Butler's Pantry - Refinish & Rebuild

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Project by Pheirendt posted 05-27-2007 05:39 AM 2740 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The beautiful old-growth fir of the Butler’s Pantry in our 1908 home was hidden under several coats of paint, the counter was covered with old formica that was full of holes, and the hinges were sprung.

After hours of striping the many coats of paint, sanding, rebuilding the drawers and doors, replacing the hardware and some of the glass, we have a beautiful – very handy piece of built in furniture.

Here is a close up view

-- Paul, St Louis, MO,

11 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13794 posts in 4331 days

#1 posted 05-27-2007 05:42 AM

What a great pantry. Hard to imagine someone would paint it.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4373 days

#2 posted 05-27-2007 06:34 AM

Paul -

our refinished butler’s pantry is gorgous! I like the old growth fir.


View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4545 days

#3 posted 05-27-2007 01:13 PM

I’m glad you brought this beautiful wood out from under the paint and formica.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4395 days

#4 posted 05-27-2007 01:19 PM

oh my !!! BEAUTIFUL.

I think people decided to paint the wood as a sign of $$$$ and/or being “modern” in that era.

I’m glad to see that we are back to wood.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4480 days

#5 posted 05-27-2007 06:30 PM

Very nice redo. You must be quite handy. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View mot's profile


4922 posts in 4270 days

#6 posted 05-27-2007 06:43 PM

Excellent redo!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Karson's profile


35152 posts in 4634 days

#7 posted 05-28-2007 12:14 AM

Great job. I always like real wood in its natural state.

I had an Arts and Crafts house built in 1905 in St Louis. All of the oak woodwork was painted. And paint stripper wouldn’t cut it. So we did the next best thing. Our paint on top.

Looks great.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View dadefreese's profile


42 posts in 4255 days

#8 posted 05-28-2007 04:26 AM

Stripping paint is a beautiful thing. I’ve recently done some old (antique?) pieces that had multiple layers of white and powder blue paint that surely had lead levels beyond belief. Thankfully, the Peel-Away type of remover just made the stuff slough off in a slimy layer with just some easy scraping and without any dust whatsoever or other messy byproduct.

What product did you use for the removal? Then, what finish did you use to make it look so nice?


View Pheirendt's profile


32 posts in 4279 days

#9 posted 05-28-2007 06:24 AM

My wife is the great stripper – HA!

Seriously, she is extremely patient – here is her process:

1. She uses a heat gun and a 5-in-1 tool to remove the bulk of the paint – moving quickly to avoid burning the paint or the wood.
2. Liberally paint on chemical stripper – let it work for a few minutes
3. Use steel wool dipped in more chemical stripper to remove the paint/varnish/stain
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 several more times using a dental tool and/or an old toothbrush to remove residue from joints, details, and cracks

Be prepared to use a lot of stripper and steel wool

When she is done the wood is like glass, and looks fabulous whether it is the Old Growth Fir or the Quarter Sawn White Oak. We like the natural color variations of the fir, so we just varnish it. When I have to use new fir to repair or replace some trim we stain it to match the darker tone of the Old Growth Fir. On the 100 year old Quarter Sawn White Oak we use a Medium Walnut Tung Oil (hand rubbed) to get the warm tone we like. When I have to repair or replace the QSWO we stain it with a Dark Walnut Gel Stain and then sand the majority of the stain away and then use the hand rubbed Medium Walnut Tung Oil with several coats of varnish.

I will post a project or two showing the stripping process, and I will create a post of the QSWO staircase we disassembled, stripped and rebuilt (including 24 replicated balusters and 2 replicated newel posts.

-- Paul, St Louis, MO,

View Joel Tille's profile

Joel Tille

213 posts in 4478 days

#10 posted 07-17-2007 05:49 PM

Paul – Our household seems to work the same way, Susie has the best paitence for stripping. With paint she uses a carbide blade scraper, old finsh she uses a liquid stripper.

She doesn’t/ hasn’t used a heat gun; how well does that work?

The butler turned out beautifully. Lot of treasures out there waiting under paint for someone to release them. Glad to see you and your wife have the paitence to let the wood shine again. I will try your formula for QSWO, I have always struggled to get that right color to match the old wood when a repair is needed.

We like to go to auctions and pickup pieces that may ultimately end up on the burn pile and make something someone will cherish. I have posted a few here in past projects

-- Joel Tille

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4008 days

#11 posted 03-23-2008 08:19 PM

Very nicely done. It is so wonderful to see these pieces back to their original state.Thank you so much for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

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