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Discussion Starter #1
I am refinishing the dresser shown below. The inside of the top drawer area is stained on both sides. I am curious a to why this would be done because it is never seen.

I am also interested in knowing what the awesome veneer is ... burl mahogany?

Thank you.

Gary
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When you finish wood it's a good idea, even plywood to put a finish on both sides. It doesn't have to be the same quality on the back side but the wood should be sealed. Wood absorbs moisture from the air and the unfinished side will swell up causing the board to bow. Sealing both sides makes it much more stable.
 

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I have no idea why the drawer has been stained. Generally, way back when, they did not apply anything to the drawer sides and bottoms This may have been done by some previous owner. I am one that still does not finish the drawers other than the fronts.
 

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I have no idea why the drawer has been stained. Generally, way back when, they did not apply anything to the drawer sides and bottoms This may have been done by some previous owner. I am one that still does not finish the drawers other than the fronts.
Tony, I guess I am the other extreme. I refinish drawers completely inside and outside. I even seal/refinish the inside of dresser cabinets.
 

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Here is my thinking about why they did not finish dresser and chest drawers way back when.
Unfinished drawers will absorb moisture and release it again according to the local environment. Local environment being the bedroom. So as the room got damp, the wood would absorb the moisture, probably from the clothes also, and then when it was drier, the drawer would release the moisture. There wouldn't have been much moisture that we are talking about so the drawer was more or less breathing. If there was no breathing, like in the case of a hard finish, the moisture would collect in corners and mildew will form. So they were preventing mildew. This is more noticeable in boats with interior living space. I winter when the boat is at it's dampest, the moisture will collect on hard surfaces, whether it be finished wood, plastic laminate or fiberglass. This would result in mildew. The unfinished drawers have no mildew..
As I said earlier, I have not read or heard of this anywhere, just my conclusion based on my experiences.
 

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Tony, I guess I am the other extreme. I refinish drawers completely inside and outside. I even seal/refinish the inside of dresser cabinets.
Maybe you just like the buzz?
Just kidding
 

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if the sides/back of the drawer are not full depth, could be just a cosmetic concern . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here is my thinking about why they did not finish dresser and chest drawers way back when.
Unfinished drawers will absorb moisture and release it again according to the local environment. Local environment being the bedroom. So as the room got damp, the wood would absorb the moisture, probably from the clothes also, and then when it was drier, the drawer would release the moisture. There wouldn't have been much moisture that we are talking about so the drawer was more or less breathing. If there was no breathing, like in the case of a hard finish, the moisture would collect in corners and mildew will form. So they were preventing mildew. This is more noticeable in boats with interior living space. I winter when the boat is at it's dampest, the moisture will collect on hard surfaces, whether it be finished wood, plastic laminate or fiberglass. This would result in mildew. The unfinished drawers have no mildew..
As I said earlier, I have not read or heard of this anywhere, just my conclusion based on my experiences.
Interesting logic. I have been sealing drawers for 10 years and have never had an issue or any bad feedback.
 

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I also finish the inside of drawers when refinishing. A lot of old furniture they did finish the inside of drawers. A lot of old furniture was also made in little mom and pop businesses. They may have just been in a hurry to get furniture delivered usable and the smell of varnish would linger a long time inside drawers.
 
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