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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Before & After: Vintage Card Catalog Makeover

A vintage wood card catalog gets a fresh new makeover with stain and hairpin legs.

Hairpin legs provided by Crates and Pallet.  I was not otherwise compensated for this post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Do you remember the 18 drawer vintage card catalog that I bought and restored last August?   I loved how it turned out so much that I decided to keep it for myself instead of taking it to the shop.  Since then, I've been lucky enough to snag a few more, including a sixty drawer card catalog and a fifteen drawer one that I recently bought from a local tool auction.  It wasn't in the best of shape, but I was able to give it a much needed makeover with a little cleaning, refinishing and new hairpin legs.  

Refinished vintage card catalog
The hairpin legs from Crates and Pallet were the perfect addition to raise the height making the card catalog ideal for an entryway, office or craft room.

Affiliate links have been used

- 120 Grit Sanding Pads
- Simple Green
- Paper Towels
- Chip Brush
- Drill
- (12) 1"- 1 1/2" Screws

This card catalog was definitely a bit grungier than any of the previous ones I've owned.  It had been used in a machinist shop to store tools and was pretty coated in grease.  It desperately needed a good cleaning and refinishing, which thankfully, is super easy to do. 
Damaged vintage card catalog

Damage  to vintage card catalog

wood 15 drawer card catalog
One side of the card catalog had also been spray-painted red, which I was able to easily remove with my Dewalt Orbital sander and 120 grit sandpaper.   Once the large areas were sanded I took off the sanding pad and hand sanded the edges and corners.
Sanding vintage wood card catalog
The metal pulls were old and attached with small original nails, so I opted to keep them intact and simply sand around them.
Sanding vintage wood card catalog

Sanded vintage card catalog
Once all the drawers and outer box were sanded I scrubbed down the entire card catalog with Simple Green.  It was pretty gross how much grease was still left after sanding.
Cleaning wood card catalog with Simple Green
I let the wood dry completely then applied a coat of Dark Walnut stain using an inexpensive brush.   The Dark Walnut was pretty close to the original color of the card catalog but gave it a richer and more uniform look.  Once the stain was dry I applied two coats of Minwax Water Based Poly in satin.

          Staining wood card catalog with dark walnut stain

Card catalog drawers before and after stain
I knew as soon as I bought the card catalog that I wanted to add hairpin legs.  The legs not only give it more of a modern look, but they also add much needed height. 
Crates and Pallets hairpin legs
I went with 24" steel hairpin legs, but Crates and Pallet also carries 16" and 28" hairpin legs, which can be bought through Home Depot.  They're great quality and super easy to install with just a few simple screws.
Attaching hairpin legs to vintage card catalog

Vintage 15 drawer card catalog with hairpin legs

Steel hairpin legs on card catalog

Wood and metal vintage card catalog

Vintage card catalog on hairpin lets
I'm really happy with how the vintage card catalog turned out!  If I didn't already have an 18 drawer card catalog then I would definitely be keeping this one for myself.  

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Vintage card catalog before and after

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Refinished 18 drawer card catalog

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Would you like to comment?

  1. I love the way it turned out. The hairpin legs provide great contrast to the old card catalog.

  2. Love it Katie!! You need to teach me your ways on finding card catalogs. I can’t seem to find any to buy.

  3. Me too! I would love to find one! Great job!

  4. I have 2 card catalogs to refinish. Did you sand & stain the inside of the drawers too, or just leave them alone? Thank you!

    1. You are so lucky! I did not refinish the inside or sides of the drawers on either card catalog. I just sanded and refinished the fronts of the drawers.