Have you ever been looking at a piece of furniture and wondering if it was good enough to flip? I am going to tell you how I make that decision! And sometimes, it just depends on how much work/time you want to devote to the piece.
In the beginning, I would buy just about any piece of crap as long as it was real wood! I don’t do that much anymore. Sometimes it is worth it to pay up a little and save yourself the headache.
I try to stay away from particleboard. I have done a hutch or two that was made out of it, and it was fine. I honestly didn’t realize it was particleboard until after I got it home. If I have that much trouble figuring it out, then I’m not afraid to go with it. But when you can see the particleboard disintegrating and crumbling everywhere, keep walking!
One thing I forgot to check for the longest time was all around the bottom of a piece. Sometimes the piece has been stored in a garage or basement and has been soaking up moisture from the bottom and sometimes the piece is still ok. But other times the legs are rotting. If you can cut the legs a little shorter and get rid of the rotten part, then go for it. If the rot goes too high up, you may still be able to salvage it, if it didn’t get to the mainframe. Can you remove the legs entirely? And add new legs? Or ball feet?
Sometimes the moisture will warp the sides of the piece. Especially if it has veneer. In my experience, it is best to walk away if that is the case. I don’t know of a way to fix that other than taking that panel out and replacing it, and that is not in my job description!
If the sides are ok, but the back is all warped, you can still be in the game. Just pop the back off and replace it. I usually use luan from the lumber yard for this. Just use the old piece to measure or trace onto the new material. And If it is the back to a hutch, I have covered those with fabric before with beautiful results!
Sticky drawers…not a deal-breaker. This could be for different reasons. Is it in a damp area? If it sits on a heat duct or just in your house for a while, and gets to completely dry out, it may shrink back and fit fine again. It’s incredible how much humidity can wreak havoc on these pieces sometimes. And sometimes you have to sand down the area where it is sticking or shave a little bit off or rub some soap or wax on it to get them moving well again.
If the top is shot, like busted up, warped, and beyond repair…all may not be lost. If you can pry off the top easily, that may be the answer. You can get pieces at places like Menards in sizes like 18”x48” that you could replace the bad top with. They come in several sizes. Or, you could put on a couple 1×12’’s, or whatever size you needed.
Is the top completely stained with markers and gross to look at? Not a problem. Just use a good stain blocker like Dixie Belle’s Boss before you paint to keep the stains from bleeding back through.
Those are all the scenarios off the top off my head! I’m sure there are more, but this gives you plenty to think about and look for!