China Cabinet Restored to Original

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Although we get asked to restore a lot of antiques and vintage furniture, we do get a little giddy about some projects in particular. This China cabinet was one of them, with it’s curved glass sides and quarter sawn oak frame. Over the years, this old girl seemed to have lost her luster… But we were honored and able to bring her back!

Stripping is messy but it is a necessary evil. Sometimes an old finish will come off easy, as it will already be chipping or peeling… This wasn’t the case in this instance.  Removing the old shellac could not be done efficiently with a simple sanding.

There was also extensive water damage to the top, so bleaching was the next step.  Wood bleach is awesome – the frothy white foam shows you that it’s working.

After sanding and bleaching prep was done and the piece was COMPLETELY dry, it was finally time for the fun part: staining!

To enhance the depth with the use of color we settled on a combination of both golden oak and early American General Finishes water-based stains, in addition to an amber shellac. Shellac is one of Tara’s favorite finishes. It brings a sense of age and a certain luster to a piece. If you want to learn more about different types of finishes go here.


There she is, gorgeous as she was in her hay day! The owner plans to pass her down to his kids and grandkids. This stunning piece is sure to last many more generations.


We always give credit where credit is due.  For this post we need to send a big thanks to the “UpCycle Guy” Theron (Tara’s brother), who makes himself available to help us from time to time. Tara let him put the nails back in on the curved glass for this project!  🙂


Thanks for reading! Have you restored for a family heirloom? Send us some pictures – we would love to see them!

Tara and Becca

Be sure to check in next week when  we will be teaching all there is to know about sandpaper!


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Tara Lou

Mama, wife, furniture connoisseur, small business owner, nature-lover, homebody, hunter.

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