The Water-Logged China Cabinet

7 Materials
$75
5 Days
Medium

Here's the back story on this piece... The storage unit we rented was in an old factory and they were cleaning-out. When we arrived with the movers (same company) I spotted the china cabinet that had been left out in the rain for a loooong time. It was warped, split, peeling, and had no glass. Since I'm an id!@t...ahem, love a challenge, I offered to buy it. The owner told me to take it - no charge.

the water logged china cabinet
The original plan was to reglue the veneer and try to add stain to blend in what was missing.  That plan was tossed aside as soon as I realized the extent of the water damage.  Take a closer look:
the water logged china cabinet
The more sanding I did, the more veneer came off. It was so sad...  Time for a new plan...get rid of the veneer.  
I started with the drawer and veneer was flying EVERYWHERE!  Once it was down to bare wood (which didn't take very long) I saw the lovely green hue...hello, poplar!  The drawer would be painted.  
the water logged china cabinet
I continued with the two panels on either side of the door.  Once again, the veneer was flying and then I discovered another issue.  There was a layer of veneer under the veneer that also was loose. You can't see it in the picture, but, trust me, it was lifting right off.  
the water logged china cabinet
I consulted with my assistant (aka my husband), who agreed with me,  it all had to come off.  There was just no way to re-glue all that veneer successfully.  Off it came! Let's just say, there was a lot of ruined veneer:
the water logged china cabinet
After sanding everything smooth, I got to work on the solid-wood parts:  the door frame, the corners, those legs...I used Furniture Refinisher Tung Oil from Homer Formby with no expectations.  This wood had very little finish left on it, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
the water logged china cabinet
Before & After
the water logged china cabinet
The top and sides got 2 coats of black chalk paint to cover the damage (the top was warped & split and had to be screwed back together)and a coat of polycrylic.  I also painted the inside and the drawer.  Everything got a little distressing with sandpaper.  A new piece of glass was cut for the door and then it was time to tackle those front side panels.  Since the green poplar was shining through, I gave them 2 coats of white paint and bought some fabric. I cut the fabric a little larger than the panels and used Mod Podge to apply it.
the water logged china cabinet
Once the entire piece of fabric was secure and dry, I trimmed it with an exacto knife and applied one more coat over the top.
Last, but not least, I had to clean the knob and drawer pulls. A little metal polish and some elbow grease turned them into this:
 


the water logged china cabinet
This china cabinet was a lost cause that I just couldn't give up on. If you'd like to see more before and after pictures, stop by my blog. Here's the final picture:

the water logged china cabinet
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Ann|The  Apple Street Cottage

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Evey Soper
    on Sep 19, 2018

    where is a pic of the finished cabinet ?

  • The13363824
    on Sep 19, 2018

    What a super idea........it looks GREAT!! The galvanized tub on top does NOT go.......let is stand alone if ya have to????  Think about it.

    • I don't know about that, Susan, but, Thank you! It was a process and, this may sound a little crazy to some people, but the cabinet 'told' me what to do at each step.

  • Kathy
    8 days ago

    Hi Ann! I LOVE the cabinet! It's gorgeous! You did a fantastic job. I have a question about your floors. I'm sorry to go off topic, but they look like Acacia Cumin luxury vinyl floors I got from Empire Today and have bubbled and separated a few times. If yours are similar, have you had any trouble? Again, I am sorry to ask something off topic but have had no one else to ask. I really do LOVE your cabinet! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Kathy! Sorry to hear about the flooring problems you're having, but ours are Pergo laminate. Try asking about them on the DIY forum here on Hometalk, someone is bound to know something to help you!

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2 of 128 comments
  • Thank you Beverly. I was lucky to find it - especially for free! I have my eye on another piece of 'junk'...I'm not sure about it and my husband is shaking his head! LOL

  • Karen Cotton
    An hour ago

    Very beautiful piece when done...awesome completion of it...

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