What a gem! It's no wonder we got it for $10. Of course, refinishing furniture is no light (or cheap) undertaking. While stripper and sandpaper add up, it's nothing compared to the cost of hardware. We were also faced with replacing the metal-and-glass inset between the two doors on the bottom. We lost track of what we spent restoring it, but in the end, the effort was well worth it.
The process isn't complicated - strip and sand - but it is labor- and time-intensive. Here, the top has been stripped, and Ron is in the process of stripping the base.
To do a quality job, the entire hutch had to be disassembled piece by piece. We then stripped, sanded, and stained each piece before reassembly.
This is a good example of how the right stain can really enhance the wood. In this picture, all but the shelf has been stained. You can see the difference when comparing the left edge of the shelf, which has been stained, and the middle of the shelf (unstained). Because it was such a large piece, we went with a light shade of stain.
The hardware was the last step in the process. Here, Ron adds the final touches.
There are a couple of things that deserve attention when viewing the final product. If you'll notice in the original pic, the back of the hutch was ribbed. It was actually a piece of paneling and wasn't ribbed on the back. Fortunately, it was in good shape and we were able to flip it around and use the flat side to face out.
If you remember, we noted that one of our obstacles was replacing the dated metal and glass piece between the two doors on the bottom. We had a hard time finding just the right thing - until we were in Home Depot one night. We ran across a shopping cart with a broken piece of textured Plexiglass in it (think covering for fluorescent lights). We found a salesman and literally asked, "What would you pay us to take this piece of trash out of the store?" We left with a free replacement window. Sometimes, it pays to ask.