Refinished Chifferobe

This is a poplar (yellow tulip) chifferobe I purchased off of Craigslist for $40. I included some before and after photos. It was in sad shape. Much of the veneer was broken or coming off. My wife wanted me to add shelves inside. I began stripping off the old finish using liquid stripped and by sanding. I removed the old veneer by using a very hot steam iron and a putty knife. I ordered up the new veneer from and new hardware from Kennedy Hardware.

I built the new shelves using 1/2" poplar. I then began putting on the new veneer. I used 22 mil. paperback veneer and contact cement. If you have never replaced veneer spend $10 and get a veneer cutter and another $10 and purchase a scraper. They make the job much easier.

I then began applying the stain which is Minwax Aged Oak gel stain. I had a challenge with trying to match the stain. The old veneer was tough to match the stain with the new veneer. Father time adds his patina so I had to darken the stain. I used Minwax Jacobean stain. I think I got it too dark but since it is completed I like the contrast. I went ahead and purchased some 1/2" rope trim (poplar) and a poplar applique to add to the door. Since the mirror was broken I decided to go ahead and fabricate new back splashes for the chifferobe. I found these on Ebay. A gentleman had bought out these from an out of business pool table company. They are poplar and once I cut them down they really seemed to match. I will use the mirror frame for a later project to make a photo frame.

My wife and I had wanted to put this into our bedroom for extra storage. We didn't realize that we couldn't get it into the bedroom due to a narrow hallway. It ended up in the kitchen/dining room as a buffet. The funny thing was that it looks like it belongs there now.

The whole project cost me around $150 and took approximately 40 hours to complete.

Estimated Cost
Estimated Time Investment
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Type of Wood
Poplar (yellow tulip)
Finish Used
2-3 coats of Minwax aged oak gel stain. I used 2 coats of a mix of the aged oak and Minwax Jacobean liquid stain for the new veneer. I think I mixed it too dark.

I applied the stain with a brush. I wiped it down after 10-15 minutes using a cotton rag. I applied 3-5 coats of Minwax fast drying polyurethane and sanded with 320 grit sandpaper between coats.

When replacing veneer on parts of a project, remember that new veneer will stain differently than antique veneer. I have used a product called wood-ager in the past and it helps somewhat in matching color but it seems to cause air bubbles in the veneer. Those can be taken out with a hot, dry iron.
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