The finish was dark, though, and some areas needed to be shored up a bit. After lots of sanding to get some of that old finish off and some repairs, it was moved into my studio for its real face lift.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to add color to the surface. After much searching around and talking with a woodworker artist friend, I found instructions on ProChem's website on how to use the powdered fiber reactive dyes I already have to dye wood. (Please read my comment to Laura to see how I added a sealer/finish. The dye is water soluble when applied.)
I primed then painted the insides of the drawers with some great colors. Then, with some trepidation, I mixed up my dye with equal parts water and rubbing alcohol and started. Wow! It was much easier than (and about as messy as) I had expected. But even more beautiful! What a satisfying project.Now I'm thinking about how to add some Mark Twain-related embellishments. I think he would be pleased.