving it in its natural state was the perfect choice – the only choice! It is such a stunning piece of furniture.
    Thanks for the inspiration,
    Pieced Pastimes

  9. I can hardly speak: this piece is beyond awesome ~ beautiful … mysterious … richly historical … boldly ingrained with the many and varied lines struck on its surfaces ~ it has been “aged to perfection!”

  10. Hi there! Just came in via Pinterest.
    What an absolutely incredible piece. and a family piece at that. This is something everyone tries to emulate. Just shows to go ‘ya there is no “just like” here. It’s amazing.

    Enjoying reading around your blog. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much, Christine! I’m so glad you like the piece and so honored that you’ve enjoyed the blog. 🙂

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