Broken Down Buffet

Sometimes repairing a furniture piece can cost more than buying something brand new and it can be more work than if you just built something from scratch. This buffet was one of those pieces. Linda reached out to us asking if we could some how make this buffet come back to life. It’s been in her family for generations and it had been living outside for quite a while so it needed MUCH love to make it usable (or even make it stand up for that matter). John looked at me like I was crazy when I said, sure we can.
Here is the buffet before. It’s not on its side because I wanted a before picture showing it at its worst, it’s on its side because the back leg was completely off so it wouldn’t even stand up.
The bottom frame was pretty much gone as was most of the bottom drawer. Veneer was peeling on the top and the sides of this piece.
John had to rebuild the drawer by cutting new sides and a base.
Then he had to rebuild the back leg sections and the bottom front of the buffet. We went with a decorative molding for the bottom of the buffet just to give it an extra pop of detailing.
On to the veneer damage. Some of the sides we replaced with all new wood.
See the new back leg, side, and back of the dresser. Oh and our dog Mel overseeing the project. lol
Then we peeled off the rest of the damaged veneer and used Bondo to repair it. This was a huge chore. Definitely not recommend for the novice upcycler. John came inside many time smelling of the stinky stuff with white hair from Bondo dust.
Then it was time to get our painting on. We used Benjamin Moore’s enamel black paint and lightly distressed it everywhere. We ended up putting new hardware on it as well.
And here is the surprising reveal!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 13 questions
  • Julie
    on Oct 2, 2018

    What about cutting off the damaged bottom and making a TV stand or credenza? Seems like a lot of these older pieces have damag on the bottom portions.

    • Emeekay
      on Dec 29, 2018

      One of the photos shows the panels removed from the doors. Probably just an error but none-the-less, a really great job with something most people would have taken to the dump.

  • SNichols
    on Oct 26, 2019

    How did you attach the new back leg? Did you have to remove the part of the old leg that connected the back and the side of the piece of furniture?

  • Jayne
    on Apr 3, 2020

    I have dresser with some of the veneer missing. do you have any suggestions what to do with the front section that it is missing. Sides and top need work but the veneer is in tact there

    • MahtaMouse
      on Aug 14, 2020

      I am far from an expert, but a friend of mine has an old drop leaf ladies desk that was his grans; so lots of sentimental value here. Her house was burgled when he was a kid and the locked desk pried open, badly damaging the veneer in 3 places. It was it's history, but in my mind an awful history considering what was stolen; so I decided to erase that awful memory/history as best I could. Since he didn't want the veneer patched/replaced, I took wood putty and filled in the damage. When dry, I sanded and then stained the wood putty to match the surrounding wood as best I could and then faux painted it to match the rest of the tiger-y veneer. Afterwards I gave it a coat of a dark "scratch cover" oil to age it to match the rest of the door, giving the entire door a good coat afterwards to blend the whole thing in.

      Hope this gives you another option to try.

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