Fixin’ Up a Buffet

If you follow my blog, then you know that my wife and I have a couple of booths in antique malls where we buy and sell antiques. Occasionally we’ll buy old furniture and fix it up. This is a buffet we found at a yard sale for dirt cheap. It had some issues, but the price was too good to pass up, plus I knew I could make it usable again.

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The first issue I had to take care of was the stretcher on the bottom looked like a dog gnawed on it.

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The easiest thing to do was simply cut it off. Since Anita was going to paint the piece, I wasn’t too concerned about the dowel cut offs showing. Removing the stretcher didn’t cause the buffet to lose any stability.

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The biggest issue the buffet had was the runner on the large drawer on top was  completely broken off. There was no way  to properly repair it so I decide to make a new one out of some scrap wood.

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I milled a new piece to size and then used my Stanley No 45 plane to plow a 1/4″ groove down the middle on both edges.

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I then cut a wide groove down the face of the piece with my table saw and cleaned it up with my router plane.

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With a tenon cut on the end of the piece and a rabbet cut on the other end, the new piece worked perfectly in the old drawer. I tacked down the runner to the back of the drawer with a couple of small nails.

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After the drawer was fixed, I shaved down the edges of the doors with a block plane so that they would close better. Once the buffet was functional again, Anita painted the piece with milk paint.

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You can see how the milk paint gives the buffet old world character. This piece should sell quick in the booth.

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What Do You Think of this Style of Furniture?

Having a woodworking blog, I know that a lot of people who follow me are also woodworkers. And if I know woodworkers, it is that they love wood grain. So much so, that the whole idea of painting a piece of furniture that they make is often considered sacrilegious. However, I also know that many women who usually buy furniture for their home would rather have a piece of furniture that goes with their décor. Beautiful wood grain is something many of them don’t even think about when picking out a piece. So I decided to do a little nonscientific poll to see what people think of the following piece of furniture.

This is a buffet my wife bought at an auction. She wanted to paint the base, but leave the top a natural wood tone. She sanded the top and oiled it with hemp oil. Some people call this type of furniture restyle Shabby Chic. I’m not sure if this is technically Shabby Chic or French Country or whatever. My wife calls it Elegant Farm House style.

Below you can see some of the detail of the wood after it’s been painted. To me, the architectural details of the moldings stick out a little more and are not muddled in the wood grain when the piece has been distressed. But what do you think?

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