Friday, September 30, 2011

Pigeon Hole Something

Guess how much I paid for this ... go on, guess!
Did you say $5?
Welllll .... actually you're kind of right.

I went to an auction last week to pick up some upholstering supplies.  I walked away with some great bargains but this one is by far my favorite.
I don't know what it is, but I love it.

It was paired up with a little desk.  I didn't want the desk but 
I figured that I would just clean, paint and donate it to the church thrift store.   I put in the first bid for $5 ... no one countered.  Up for auction and sold in about 45 seconds.
A few minutes after I won the bid a gentleman asked me if I would be willing to sell the desk for $3 ... heck yeah!
A little side note here for anyone new going to auctions ... if something that you want gets sold in a bunch-lot ask the winner if they want to sell 
that one item to you.  
Chances are that they wanted only one thing in the lot as well ... it can be a win win situation for both.
So in the end I paid only $2 and I didn't have to haul the desk home ... super-fantastic!
Just look at all of those nooks and crannies!

Once I got everything home I was able to take a good look at it.  Structurally it was very sound ... the bottom and sides are made out of 6/4 x 8 lumber ... substantial I tell ya!

So yes, very solid but grimy as all get-out.  You can see in the picture below where I cleaned some of the grime off.

I originally thought that I would be able to dust it off, wipe it
down and then I would be all set to go.
Ummm yeahhhh, that didn't happen.
First thing I did was vacuumed ... not enough ... brush and compressor with air gun nozzle ... not enough ... scrub brush with murphy's oil soap ... not enough and very time consuming.

The only way I was going to be able to get that thing cleaned up was to 
take the back off of it to get the slats out. 
Each space between the wooden slats is about 3" wide ... fun to look at but not so fun when it comes to cleaning.
20 slots and 4 rows = 320 cramped corners ... nothankyou!

So I took it outside again and took the screws out of the back ... my gag reflex was working overtime that day.  Sometimes old furniture is just gross!!

The slats were removed.

Some of the paint was flaking off just from washing it so I switched to a hand sander and went to town.  
Not only did every slat have to be sanded on each side but then each one had to be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove the dust so I could move on to the next step ... staining.
I used Minwax Polyshade.  If there ever was a project that could use a shortcut, this was it!
In the picture below you can see where I compared the old
finish to the new one.
Ha, it looks like they're clapping ( probably happy that they aren't so 
dry anymore. )

And here is the finished project.  I cheated and took it outside yesterday
so the daylight would show you just how rich the color came out.

 I didn't sand the slats or the insides completely down to bare wood ... I only took off the grime and what was already loose.  
Part of me is cringing because the proper step would have been to completely remove the old finish but I just couldn't do it.  I still don't know what this thing is but I do know that it has some age on it.  
The only thing I did to the original paint was wash it.  I can't decide if it's grey or blue but it brightened up so nicely after it's bath and it's lovely to look at.

At first I thought that it is an old postal/mail slot ... but the wire on the back makes me think that's not it.
I did a search and found a couple of items that look like this
and they share the label of 'pigeon hole'.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, and I may even sell it ... but for now it's going into my work room.

I'm partying with the fabulous peoples below!

Thrifty Decor Chick

Furniture Feature Fridays

PhotobucketFunky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Redoux 504 Main 


  1. Beautiful! What a wonderful find! My guess is from a mailroom at a business? Great job.

  2. Nice work. That's what they call a pigeon-hole messagebox. Google it you find out more about them. Came over from Miss Mustardseeds Furniture Feature Friday.

  3. This is so cool!! Thanks for sharing it with everyone at Miss Mustard Seed's link up...

  4. Beautiful! I think the original finish looks great with the staining you did, not always necessary to strip it down to have a good looking piece. That's the difference between restoring and refinishing! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I am in love with your find!!! How absolutely charming and what a great price!! Wow!! Stopping by from Vintage Inspiration Friday tonight~ stop by and say hello sometime! :)

  6. All your hard work was worth it! It is a beautiful piece... maybe an old mail sorting station? Love it!
    Susan @

  7. I agree that it is an old letter sorting case, after many years at the Post Office. Afraid I would have upped your bid considerably to get my hands on it-wonderful find!!! You restored it beautifully too!

  8. Oh my gosh that is so cool! It looks like it took an INSANE amount of work to fix up. Nice job!

  9. Great $5.00 find, you did a wonderful job of cleaning it up. Laura Cottage and Broome

  10. Wow! You went all out actually taking it apart and restoring it. What a wonderful piece.

  11. that is really cool, whatever it is! Thanks for sharing at my linky party this week.

  12. Really great find. I'm shocked there wasn't a bidding war but sometimes you get lucky. I admire your tenacity in cleaning it.

  13. This is a terrific find. You put a lot of hard work into it and it certainly has paid off big time!

    Thanks so much for linking to Potpourri Friday. I appreciate your participation!

  14. What a wonderful piece! Thank you for linking it up to Home Sweet Home!

  15. right now i am sweating with jealousy! ;) it is seriously AWESOME!

  16. I love this amazing piece! I don't think I would have had the patience to bring out its beauty like you did. Great work!

  17. THAT PIECE IS NOT FOR THE BIRDS! Great find, love it, and good eye!

  18. Whatever it is, it's sure neat!

  19. I absolutely would've bid on it myself! What a great piece! Wow!

    I'm your newest follower. :)

  20. I'm jealous! I love cubbies! I would have bid on it in a heartbeat!

  21. What a beautiful peice! I have one that is bigger with slightly different slots but it also has the wire backing. I am always curious as to what it was used for. You did a great job fefinishing it.

  22. what a find, what a chore, and how gorgeous is it now!!!! Great Job!!

  23. Lots of work - but great job!


    Hi DownthelanewithDaisy!

  24. Super Cool! I love Auctions! I have found some amazing pieces for so little.

  25. What a great piece. I am thinking maybe it came from a hotel... for a message or key center. Nevertheless, it is fabulous. You brought the life right back to it. Great job.

    Hugs, Deb

    Hopped over from MMS site.

  26. Thank you everyone for the lovely comments!

  27. I think you deserve to keep this considering all the time you put into it. I might have cleaned it with Williamsville Wood Cleaner. It is made in Sudbury MA. 1 800 635 1840 It takes all the grime off without hurting the finish. Try to get some. I got some locally, then I found it on the internet. It works really well on picture frames that are filthy. When cleaned, they are a little lighter in color because the dirt isn't there, but still beautiful. I used to wash things off with soap, or use mineral spirits, but this is much better and less harmful. Ann

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  29. That is one of the coolest pieces I've seen! I'd definitely put it in the craft room. You could fill it with all sorts of things from stamps, to fat quarters, to jars of beads or buttons. Oh my gosh, I'm drooling over it. What a job to clean it up though. All that work...I hope you keep it! I'm your newest follower :)

    Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Thanks Deborah! I'm still using the pigeon hole unit and love it. Thanks for following and welcome ; )

  30. love this I mean love this found you via MMS FF...and what a treat....
    I know and you would say crazy but I would be using this if I had a bigger house for my Rocks,,,yes rocks,,,I have some beauties...and so fun to display with the proper labels of what and where found...