Self-Served “Server” – DIY

Hi Guys!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

My weekend was pretty relaxing since I spent the majority of it recovering from an insane workout I did Friday evening. I’d love to elaborate, but I’d like to dedicate an entire post to the workout…maybe later this week.

I ended the weekend like most Americans…watching the Super Bowl. Did you guys enjoy the halftime performance as much as I did? Unless our New Orleans Saints are a contender for the Super Bowl, I honestly watch the epic game only to watch the halftime performance each year. I’m a such a sucker for great entertainment and Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers did not disappoint. Let me not forget to mention the few tears I shed when they showed the dedications from the military men and women.

During our “sneaux days” last week, Brett was able to finish one of the projects he’s been working on recently and tonight he’ll take you guys through his step-by-step process. I’ll let him wrap up this post, so I wish you all a fantastic week!

Self-Served “Server”

Hey guys, Brett here. Celina’s grandparents gave us an old, Garrison Furniture “server” that needed a little love. The picture below does not show it, but the existing finish was in bad shape and quite outdated. At first, I didn’t know how I would refinish this piece, but ultimately decided to go with a country style, distressed look with natural wood top. The piece came to us with a reddish, light walnut finish and the bottom base, which was plywood had rotted and was splintering. I decided to remove the bottom shelving by pulling all the staples that held it in place.

Here’s a before picture:


The first step to any project that includes hardware, drawers, and/or doors is to remove these parts. I like to keep a zip-lock bag handy to store all my handles, hinges, screws, and nails for safe keeping. If you are going to keep the original hardware for the project, it is very important that you do not lose any of piece’s parts.


I wanted to expose the natural wood top so I began by applying a liquid paste stripper to it and allowed the stripper to set as directed. After 15 minutes, I used a flat edged scraper to remove the bulk of the existing finish. I then applied another coat of the stripper, allowed to set, then removed the remaining finish with 3M stripper pads. After all of the previous finish was removed, I used my sanding block with a fine grit (320) to even up the wood surface.


Next, I applied one coat of MinWax Dark Walnut stain as directed.


I allowed the top to dry 12+ hours after stain was applied. I then rubbed the top surface with two coats of Watco Danish Oil (shown in following picture). The danish oil hardens the wood, providing a layer of protection while maintaining the raw, natural look of the wood.


Remember that the bottom had rotted out? Well, I cut a sheet of oak wood paneling, rubbed it with two coats of the Watco Danish Oil and secured it to the piece with wood screws from the bottom.


While the bottom was drying, I applied one coat of 1-2-3 Bulls Eye Primer to the body, drawers, and doors. After the primer dried, I applied two coats of latex paint in a satin finish.


This is the step where the piece becomes a work of art. I have had lots of practice distressing pieces with stained glaze, but it can be intimidating to a beginner. Have no fear! I found insight from this YouTube video during my first attempt (which my first attempt looked as good as the projects I put out today). Glaze has an increased dry time which allows you extra time to work the finish to your liking. So, take your time!

I don’t have an exact measurement of how I mix my glaze and stain, but I would have to guess that I keep it around 10 parts glaze to one part stain. I apply the stained glaze heavily in order for it to get into the depressions of the molding and edges. I then allow the stained glaze to sit for a few minutes then remove the majority of it with a clean paper towel. Do not use too much pressure while wiping over the depressions and edges…you’ll want to keep a heavy bead of stained glaze there to give it distinct lines. I then used that same paper towel to work the finish in a linear pattern, achieving a wood grain appearance.


After the stained glaze was applied, I let it dry (12+hours) then applied three coats of MinWax’s oil based clear satin finish polyurethane for protection and shine.

Here is a side-by-side look at a glazed and painted door.DSC03462

I decided towards the end of the project that I could not continue redoing this piece without redoing one of its drawers. The drawer came to us with a black, velvet lined bottom that had attracted years of debris and had also started to pull apart. I decided to remove the base of the drawer, scraped the velvet away, replaced the base, and installed pine planks to give it an old fashioned, country look. I then rubbed the planks with the same Watco Danish Oil I used on the top and bottom shelf.



After the polyurethane has dried, it is time to grab your zip-lock bag of hardware and re-install all handles, hinges, doors, and drawers. I also always sign my furniture with name, date, location, and a little message.




Project Complete!

That’s it! You did it! Simple as that!

I turned this broken down, outdated piece of furniture into a durable, modern work of art that will last a lifetime…or two…or three.


I welcome your comments! Positive, negative, informative, or seeking guidance. Talk to us! We want to hear what you think.


2 thoughts on “Self-Served “Server” – DIY

  1. Paul & Penny Allemand

    Looks great, are you planning to keep the new piece or sell it? Looks like one of your best efforts!
    Paul and Penny



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