Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mr Handsome Vintage Buffet

I’ve seen a lot of these buffets on Pinterest and in the blog world.  Just about any incarnation of these buffets takes them from drab to fab.  The befores and afters continue to amaze me.  When I got this guy home, I wasn’t sure what my plan was for him.  Thus, my board in Pinterest titled The New Buffet!  What can I say?  I’m a visual gal who needs to see a road map before I get in the car!  Gathering ideas helps me figure out what my next steps are.

Here he is just loaded off of the truck:  

My original plan was all Graphite.  I knew I would have bleed through if I went with a light color and just wasn’t in the mood for Shellac.  The top looked pretty bad and the home it came from was a bit disorderly so I didn’t think the top could be refinished.  But if I were going to skip Shellac, at least I could do is strip the top to make sure my assumption about the top being a hot mess was correct.  Enter stage left, my refinishing tools. 

This was my first venture with Formby’s Refinisher.  I liked it.  It took some muscle, but did a good job of getting the lacquer off of the top.  It made the sanding so much easier and wasn’t as messy as using a liquid stripper.  Pour a little into a container, dip the steel wool in the liquid, rub it in and watch the gooky stuff come off!  

Oh my…he is starting to strut his stuff!  This top is screaming for refinishing….Please don’t paint me!

My next step is to work on the base.  The drawers come out for a good scrubbing, slight sanding and then a thin coat of shellac.  I find it helps to eliminate any residual odors and gives a beautiful sheen to the wood grain. 

I stick with my original plan to use ASCP Graphite.  It takes two coats, and then gets some gentle distressing.  I’ve discovered using a damp cloth on the unwaxed paint gives a worn look and is not as messy as sanding. 

I applied a coat of clear wax and then dark wax to deepen the Graphite.  I’ve read some folks skip the clear wax when using Graphite and apply the dark wax directly onto the paint. It darkens the Graphite and gives it more depth.  I’ve not mustered the courage to attempt that yet! 

After the base is completed, I wrap him up and start to finish the top. 

I like the Dark Walnut Stain from Minwax, and since this piece may get some usage, I decided to apply poly acrylic for protection. 

And now for the unveiling…drum roll please...

And there he is in all of his glory.
As I mentioned earlier, these handsome pieces can go from drab to fab!

Thanks for stopping by…



  1. I just popped over here from MMS. What a treat! You do beautiful work. Love, love, LOVE it!

  2. Hi Robin! I came over from MMS FFF also. Love what you did with the buffet, glad you stained the top! Isn't it amazing what that dark wax does to Graphite? Next time go for it without the clear wax first!

    Have a great weekend,


    1. Hi June,
      Thanks for your thoughts!

      Have you had a chance to use the dark wax directly on the Graphite? Does it buffet out okay? I really want to try it because I like the look of a darker black..more along the lines of a Pottery Barn black.
      Stay tuned...maybe you'll see a project where I tried it. If so, the shout out will go to you! :)

  3. Very nice job! I love that you kept the top wood and did the graphite below. Such a beautiful combo.
    And yes on your above question!! Since it's a dark color, the dark wax won't be so dramatic as it would on a light color. I think you will like the effect. I have used the dark wax on the Graphite. It gives it a beautiful rich tone. Have you tried making your own black chalk paint??? I've used it quite a bit. I've never had any issues. I'm using Glidden "onyx" on a huge dining room set.
    I think I have a couple of pics of it under "In the Wings" if you want to take a look.

    1. Hi Beth,
      If you have a favorite chalk paint recipe, I'm all ears! I've seen a few recipes out there, but have been reluctant to try one.
      By the way, you've done some amazing things with the pieces you've acquired!

  4. I really like the graphite buffet and the staging was well executed. Dark wax used directly on the graphite looks amazing but not quite the Pottery Barn black so many ppl like. When I want a rich midnight black I simply added some jet black craft paint to my graphite, it still preforms the same way.
    Keep up the good work,
    Kristy @ 4 the love of WOOD

    1. Thanks, Kristy! I'll try the jet black craft paint to the graphite.

      By the way, love your work!
      Thanks for stopping by..

  5. Great job! The top looks so fantastic-love the combo.

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Thanks so much! The combo is nice and I find myself wanting to repeat the same treatment on other pieces. I hope I don't get 'comfortable' and avoid trying new things!


  6. Wow! I absolutely love it! You've inspired me! I have a buffet that I've been trying to decide what to do with... this might be it! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Hi Danielle!
    I inspired someone? You've made by day!

    Post pictures when you've finished the buffet! I look forward to seeing it..


  8. hi Robin -you have done a beautiful job - it looks so grand and stately now. well done. I love your choice of ASCP Graphite. ASCP has just arrived in Australia and I will have to make sure i try this lovely colour.
    cheers Fiona

  9. Hi Fiona,

    That's exciting that Graphite has arrived in Australia! I look forward to seeing how you use it.

    Thanks for stopping by...