Antique buffet restoration

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Project by JeanValjean posted 01-23-2021 07:55 PM 592 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Recently I came across this 100 year old buffet at a rummage sale.
It was falling apart from its age, every glue joint had failed and the veneer was dehydrated, wrinkling and broken in several places.
I reused the old sides and doors after trimming away the damaged sections and making cope and stile frames, using the old panels as the center panel.
The remaining wood was too far gone to simply refinish so paint was the future for this piece.
I made a new top of 5/4 quarter sawn white oak with breadboard ends.

The top mirror section survived and only required a cleanup, scuff sanding and new finish coat.
The original mirror was reused.
The paint is General Finishes milk paint in linen color covered with General Finishes flat out flat topcoat.
The top of the buffet was stained and finished in General Finishes Arm R Seal in gloss.
Several coats were applied with a light scuff using red scotch brite between coats.
All new drawers were constructed and soft close slides and hinges were used throughout.
It will be our bar in our home and hopefully it will serve my family for generations to come.

-- Semper Fi

10 comments so far

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


7703 posts in 3416 days

#1 posted 01-23-2021 08:36 PM

Beautiful work!!!

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1453 posts in 2641 days

#2 posted 01-23-2021 08:39 PM

good work on restoring. I think the white paint is too much contrast… of course that’s just an opinion not a knock on your work. your work is great. I think I would go with a softer color which would highlight the wood.. the white takes away from the wood.

-- Jeff NJ

View Bobsboxes's profile


1544 posts in 3671 days

#3 posted 01-24-2021 12:27 AM

Great save, I like the contrast.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View Oldtool's profile


3164 posts in 3197 days

#4 posted 01-24-2021 01:31 AM

Fantastic restoration with modifications, came out beautiful, great work.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Jeff's profile


180 posts in 392 days

#5 posted 01-24-2021 02:40 AM

Very nicely done.

View recycle1943's profile


5042 posts in 2629 days

#6 posted 01-24-2021 01:38 PM

wow – great save and a beautiful piece of furniture. Soft close glides and hinges – in street rods with hidden betterments it’s called a sleeper – in furniture I call it a masterpiece

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View swirt's profile


6000 posts in 3979 days

#7 posted 01-24-2021 01:40 PM

I have come across these buffets several times and they are often overwhelming with the amount of wood showing. The grain and the curves all compete with each other. This is the first one I have seen selectively painted. I like it.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Tennessee's profile


2936 posts in 3521 days

#8 posted 01-24-2021 02:37 PM

I refinished professionally for eleven years in the 70’s-80’s. Did a number of these things. You are right, they always have wrinkled veneer, joints are all gone, etc.
Beautiful job, interesting choice to make some of it painted, some of it natural. Gives it an antique but up to date look. Like it a lot! Bet it’s worth a lot more now than when you took a chance on it!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View TheOCDmaker's profile


24 posts in 18 days

#9 posted 02-08-2021 01:32 PM

nice job on this refinish! the houses in my area all seem to have one or two of these built in. sadly they had removed the one in my house (built in 1900) before i moved in… if only they had done worthwhile renovations lol. i was so sad to see every wood surface had been painted (badly) and the walls looked like a rainbow threw up on it. so much work had been done over the years of updating it… and not well… ex I had to replace the bathroom floor and pulled up the old subfloor boards to lay down plywood and check the plumbing… EVERY joist had been cut (one in two places basically just a board hanging out in the middle of nothing) and the only thing holding up the floor around the toilet was the cast iron sewage pipe and the back wall. super shoddy work. anyway, i enjoy fixing up old things and am hoping to keep working on my house and making it better and better. you have a great piece there :)

-- AL, The OCD Maker, http://www.

View Bstrom's profile


306 posts in 180 days

#10 posted 02-08-2021 11:10 PM

good work on restoring. I think the white paint is too much contrast… of course that s just an opinion not a knock on your work. your work is great. I think I would go with a softer color which would highlight the wood.. the white takes away from the wood.

- woodchuckerNJ

While I would normally agree with you, this piece looks awesome nonetheless. Just beautiful!

-- Bstrom

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