China cabinet

CatMagnetAugust 15, 2011


I am considering this china cabinet for my stemware. I'm not familiar with this type of furniture and was wondering if it seems like a fair price.

I'm not looking for an investment piece or anything, just don't want to get ripped off. I know the photos are a bit limited and I'm assuming that the wood description is accurate (haven't been to see it yet). Don't know if the age is correct but that's not overly important except that I don't want it to be a newer piece.


Here is a link that might be useful: cabinet

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Doesn't look like youa re getting ripped off to me.....that's a nice piece.
When you go to look at it, check for how sturdy the legs are if the hinges ob the door are furn....look for broken pieces etc.
I don't see "leaded glass"....but other wise the price isn't too bad. If it's as good as it looks in the's a good buy for $275....but ask if he can take $250!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 9:40PM
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Thanks, Linda! I was hoping you would respond. :-)

I'll go and check it out tomorrow; I appreciate the tips! I guess "ripped off" was an unfair choice of words as I have no reason to believe this shop operates that way. I just don't know what this type of piece would typically run so I thought I'd ask here.

I was hoping it was a decent buy and I'm glad to hear that it is, assuming it's in good shape. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 9:52PM
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I'm pretty sure the ad meant Leaded glass (where lead oxide is added to glass in order to block UV radiation), not to be confused with leaded glass panels (where lead is used to join smaller pieces of glass into panels).

$275 seems reasonable for a cabinet of that size. It doesn't seem to have any of the "bells and whistles" you might like to see in a case like that (locks, lights, glass shelves...), but if you're looking for simple, elegant, and reasonable, it's a nice looking cabinet.

I don't know if it's just something in the reflection, but I would take a close look at the discoloration on the top in the bottom right hand corner photo.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Sure never heard of a china cupboard that had lead crystal glass to block UV rays. I know lead is added to glass or plastic to block radiation form the technician in an X-ray facility....but never heard of that use in a china cabinet.
When you look at it check to be sure there is no lifted veneer or places on the side near the bottom where there are breaks in the wood. Not saying you shouldn't buy it if you find these things, but you should ask for a reduced price.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 10:34AM
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I understand what Mikk is trying to say. I had the same initial reaction as Linda.......that's not leaded glass. True, because leaded glass is the term we now use to mean set in lead like stained glass. But that doesn't mean it isn't lead glass as in lead crystal. Lead glass is an whole different term just meaning a type of glass (like in crystal) where lead is added and it increases the brilliance or refractive index. It could very well be lead glass.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 11:13AM
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Thanks, everyone! I'm going to look at it after work today. I'll review what you told me to check out on the piece. Mikk, I do see what you mean about the discoloration. Hopefully it's just an artifact on the image and not on the wood. Though I wouldn't mind a bit of damage because 1) I'd rather pay less and 2) I won't be too upset when I inevitably scratch or ding it myself in the future. lol

I did want something simple since I'll be storing/displaying my stemware - mostly mismatched pieces and partial sets that I've picked up from tag sales and thrift stores. Figured this would be perfect.

As always, I appreciate the help on this forum. GWers are really a great resource. :-)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:12PM
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Good luck. It's a pretty piece and doesn't look 'newer'. It's not too unusual to see a little light spot on a shelf of a china cupboard. Can happen from putting away a piece of china with some dampness on it. I did it to my own cabinet and sometimes just a wipe across it with an oiled cloth can make it much less noticeable. I wouldn't flinch at that price, although sellers will usually factor in just a bit of wiggle room. You may get it down a few dollars by asking.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 4:51PM
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Well, I went to look at it and the "spot" on top is actually the veneer "bubbled up" and it's about 3 or 4 inches across. It's in a place that's not easily covered up by a decorative piece.

I'll keep looking since I don't think I'll get it any cheaper. It's a consignment piece and the store owner said he had to talk the woman down below $300. I asked him to keep me in mind if she would consider a lower price in the future. He already has pieces for sale displayed inside the cabinet, so I'm sure he'll be happy enough keeping it until it sells. lol

I'll keep this thread handy while I continue my search though!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 7:04PM
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Bubbled veneer can be fixed...pretty well you take a hypodermic needs and squirt a small amount of glue into the bubble....and place a weight on it....but lots can go wrong!
But that's a major fault....!
Wasn't meant to be yours.....

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 7:38PM
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That's actually a really easy fix if it's just loosened veneer. Kinda looked like it might have been some water lift from a live plant overwater. Depending on the core... particle board would be a deal breaker... but if it's just a ply and lifted veneer... a small bore drill bit... a syringe... some wood glue... and a couple of clamps would set things right.

Any chance you snapped a close-up?

The main concern I had was the possibility of wood rot in a ply due to water exposure.

I was guessing the "solid's and veneers" to mean solid posts and legs.. veneer shelves (with solid front casings), top pieces and bottom.

From the photos.. it looked to have a bit more solids. Veneer shelves are one thing.. but top and bottom veneer pieces I probably would have tried to pick up more around the $175 range. Of course.. you always have to watch out for the "pledge appeal" (yes, the furniture polish). Tends to deepen the woods, hides blemishes, and can be deceiving.

You seem to have a good head about you, though. A bargain is sometimes a bargain... and sometimes, if it seems too good to be true..... :-)

If you're willing to go the extra mile and put a little elbow grease in, you might leave a $150 offer for the owner to discuss with the consignee. You might be surprised what offer a consignee might accept after 45 days. :-) The shop owner would undoubtedly be looking to clear his/her square footage and might be a better friend than foe as the days wane on :-)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 8:00PM
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(Now that the topic is refreshed)

Yeah.. what she said.. lol

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 8:11PM
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I think that's an awesome piece. I would, however, agree with doing a bit of haggling, sometimes best done by applying tincture of time to the seller, and do some price research in the meantime. Of course, you do risk losing it - you have to be prepared to see that happen - you have to want to get it cheaper or not at all.

Wander your local antique stores or browse on line - the nice thing about craigslist is you can browse any city you want - for display cabinets to observe prices. This price is not bad and the piece is unusual in its size and that it looks really solid. Many of these display cases are quite rickety with thin glass. Myself, I would overlook a veneer flaw in making a purchase decision; that would never be a deal breaker for me. Remember a store price is legitimately higher than private, often double, because of the store's service to both buyers and sellers.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 1:02PM
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By the way... if I were repairing veneer, I wouldn't rely on one hole to let both the air out and the glue in. Seems to me that a slice along the grain with a knife would give you more control, or at the very least, a place to push air out that is opposite where you are pushing glue in.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 4:54PM
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Karinl makes some good points. It's helpful to remember that in retail sales, it's all about $ turnover per square foot of retail space. Ie., making $5 per square foot of retail space every 2 days sure beats the heck out of sitting on a $50 profit per square in 90 days. KWIM?

TIME and offer determines demand. You have some amount of leverage.

Lifted veneer wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, but if the core is particle board (probably a newer item made to look antique) then I would pass. Setting a loose veneer is easy enough, but trying to remove, sand down a moisture bloated section of particle board, then spot replace a section of veneer and match the finish is really time consuming... and... nearly impossible to blend without replacing the entire surface skin.

Where it seems to be located though, reading the intentions and needs of the OP... If you could haggle a bargain price, I wouldn't see anything wrong with using a draped ivy in a wicker to cover the spot and just call it good. :-)

Despite it's flaws, and from the limited photos, what is "right" about the piece is sure more appealing than one of those faux pas plastic jobbies from costco for $499. KWIM?

Certainly never hurts to shop around or play your "time" card though :-)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 1:18AM
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Thanks for the additional replies. The lifted veneer is a pretty big spot and looks way worse in person than it does in the photo. And the posts here on how to fix it are way above my skill level. lol

I think if it was closer to the back of the piece, I'd be more inclined to take it. It's just too noticeable for my tastes. It doesn't have to be perfect (and there was some other, minimal damage in the front that didn't bother me as much); I actually prefer "not perfect" because my main purpose is getting some interesting quality furniture for a price that is so much less than buying something brand new. (New, quality furniture would be way out of my price range, lol.)

I don't think haggling would work because the consignment shop owner had to talk the owner of the piece DOWN in price to what he thought would be more reasonable. lol Though I expect to pay a higher price than I would buying directly from an owner, this shop actually seems very reasonable - both in price and honesty. He was the one who pointed out all the different spots of damage to us right away.

I did let him know that if the owner of the piece is willing to lower the price eventually - if it doesn't sell - then I'll keep an eye out on craigslist. I think he's quite happy keeping it as a display piece for other things he is selling so I'm sure he won't be too upset if it doesn't sell right away.

This was quite an interesting thread, much more information than I expected so I thank you! I've learned a lot. :-)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 1:44PM
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