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Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Posted by woodsy1 (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 8, 11 at 8:28

I have been communicating with the seller of this seemingly gorgeous glass door bookcase.
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Now for the fun. I asked her to send me pictures of any damage. There is a crack in the top that she says is barely noticeable(??), as well as a missing foot (?!).
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Normally I would go look for myself, but there are issues in addition to the damage. The seller is a mere 2 1/2 hours away, and the piece is huge (76"W x 54"H x 18"D) which means borrowing/renting a truck. I would want to be pretty certain I'm buying before I make the drive.

She says the finish only needs a "good oiling" as it's been sitting in her son's barn. When I asked about shelves, she said they're "both glass and wood", whatever that means. There is no hardware, and when I asked her if there should be the answer I got was "the doors work fine without". She's elderly and hard to understand on the phone.

The asking price is $250.00. She says she was an antique dealer, so I don't know if talking her down is an option. Does it appear to be worth it? Would it be my worst nightmare? I need a piece like this to hold my china collections, and they don't come available often. I should also say that DH and I are experienced in woodworking, so fabricating a new foot would not be a problem. I suppose that what has me flummoxed is the crack in the top.

Thanks in advance for your critique!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

It appears to be lovely....from what I see....LOL! But $250? For a piece that has been stored in a barn????
I think it's just what you are looking for....but....for $250?
How did you find out about it? did she advertise it? Craig's list?
I'd borrow a truck or a van and go offer her $150...unless when you see it it's finer than is shows. If you don't like it and she won't budge on the price...come home.
It's nice, but I think she wants too much money for something that has issues like a missing foot, crack in the top and maybe shelves....maybe not.
Linda C


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Lindac, thanks for your reply! It is hard to see, isn't it?

I saw the ad on Craigslist. As far as I know, I'm the only interested party. She may be 2 1/2 hours from me, but she's 3 1/2 hours from the city. So there's that.

I agree that $250 is too much, but I'm a cheapskate. That's why I wanted opinions. I will probably make the drive to satisfy my curiosity if nothing else. $150 is more in the ballpark. We shall see if she's willing to dicker. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm working her. She wants the piece to go to someone who will love it (her words). So far she likes me! LOL!!!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Well..."love it"....but be dismayed at the condition...mutter about how it needs a new foot....and how much it will cost to get it replaced....wonder aloud how that crack could be fixed....deplore the missing hardware....askw here's the key...
then say you love it but don't feel you can offer more than $150 considering how much it will take to put it back into the condition she knows it should be in...
Tell her when you get it fixed you will send pictures!!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Lindac, you crack me up! Yes, I can mutter with the best of them. And DH? He says a lot of I don't know...and that's a lot of money...that sort of man stuff. All while he wants it as much as I do. Should be a fun way to spend a Saturday! LOL!!!

I sent her a picture of the room it will go in. She says I MUST own it. I'm shameless!!!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

I don't like the look of that "crack". It looks like something that could get very much worse if it got snagged somehow. Otherwise, replacing a foot is doable, you might have something you're really happy with (but expect to do more than "oil" it to get it looking happy again.
Go see it but don't pay $250. That crack also has a broken piece and I bet it can't be repaired.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

I quite like it, but I'd bargain like mad. It's a useful size and I like that it's not all carved and gussied up with new hardware. Offer $125.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

First let me say that I'd be reluctant to discuss purchase strategies on a forum the seller or someone close to her might visit... just sayin'.

I wouldn't be ashamed to pay $200 or even $250 for this, assuming it's a nice barn.

You pay as much for rarity as you do for condition, and even the crack looks fixable to me. This is an unusual piece.

My question to myself is always, if I decide tomorrow to sell it, could I see myself asking what I'm paying? If yes, the price is fair. Sometimes I pay more, but with reason - say, convenient timing, immediate need, or something.

I kind of think $125 would be robbery. If she was asking that obviously you wouldn't complain, but talking someone down to it is another thing.

Karin L


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Good point karinl; the seller could be one of us or someone lurking! LOL That would be MY luck.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

You said she was "elderly" and hard to understand.....not likely she's looking on the net at a forum.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

On the plus side, it looks like mahogany in an Empire Revival style. I have a similar one & it's built like a tank & perfect for china. Mine has a thick top so it may not be comparable, but the piece is tall enough that the top really isn't that much of a big deal. I'd go to $200 & make sure you have at least 2 burly guys with you to load it.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Personally, I would take a pass. Stored in a barn for how long?... hardware issues (not that big of a deal)... why aren't the shelves pictured?, the top splinter is going to need a good burn job... foot replacement... refinish job... travel and truck rental expenses...

All told, it could easily nickel and dime you into a price range that isn't too attractive unless you're just in love with it. If so, then it would make a real nice effort of love :-)


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

How old did you say you were, Linda :-)
Not really asking, but my mother, who is 80, is on the computer, and I know a very web-savvy guy who's 90 or so. Even if she isn't on the 'net, I'm sure anyone who knows her knows the piece.

Karin L


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Annie1971, the crack is the thing that most concerns me. I know I'll have some work to do on the finish. How much remains to be seen.

Karin1, I'm not too concerned about discussing the fair price of a piece here on the forum. I came to ask for opinions, that is all. I'm grateful for the advice I have received.

Antiquesilver, thanks for the ID! I expect the piece to be heavy as all get-out. My SILs are HUGE...and they owe me!

Mikk, I have read many of your posts on this forum and have learned a thing or two. So, thank you for that. I'm not interested in restoring the piece to like-new condition. For me to strip and refinish a piece means there is no other option. I like my vintage and antique pieces to look worn, yet loved and cared for. Kinda like me! LOL!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Let us know what transpires! Frankly, if I were close by and had a chance, I'd go for it. Have a good trip and send pictures!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

I sure will! All concerns aside, I'm pretty jazzed about it!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Now Karen...I ain't no spring chicken....and most of the people I know who are my age and 10 years younger have no idea how to do much "computing" other than email and how to check their holdings on yahoo!
To settle your mind on a fair price, think what you might pay if the leg were repaired and the crack fixed, the hardware were all there and it was polished and dusted. Then think what it will cost to get it like that....and value your own time. That ought to give you a fair price.
Oh and wrap the doors carefully when you transport it.....don't want to break the old glass...;)


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

I'll decide a fair price when I see the piece. I don't worry about the value of my time so much, as I love refurbishing old furniture. The joy I get from that is payment enough.

Don't be concerned about the wavy glass. I have an arsenal of moving blankets and old comforters. I could wrap a roomful of furniture!

I have contacted the seller to set up a time for tomorrow. I'll keep you all posted!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase?? Help me decide!

THIS JUST IN!!!

I spoke with the seller to set up a time to meet tomorrow. She said she hoped she had time to find the shelves before then. Says they got put somewhere in the move and were probably in one of the four storage units. WHAT???

I told her I wouldn't make the drive unless I could have the shelves at the same time. I explained that the next 2 weekends were out due to other plans. She is willing to wait 3 weeks for us to get there. So wait we will.

I have to wonder what I have gotten myself into!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

The longer you have to wait and the more inconvenient it is for you.....the cheaper the selling price! That's the rule....don't forget!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

I can't wait! Really was looking forward to your seeing it and maybe getting it home!! I'm wondering what's in those other storage units!! Take those big bruiser grandsons with you. Take care and stay in touch.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

It if fits your need, you don't mind a little DIY elbow grease, and it tickles your heart strings... then by all means! $175-200 isn't at all out of line. I think you are right about the shelves though. Without them it could tack a pretty penny onto the piece to have them fabricated and would never truly "match up" with the piece overall.

One thing to remember about the net talk is that it was originally found on craigslist. She's either computer savy "enough", or has someone helping her. Odds are still against her running across this thread, but age really shouldn't be a disqualifier for net savy. Shame shame lol

Really DO have to love the natural coloration.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

The longer you have to wait and the more inconvenient it is for you.....the cheaper the selling price! That's the rule....don't forget!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Ask her to send you a photo or two of the shelves that are "both glass and wood." That response certainly implies these are available but just not om pics semt or posted. Photos are not hard to take and send via email. Negiotiate on price based on missing hardware. Even tho doors work fine without them they would likely work much better with them (and avoid fingermarks on finish). Good luck.

Also regarding managing the heavy piece if you decide to purchse it: So you would bring your HUGE sisters-in-law along to help? hmmm


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Lindac...long wait + inconvenience = lower price. Got it!

Annie1971, You think YOU can't wait? LOL

Mikk, we can fabricate shelves if need be. The price will have to come down, because as you know, mahogany doesn't come cheap, nor does glass. And yes, I DO love the natural coloration. My nic ain't Woodsy because I like paint!

Lindac, still got it! ;)

Gininmn, she has 2 sets of shelves, glass and wood. I got her to clarify that. And although my sister-in-law is pretty strong, my SONS-in-law are huge. I've got it covered!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Just a note if you're going to (strip and) refinish your new piece. Although I can't see the crack all that well, if you strip the top you might make the crack more serious. Since this is not a restoration, you might think about repairing it by completely (and carefully) separating the wood at the crack and then re-gluing it before applying finish. It looks as though there is a sizable piece missing; either let it go or affix a "Dutchman" to the piece. Applying stripping compounds often dissolve glue or make pieces difficult to re-glue, or in this case glue for the first time. Good luck with it.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

"My nic ain't Woodsy because I like paint!"

Your stock just went up 10 points :-) Hope it works out well and would LOVE to see a follow-up! Got a lot to work with there and has the potential to be quite a spectacular piece.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

RRMI, I think that would be true of stripping products that you have to clean up with solvent or water, but can be avoided. I use a stripper called EZ Way that requires no additional clean-up. I think Kutzit (sp?) might be similar.

KarinL


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Karin, My fault I wasn't clear. My point is that if you glue the split before you strip, it is impossible to get glue to all surfaces of the crack without splitting the crack all of the way through. If you then strip, there will be voids which can accept stripper which will weaken or dissolve the glue joint. If you strip before you fix the crack, the inner surface of the crack will absorb stripper and affect the integrity of the glue joint unless you neutralize the stripper before gluing. Even environmentally neutral strippers will impact glue joints. Flooding with methanol ("wood alcohol") is best to alleviate that. If you glue without separating the wood entirely, glue will not penetrate adequately to the point of origin of the crack and thereby weaken or, in some cases, initiate further cracking. I'll butt out now and leave you to it. You'll have to excuse me; I'm a chemist who has been doing woodworking for over 40 years and can't help butting in.
Richard


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Before you purchase it, check to see how it is put together--that is nail/dovetailed/glued etc. Do the doors match the sides and back and underneath =that is type of wood used. Can you look for a name who made it. Recently many reproductions are showing up on Antique Road Show, make in China, but treated to appear to be old even finish.
Just a thought


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Mikk, it's good to know that at least ONE of my stocks is going up!

RRM1 and Karen1, thanks for adding your discussion. It's very helpful.

Marie-ndcal, I always check out pieces thoroughly before handing over my hard-earned cash. Thanks for the caveat!

Interesting thing happened over the weekend. I got an e-mail from the seller saying that she had checked everywhere and didn't find the shelves. None of them. Said they must still be back in the state she moved from, and they would be visiting there next month. I replied back that I would wait until they returned. Why did she list this thing without all of the bits and baubles???

Am I crazy thinking that this has become sort of a comedy? Rhetorical question, no need to answer. I feel like I have to see this through, even though I may never purchase this piece. I must need more excitement in my life!!!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Well....no shelves equals even cheaper price....
Thinkin' maybe $100 and you have some glass cut to fit.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Lindac, I'm thinkin' the same thing. I plan to go to my glass guy with rough measurements and get a ballpark price for the glass. Definitely gonna deduct that!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

We're driving out today to check this baby out. Finally.

She hasn't located the shelves, either locally or up north. I have the estimate from the glass guy in hand, so there will be some negotiating. Wish me luck!

I'll report back tonight!!!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Can't wait! Should be yours for about $100!!
Linda C


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase?? Help me decide!

What a lovely day for a drive! We rescued the poor thing from the barn. Linda, you were right on the money as far as the worth. It's a little rougher than the seller described, but not too bad overall. It's filthy! I'll clean it tomorrow, then decide the best course of bringing it back to glory.

I took a couple of quickie pics for you. Maybe you'll see my obsession! Here it is on the wall:

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A shot of the room. It's still in progress. We need to finish the trim, and the draperies are waiting for me to sew them, but I'll share anyway!

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Feel free to check out the album of the remodel. DH is VERY proud of his floor!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

And so he should be! The piece is perfect with it, as it doesn't over-compete but has enough presence to match the floor. Gorgeous room.

Karin L


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Kind of fits the space doesn't it? I hadn't noticed the "Empire-ish" styling...appears older that I thought.
And the floor is drop dead gorgeous! Tell the story on that? Where did he get the wood for that pattern? or did he restore an old floor?
$100 eh? Plus the cost of the truck and gas....plus glass for the shelves, plus finish and wood for the foot.....and rubbing compound and...at least another $100 for the anguish of the wait....
I'd say that's a $1000 piece!


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

Karinl, thank you! Sometimes you see a piece and you just KNOW it's the one. That's what happened here. With the cabinet, and with DH!

Lindac, how old do you think it is? It would be fun to know. I'm feeling really good about this purchase. I'm anxious to git 'er done!

The floor. I come up with crazy ideas and DH always says "we can do that". I was apprehensive about putting a rug in the room because the doors are our only access to the back yard. Four grandsons and muddy feet...you get the picture. I have always loved inlaid floors, so we thought a wood rug was the way to go. The design came out of the scary place I call my brain. Drew it up in Auto Cad with a detailed measured plan. The natural oak is the flooring we installed in the rest of the downstairs rooms. Off we went to Lumber Liquidators with a piece of it. We first had to find something that the tongues and grooves fit together correctly. We settled on the teak because it fit, we liked the color, and there were only 3 boxes left so we got it for a song! It was important to me that the contrasting wood be real as opposed to stained in the event we ever have to refinish the floor. Don't want to lose the contrast!

DH cut every little piece to fit. He then routed grooves into the cut ends and inserted splines where tongues were needed. It all went together like a giant puzzle. Not bad for prefinished hardwood flooring!

Sorry for the novel. Aren't you glad you asked?


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

I'd need to see construction details to give any real estimate of age....but those bowed out end posts say "Civil War-ish" to me...or perhaps earlier.
What's the wood?
Love the floor story! 40 years later I still occasionally mourn an inlaid floor in an old salvage house that would have been mine for the taking....but DH didn't think mush of it....we weren't building....no plans to remodel.....so it went to the dozer.


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RE: Should I buy this bookcase? Help me decide!

It's absolutely perfect for the space especially on that gorgeous floor! If it looks this good now, can't wait to see it cleaned up.


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