[ Buy a similar piece to this one now in my shop! ]
I recently found this unassuming crate in a local vintage store here in Northern VA. It had a few different paint colors on it but I saw some potential. I figured I would sand it down, stain it, add some hinges, handle and hairpin legs and make a fabulous vintage end table with storage.
But as I started sanding, I discovered under all that random paint, that it was actually a Smith and Wesson crate that originally carried grenades and tear gas! Still trying to figure out its age.
I am passionate about preserving history, so I decided to just add a clear satin lacquer, so that all the words could remain visible. This makes the surface smooth and (I hope) impenetrable. You can find clear lacquer at your local hardware store (or Amazon Prime if you’re lazy [as in more efficient!] like me!)
Before adding the lacquer though, I suggest a wood pre-conditioner, especially for older pieces like this. It allows the lacquer to apply better to the surface. One coat of pre conditioner and 1-3 coats of lacquer should be enough! This is much better as an outdoor project as the lacquer has a very strong smell.
This piece has gone on to its forever home, but see other similar pieces I have for sale now in my shop!