Laura found this Amish chest at the Kane State County Fair in 2000, and loved the vintage hardware and cool aesthetic of a wooden trunk. However, the chest had seen better days: dilapidated and moisture-stained, it needed some refurbishment.
We intrepidly (well, mostly Laura) sanded the chest on the back porch, revealing a lovely layer of uniform wood beneath.
Afterwards, Laura applied a Tung Oil (low in toxicity), but didn’t like the orange cast it lent the chest, and sanded it off over the weekend with a palm sander, which you can rent at your local hardware store.
She finally opted for a simple clear coating, which illuminated the texture and color, while protecting the wood underneath.
She then fastened the hardware back on, and, the chest was ready to house seasonal Halloween decorations, while posing innocuously as a coffee table to the passerby.