My Grandma's old buffet made it to a new garage--mine. It sits quietly awaiting a stripping of some kind or (a kinder way of describing it) re-finishing. With some water damage on the bottom and other little defects, it calls out to be spruced up a bit before making it into our house.
Stripping: to remove extraneous or superficial matter from; to make bare or clear
Re-finishing: to give (as furniture) a new surface
Not being a professional furniture refinisher, I don't know exactly what the next step is. The little I do know from what I have read is that you want to do the least amount to the furniture so to preserve what patina is present on the piece (and save on elbow grease).
I am glad for the injunction to start with the least amount of intervention and then work your way, through some trial and error, to a place of knowing what needs to be done. Do your work in an inconspicuous place, testing the wood's original finish and move from there. It seems overwhelming to tackle the whole piece at once. But bit by bit, little by little, seems doable for someone who has not done anything like this before.
The buffet is a beauty. It is so beautiful that when my son-in-law saw it, he fell in love with it. "It's yours," I said, "when you settle in a house so you don't have to keep moving it up and down apartment stairwells."
Hidden behind the years of varnish is one heck of piece of furniture. A little loving care and "wallah" it's brand new, in an old antique-e sort of way!
Someday the buffet will be done with the garages and basements of this world. It will be back in the house, in a home, where it belongs.
Maybe I have the wrong word for what Grandma's buffet needs now. It's not stripping or refinishing. Maybe the word is redeeming. I am redeeming the old buffet as God has and continues to do for me.
Redeeming: to buy back, repurchase: to get or win back; to free from what distresses or harms: as to free from captivity by payment of ransom or to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental; to release from blame or debt, clear; to free from the consequences of sin; to change for the better, reform.