Campaign Furniture Hardware Hack

January 27, 2016

What do you do when you find a piece of campaign furniture for a steal but you're too cheap to replace the one missing piece of hardware?  You get creative, of course!

I'm doing this post a little bit backwards because I should share with you the entire makeover process first and then share this hack with you...but I messed up the paint on the bottom right drawer so the entire piece isn't ready to be shared yet.  I am pretty excited about this hack I came up with though, because I really was too cheap and lazy to try to track down one single brass corner piece of campaign hardware.  I know they are available on the internet, but they often come with multiple pieces and drawer pulls...as well as a hefty price tag.  The entire 6 drawer low boy dresser cost only $25, so I'm not about to spend more than that to get one tiny piece of metal.

Ok, so this is what the dresser looked like when I found it:



So bad, right?  And yes, that is a knob shoved into the drawer pull even though the pull is fully functional.  Very weird.  It's not Dixie or a brand well known for vintage campaign furniture, but for the price I really didn't care. I just needed a low boy dresser to serve as our tv stand, and that's exactly what I found!

I'll get into the brass polishing, furniture sanding, painting, etc. in a later post...but this one is strictly about the decorative hardware.  This dresser was missing one single piece, but I bought it anyway because even though I wasn't quite sure what I would do, I figured (ok, I hoped) that I would be able to come up with a quick and cheap solution.  And I did!

First, I removed and cleaned all of the hardware.  This was a loooooong process because, as you can see, the brass was really dark and yucky looking.  Once cleaned (I'll share my process later, I promise!), I took a piece that matched the piece I was missing to Ace Hardware.  In this case, it was a corner piece.  They suggested a corner bracket (like the ones you see used on Ikea Rast Campaign Hacks).  I knew this wouldn't work because the bracket is too skinny and has giant holes because it's made to be secured with screws...clearly not what I was looking for.  I asked if they had any brass that could be cut down to size, and sure enough, they did!  For just under $5 I was able to buy a sheet of brass that I could cut using regular ole scissors.  Sure, it's thinner than the real hardware, but because this hardware is purely aesthetic I knew it would work.  They did have a sheet of brass that was a bit thicker (very similar in thickness to the original hardware), but I wasn't sure if regular scissors would work, so I settled on the cheaper and thinner sheet of brass.

Here is the packaging, so you'll know what to look for if you ever find yourself in a similar situation:

   
First, I lined up the real hardware with the corner of the sheet of brass.


I used a thumbtack to trace around the edges because the point was really sharp and fine.  Next, I used regular scissors to cut the piece out.  The helpful employee at Ace Hardware told me that the pressure was more important than the sharpness, so you have to make smaller scissor motions than you would if you were just cutting a piece of paper.   
 

Once the piece was cut, I laid the real piece over the sheet metal piece.


I used the tack again, this time to mark where the holes were.


Next, I got a big, sharp nail and moved the brass to the top of a stack of magazines.  I then hammered really hard so that I could punch three tiny holes in the sheet metal.  I couldn't get the nail to go all the way through though, so once I had created teeny tiny holes in the metal I moved the sheet metal piece over to the dresser and hammered the nails right into the preexisting holes in the wood.  Piece of cake!


Here is what the dresser looks like now.  Can you tell which piece I made myself?

It's the bottom left piece!  Ok, so it does look slightly different, but only because I know I made it myself.  I'm sure a random passerby wouldn't even look twice.  Of course, if I were to sell this piece I'd track down an authentic piece of hardware, but for now I'm extremely happy with this super cheap yet functional hack :)

If you have any questions please let me know!

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