Buffet Hutch


I often feel the need to rescue things.  I’ve brought home my share of puppies needing mothering.  I’ve also brought home plenty of furniture that needed some loving card.

I found this sad story at our local Goodwill.


Being that this buffet is made from a veneer, I couldn’t just take a power sander to it.  I opted for citristrip to get the white paint off.

Stripping Gelcitri_strip_mancaveinvaded
Apply the stripper with a brush or a rag and let it sit for an hour or so.  After it’s had a chance to soak in and penetrate it should start to peel up the paint.  Not so much ‘bubble’ as just start to look loose and flakey.  TIP – Don’t apply the gel and think you’ll come back to the project in a few days.  It’s easiest to remove the gel and the paint within the hour.

Putty Knifecitri_strip_2_mancaveinvaded
Once it looks like above, it’s time to scrape with a putty knife.  Don’t gouge.  Just use the putty knife flat against the surface and with a gentle pressure slide it under your painted surface and you’ll soon have large strips of paint and gel and gunk coming off with relative ease.citri_strip_door_mancaveinvaded

The citristrip does a decent job after one application.  You can start to see the wood again!  This is the door after one application of citristrip and a putty knife removal.

Obviously this wasn’t the look I was going for.



Stripping Gel (Application #2)
This time, I applied the citristrip by dipping a wire brush in the gel.  I then scrubbed the door with the wire brush / citristrip, working together.  Once the strip has done its job and an area seems free of paint, I like to keep a damp (I mean barely wet) rag nearby so I can wipe off the gel and really see if my job is done in the area.

Here you can see the difference between the putty knife and the wire brush method.


After I did the other door and the top with the wire brush, it was time for a light sanding.  You have to be really careful with veneer as the “pretty” wood is often thin, and if you sand it too much you will take off all the pretty wood, exposing a different wood.  I used a 120 grit sand paper – hand sanding.  I then quickly went over it with a 220 grit – very lightly, by hand.

It’s important to make sure all the stripping gel and sanding dust is off the furniture before applying a stain.  They make special rags to collect the dust.  I just got out the air compressor and sprayed it with bursts of air.  Then, dusted it with a clean rag.  Once I was satisfied, I applied the stain.  I wanted it to be dark, so I used minwax, dark walnut, oil based stain.

Top Coat
Once the oil stain had dried over night (or perhaps a few days) it was time for a topcoat.  Being as this wasn’t a piece I was going to set water or hot items on, it didn’t need ‘ultra’ protection.  I went with a simple satin polyurethane.  1 application on the entire thing.  2nd application on the top of the buffet.


I got the fun colorful knobs at World Market.
I really enjoy seeing this piece in our home.
It took effort, but it’s a reminder of what something can become if we just give it a chance and use the right methods!

The wire brushing was the most physically intense part of this project.  But, the result was so dramatic it was fun.


Supply List for this Project
*Old piece of awesome furniture that someone decided to paint.
*Paint Stripping Gel (I like Citristrip gel)
*Way to apply Gel (rag, brush)
*Putty Knife
*Wire Brush
*Sandpaper (I used 120 and 220 grit)
*Stain (I used Minwax Dark Walnut Oil-based)
*Top Coat (I used polyurethane, satin finish)
*Rags (a few, just to have around for spills)
*A “can do” attitude!  :)


You might also be interested in:
What is veneer?
Oil vs. Water based Stain
Top-coat options