Winter is literally pounding against the side of my house as I write this. Knowing this was inevitable, I’ve been tearing through refinishing projects like a mad man, hoping to squeeze just one more thing in before being plunged into freezing temps. As it turns out, today’s little buffet might just be the one project that squeaked in under the wire. A few weeks ago I picked up this faded, battered little buffet at an estate sale a friend was having.
The pictures might make it look better than it really was. The finish on the top was water damaged and beginning to flake off. The doors and drawers were faded, hazed and splotchy. The hardware was tarnished and green in spots. It had seen better days. Initially I was hoping just to refinish the top and polish up the rest. So I stripped the top and applied poly—it was looking great. While the poly dried, I decided to use Howard’s Feed-N-Wax on the rest. I looked on in horror as the wood suddenly became three shades darker and even splotchier than ever as the oils soaked through the cloudy finish and into the walnut beneath. Sigh. My only choice was to sand off all my newly applied poly, strip down the doors and drawers, apply stain to everything and then apply poly. I’m actually pretty glad I did, the results are so much better than I expected.
Who knew all that dark, gorgeous grain was hiding under there? Not me. I truly didn’t think it would look this nice.
A big part of freshening up any piece is to polish up the hardware. I don’t normally do this unless I’m sure the hardware is solid brass or that the plating is fully intact, otherwise you’re likely to polish it down to the base metal. Luckily these were solid brass and after stripping off the protective lacquer, they polished right up. I reapplied gloss lacquer afterward to keep them looking new.
Looking at the before, it’s easy to see why some people grab for their paint brushes when confronted with a tired piece of furniture. But in reality, this project took two days to complete and was super easy. I consider this a pretty solid win, so if winter has to start now, at least I can end the project season on a happy note.