Do you have anything that just “got away”? The thing you thought you didn’t need or want so you let it go only to realize later that you two were meant to be? I’ve painted and salvaged lots of furniture in the last several years. And this antique buffet has to be my favorite:
I scored this from a really sweet lady I met on the local online yard sale. She had a house full of treasures and this one she just didn’t have the time for. And this buffet was a beast! Not only was it enormous and super heavy, but it was a disaster on the top. Mr Brown Dog thought I had lost my ever loving mind when we went to pick it up. I think he knew this would be a learning curve for me and I had absolutely zero experience with veneer, but I was about to learn. Thankfully he helped a good bit on this one!
The wood was so gorgeous that I knew I wouldn’t paint this piece. I’m told it’s Tiger Oak and those swirls and color variations are stunning. But it was pretty much a disaster.
We chipped and scraped as much as possible, but it just wasn’t doing it. I found a tutorial online for ironing off old veneer, and let’s face it – my iron gets no action in my house so why not? I used old towels that I got wet with hot water and laid them on the top for about 30 minutes. Then take your iron and go over the towels on a hot setting. Repeat this step over and over again and guess what? It works like a champ. The veneer will just start to lift off. There were still lots of areas that had to be scraped but then I was left with bare wood.
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I sanded it smooth and used Minwax PreStain Wood Conditioner before I applied a Minwax Dark Walnut stain. If you’ve never tried wood conditioner before, let me tell you, it is amazing. Stain can be tricky sometimes. Soaking in like crazy to some areas and virtually none to others. Using wood conditioner is like using a magic stain wand – everything turns out even with no splotches. And Dark Walnut is one of my go to Minwax colors. It’s gorgeous!
After the ironing/scraping party was done, I did a thorough cleaning. Then I brushed on two coats of Minwax clear satin polyurethane. Use the oil based kind when applying over stain. Do two light coats and if you have any bubbles, sand in between coats.
And….I was in love.
We tried and tried to think of place for it in our house, but it just wasn’t happening. I listed it on the online yard sale and had a buyer almost immediately.
And that is the good part about the “buffet that got away” – the sweetest person bought it and they were in the middle of a master bedroom/bathroom renovation for their anniversary gift to themselves and it fit her space perfectly. They were using it for a bathroom vanity and her after pictures were stunning.
Don’t be afraid of a challenge
Don’t be nervous to tackle something that looks like a big job. I took weeks to finish this antique buffet. Each night that I could, I would go out to the garage and start chipping away. Look past the damage/dirt and see the potential. And don’t let yours “get away”.