Refinish Old Furniture with a New Look
Something old becomes something new is a way to green the planet, reuse furniture, keep the landfills not so filled, and leave a smaller footprint on the planet.
This was my first foray into fixing furniture. Here is the story behind this piece of furniture. This was a hand me down from who knows where. It was in a storage unit, and my friend does not recall where he got it from. There was no markings on it to tell me who made it. I looked on the internet, and could not find anything like it. I had no clue what kind of furniture piece it was. It looked old. But I loved it, and could see potential.
Here is What I Did
- First off, the top had to go! Whoever owned this piece of furniture prior had contact paper on it! That told me it was at least the 70s, because that was when everyone was putting contact paper on everything. It was fairly easy to peel off in strips, in big chunks, in tiny pieces. That’s when I saw the potential reason for the contact paper. It looked like the top had been burned at one point, and the contact paper may have been used to cover it up.
- When I turned the piece upside down, I saw many of the screws had been stripped and the holes had become so big the legs were loose. Part of the bottom had been split, gouged, all kinds of damage was done. I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time, so I figured just replace the legs. They were all scratched up and ugly in my eyes (potentially 50s style), and didn’t know how I could fix that.
- I took all the hardware off and sent it to the recycling center. If I had known better, I would have saved them, even if I didn’t use them, because of the retro-ism. Lesson learned. Really think before you get rid of something! I will never do that again!
- I got myself a sander from Home Depot and sanded the crap out of it, outside on my deck; taking off all stain, smoothing out scratches, and priming it for a makeover. I put wood filler on some of the deeper gouges and the splits. When sanding any item, make sure to have plenty of cloths to wipe off the sand residue on a regular basis to keep the stain application smooth. The corners and curves were a little tight, so they were sanded by hand. FYI, the burn mark did not go away. It got a little cleaner, but it was definitely an eyesore I could not, nor did I want to fix. I will tell you WHY at the end. It took several days for the sanding, because I had to take care of my other obligations first.
- I went back to Home Depot and got some stain called Cabernet. It sounded like a cool color, and would look beautiful with the basement decor. My daughter picked out new bun feet, new glass knobs for the drawers and doors, and a couple of embellishments for the doors to style it up a bit. I also picked up hinges and attachments for the feet.
- I spent a couple of days putting on two coats of stain, taking the pieces inside at night in case of bad weather. I brushed the stain on, waited a couple of minutes, then wiped the stain off with more cloths. I waited until the stain was dry (a couple of hours) and put on a second coat. The more coats you put on, the darker the color will be. Another FYI, since these pictures I have added two more coats.
- When it was completely dry I put it back together, attaching new feet, hardware and hinges. I have not put polyurethane on it. I glued the fleur-de-lis embellishments on the doors, and voila!
I did this all by myself in about a week, with no help from anyone except Home Depot personnel giving me some guidance. I am calling it a buffet and using it to hold all my entertaining dishes. It is the perfect size.
Oh yeah! The burn mark? I decided to leave it alone. It gives the piece some character. The story I tell is that back in the 70s, the owner had a cocaine party, and they were using the furniture surface for the entertainment. That is the story I am sticking with, and there is no one to dispute it!