A “New” Buffet – Knee Deep


My mom called me while I was at Hobby Lobby the other day. 

Mom:  “I saw on your blog that you want to avoid using paint stripper on that buffet.  Why?”

Me:  “Well everything I’ve read about it makes it sound like toxic waste and it just seems really really nasty.”

Mom:  “It’s true that it’s not exactly environmentally friendly, but really, it’s not that big of a deal.  You just let it sit for a while and then you come along with a scraper and a wadded up piece of newspaper and scrape and wipe off the old finish.”

Me: “Yeah…but I heard that rags covered with it can SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST!”  (Cue fellow HL shopper turning and staring.)

Mom: “And so can rags with stain, polyurethane, mineral spirits, and oil based paint.”

Me: “Oh.”

Mom:  “You need to try paint stripper.  It will be much easier.”

ummm.  ok?

So I did.  I bought some paint stripper (in a spray can!  that smells like oranges!) and tried it.  It does work really, really well.  Actually I think that’s part of why it’s so nasty – it works so well you have to concentrate to not get it all over the place!  I wore latex gloves and used a plastic putty knife and newspaper like she said.  Then I went over the thing with a lot of mineral spirits to clean up the “residue” (went through three old scrubbing sponges getting it all off.) 


And then I had to sand a couple places again where there was a ridge between the old paint and the freshly removed paint. 

And then I went over it again with soapy water to make sure I got everything off that I could.  I only wanted to take off the stain from certain areas….but the spray got onto a lot more than just the stained areas, so that’s why parts of the paint got scraped off too. 

And then I taped off and stained the little bottom strip.


And in the meantime, I stained and poly’d the shelves.  They’re done now and ready to go back in the buffet when it’s finished.


And then the weekend was over.


P.S.  I found replacement drawer tracks.  Turns out the hardware store has tons of them in all different sizes!  So now I will sleep easy at night knowing the tracks of my buffet drawers aren’t coated in a mysterious goobery filth 🙂



  1. Final coat of poly on the newly stained bottom strip and knobs. (I took the easy route and bought new, unfinished knobs instead of messing with the old ones.) 
  2. Prime and paint the legs and bottom section so I can turn it back upright.  


Another note – I plan to use Polycrylic (the water-based version of polyurethane which shouldn’t yellow as much) on the whole piece when I’m done.  But of course there’s a catch!  Polycrylic cannot be used on the one stain color I’m using – Red Mahogany. !!!  So I have to use polyurethane on the stained areas, and Polycrylic on the painted areas.  Yeesh. 

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