A new client sent us some photos of a very old church wine cabinet with the interest of having it restored. We absolutely loved the piece and immediately agreed to take it on.
I knew it needed some repair before it could be refinished and was looking forward to getting into the shop.
Arriving in several pieces, it was quite the puzzle, and having so many parts and an unusual design, I was excited to get to the business of solving it.
I nicknamed it “The Bishop” as I removed and packed up the intricate hardware.
I began by piecing it together. It was kinda tricky because I’d never seen a cabinet like it before. Thanks to the original client photo and trial and error, I figured it out.
The two doors had hidden hinges that were set into the cabinet’s rails. (The top and bottom trim around the opening) The door that was removed was damaged from being forcibly opened sometime in the past, which meant I had to remove the bottom and the other door.
In other words, I took it completely apart, LOL!!!
Then I set about the task of gluing and clamping all of the damaged pieces.
Having repaired everything, I took the opportunity to clean it thoroughly inside and out with TSP (sugar soap for our Irish/UK friends).
Once it was clean, I began the tedious process of putting it back together. Fortunately, all of the hardware was there so I didn’t have to track down any obscure pieces.
Putting the doors on proved really tricky as I had to glue the bottom back on, which had big dovetails to line and glue up, while inserting the top and bottom hinges of both doors into their holes.
But, I prevailed!
You can see from the above photo some pearl moulding on either side of the door. Then notice that the left side is significantly shorter than the right. So I started searching for a replacement.
I found nothing even close.
Our client had the great suggestion of cutting the right to match the left, but I thought I’d give a go at carving a new piece.
I ripped a dowel of the proper thickness in half with the band saw and went from there.
I used SEVERAL different tools and eventually got a close match.
Once this was attached, I took it over to the studio for LeAnn to start refinishing it.
Everything went great until it came to the flat top of the cabinet. It wouldn’t take much stain, and the clear polyurethane finish would form spots in the finish.
At some point in the past, I think hot candle wax soaked into the wood grain causing new finishes to not penetrate, so LeAnn stripped it, sanded it, and started over. But again, it did the same thing.
SO, she stripped it AGAIN and sanded it AGAIN.
Then she tried the stain and poly in one because that stuff goes on like paint…BUT, it did the same thing.
So, she stripped and sanded it again, but this time she put the stain on really thick and let it dry. She did this a couple times to get the color right, then she sealed it with a water based poly finish. That did the trick!!
She did an AMAZING job with it!!!!
Lastly, since it was missing the original mirror, we had a new beveled one made to fit and attached it. I’m so glad our client paid the extra for the beveled mirror, because it totally made the piece perfect!!!
We were really pleased with how this amazing piece of history turned out and we’re so glad our client trusted us to save it for her.
I hope you enjoyed this restoration and thank you so much for stopping by to have a read!!!