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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6 thoughts on “Fixin’ Up a Buffet

    1. yeah, if I was Freddy Roman of the PeriodCraftsman, I would have tried to repair it and use anither piece of walnut for the drawer slide, but since we sell in a large antique mall, we’re competing with a lot of low priced antiques. It wouldn’t be worth our time to restore it to it’s original state and still make money on it. It’s kind of a shame, but that’s the game we have to play right now.

      A few years ago, I completely restored a mahogany empire dresser . The piece turned out awesome. I must have spent 50 hours on it repairing all the inlays around the drawer fronts, but when we sold it, I think I made $3.00/hr for my time.

      1. That’s the way is game is played. If we could market ourselves to be restoration experts, then we could sell to a higher end audience who is willing to pay good money for fine antiques. However, that’s not going to happen in antique malls where people paint dining room tables they bought from Goodwill and sell them for $199.00. It’s a learning process. We’re still trying to make it work.

      2. I hear you my friend. I’ll spend upwards of 200 hours on a piece of furniture in my unplugged shop only to have folks offer what just about covers the cost of the lumber. It’s maddening!

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