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April 6, 2017

Refinishing Our Heywood Wakefield M321 Straight Bookcases – Thursday Retro Rewind

Continuing on with re-posting my Heywood Wakefield refinishing series…….I am refinishing a set of Heywood Wakefield Straight Bookcases this week! In my mind I had always dreamed of having the 2 straight bookcases on either side of the curved bookcase you saw last week, well I could not quite set it up like that in our new home. Not a problem though – I wound up using everything…just in different areas of our home!

By Sara In AZ

Some of you might remember when I posted about finding and refinishing our Heywood Wakefield corner bookcase – I had wanted one for a LONG time and lo and behold one popped up for sale about a mile down the road!

Well, I always thought it would be nice to have a straight bookcase to go along with the curved one. I wasn’t avidly looking or anything…..just checking out Craigslist every now and then to see what H-W was up for sale.

One day I came across an ad on Craigslist from a guy down in Tucson who was basically clearing out his whole collection of Heywood…and in that collection were not one, but two, straight bookcases!


Mike and I decided to make to drive down to Tucson and check out the bookcases in person. When we got there this is what we saw…………………………….


These bookcases were in HORRIBLE shape! There was hardly any finish left in the pieces and what was left was pretty much destroyed.


We struck a deal for $75 each since they were in such poor shape………..so ‘Sara’ to the rescue again!


I dismantled everything on each of the bookcases.


Even the feet were eventually taken off.


You MUST mark what screw went where and……………………..


…………..what piece of wood attached to what!!!


And we are off to the races….well, sanding anyway!


I don’t know if you can clearly see all the scratches and gouges in the shelf…..so sad!


Ugggghhhhh, it was just in SUCH bad shape!


Here is a fully sanded shelf next to an un-sanded shelf.


Ahhhhhhhh, one complete bookcase sanded and ready for stain!


If you would like to see an in-depth look at my staining process please see the post Refinishing Our Heywood Wakefield M328 Desk Bookcase…….The Definitive Post on Refinishing! – that post will give you all the in’s and out’s of my refinishing process.

Time for the stain!


This piece is getting the first coat of stain!


And 4 coats later we are finally done…with one side that is!


Here we have a whole new set of pieces starting the staining process.


I always use the same Wheat ‘Heywood’ stain I get off of a seller on E-Bay. There is a seller on there, needful useful things, who mixes stain to match Champagne and Wheat finishes of Heywood Wakefield blonde furniture. It is a stain and topcoat all in one so you do not have to worry about a lot of steps. I have always had really good luck with his stains, and he will mix custom colors for you if you need that as well. Here is a link to his E-Bay store needful_useful_things . He is a really great seller who is super nice to deal with and is really customer service orientated as well! Check him out!!!

Now, onto re-assembly!


It’s SO much fun seeing everything come back together!


And here we have our new refinished bookcases!




Not a scratch, stain, or watermark to be found anywhere!



Oh my gosh, it’s like night and day…..you would not even think they are the same bookcases!


I am SO excited to have this project behind me! YAY!!! I can’t wait to get them all set up at the new house!

Flash forward a few years and here they are – all set up at the new house! One we are using in the office………..

And the other one is in the dining room!

I seriously LOVE all of our Heywood Wakefield bookcases!

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6 Responses to Refinishing Our Heywood Wakefield M321 Straight Bookcases – Thursday Retro Rewind

  1. Susan from Boston Reply

    April 6, 2017 at 8:48 am

    O-Kay Sara, it’s OFFICIAL:

    You are the H-W Ghost Whisperer.

    My God!!! You did such a brilliant job with these that I’m drooling with H-W envy ovah heyah in Bahston. So jels…

    You rock, sister soldier.

    Also, what I can’t wrap my head around is this: what did this man do to these bookcases? I mean, WHO treats their furniture that way? That is something I will never understand. Any time I frequent a yard sale or estate sale and I see the condition of some of the furniture I’m like, “What the WHAT?!” Who treats their furniture like this?! It’s mind boggling. ESPECIALLY H-W furniture because H-W aint cheap.

    Shaking my d*mn head.

    Best to you!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      April 7, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Ha! I love it…..the H-W ghost whisperer! 🙂 Thank you so much though…it was really hard work but it came out really nice in the end!

      And I know…WTH!? I seriously cannot figure out what people do to their furniture….why treat it that way??? I think??? the guy I bought it from had also bought it from someone else so maybe it was that way when he bought it? I remember when I bought it from the guy….he seemed to think it actually wasn’t in that bad of shape!!! Ugh!

  2. Dwayne Reply

    April 6, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Great looking refinish job!. Taking it all apart.. Thats that extra step that really seems to pay off. In the past when I stripped furniture, we rarely had the time to permit us to take pieces apart. Job well done.

  3. Lyn Dono Reply

    April 7, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    They look brand new! “Not a stain, scratch or watermark to be found anywhere”……ever again. I can tell these pieces are really appreciated. Awesome. Thanks for posting.
    I have three H-W bar stools in the basement. They have really fun Bamboo legs and the original swivel grey seat with the label underneath. I found these in a thrift shop about two years ago.
    When we moved in to our home, 26 years ago, there was a bamboo couch, end table and two chairs in the den. None of it was marked but knowing what I know now, it was probably H-W. Anyway, we used it for years and eventually the kids got older and asked for something more comfortable. So on a Tuesday night we put it out for trash. In our town you can literally put out anything on a Tuesday night for pick-up on Wednesday. So my hubby and I are putting the couch out and someone pulls up and asks if they can have it. We were so happy someone wanted it. The funny thing was that the couple had a car full of stuff they had already picked up. They asked if they could unload it to get the couch in. Of course we said yes. Next morning, most of what they unloaded was picked up by someone else during the night. I love recycling, or up cycling as my kids call it. Oh, the two chairs found a home with my brother in law and I think the table went them.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      April 9, 2017 at 4:12 am

      Thank you Lyn!

      Ahhhh, the bar stools sounds so amazing…..glad you found them! Bummer on getting rid of a H-W couch, but at least it did go to someone who had a use for it! Great story!!!

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