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Article Teaser: Restoring an old piece of wooden furniture can be an involved and tedious process, so it is important to determine what kind of work is truly necessary before you begin. An inexperienced do-it-yourselfer may look at a blemished piece of furniture and assume that it needs to be refinished, when in fact a touch-up may be just as effective (and a whole lot less time-consuming). In many cases, a thorough cleaning and waxing may be all it takes to turn that dull, worn-out table into a rich and lustrous centerpiece once more! Read this article to learn more....

Keep reading below...

How To Restore Old Wood Furniture

Copyright (c) 2010-2017

Restoring an old piece of wooden furniture can be an involved and tedious process, so it is important to determine what kind of work is truly necessary before you begin. An inexperienced do-it-yourselfer may look at a blemished piece of furniture and assume that it needs to be refinished, when in fact a touch-up may be just as effective (and a whole lot less time-consuming). In many cases, a thorough cleaning and waxing may be all it takes to turn that dull, worn-out table into a rich and lustrous centerpiece once more!

Cleaning the Furniture

Regardless of the level of restoration needed, it is important to carefully and properly clean your furniture. Even if you ultimately plan to refinish the piece, it is essential to remove the dirt, dust and oil that has built up over the years beforehand. If the furniture does not contain any surface scratches or cracks in the finish, you may even find that a thorough cleaning is all it takes to restore its beauty and luster, as dirt and grime can often give the illusion of worn-off finish.

An oil-based wood cleaner should be sufficient for the job and can be easily found in supermarkets or home improvement stores. When cleaning, it is important to use a soft cloth or sponge and to apply the cleaner evenly, using strokes that go with the grain. After application, allow the cleaner to dry for a couple hours before wiping it off with a new cloth. Please note that, depending on the state of your furniture, this process may need to be repeated several times.

If commercial wood cleaner doesn't do the trick, a solution of warm water and a little bit of liquid detergent or vegetable-based oil soap can be used. Just be sure to apply, rinse, and dry quickly, as you want to avoid water damage to the wood.

Once your furniture has been cleaned, you may decide that refinishing isn't necessary after all. If this is the case, it is recommended that you wax and buff the wood in order to protect the finish and give it a nice shine.

Retouching vs. Refinishing

If you decide that your wooden furniture is in need of more than just a thorough cleaning, you will need to determine whether you want to refinish the entire piece, or simply retouch sections of it. Here are some guidelines to help you figure out which option is appropriate:

Problems That Require Refinishing:

  • Deep cracks and gouges that go down to the wood

  • Dark spots in the wood beneath the finish that show through

  • The finish is oily or sticky, even after a thorough cleaning

  • The finish has flaked off in large patches

  • You wish to change the color of the furniture

  • Problems That Can Be Fixed By Retouching:

  • Shallow scratches or nicks in the finish

  • Cracking or crazing in the finish

  • Finish that has become discolored due to moisture

  • Retouching can save a lot of time by eliminating the need to refinish the entire piece, but remember that it only works for restoring damage to the finish itself. If a scratch or crack is deep enough to penetrate the wood, then your furniture will need to be refinished.

    Retouching

    There are many techniques for retouching the finish of wood furniture, depending on the type of problem you're dealing with.

    For finish that has been discolored by age, water damage, or prolonged exposure to humidity-known as "blushing" - it is recommended that you lightly rub the surface of the wood with No. 0000 steel wool that has been dipped in a vegetable-based oil such as linseed oil. This acts as an abrasive that removes the damaged top layer of the finish. It is important to rub slowly, lightly and evenly, so as not to cut through the finish entirely and down to the wood. Once the blushing has been removed, buff the surface with a hard furniture wax.

    If your finish has minor scratches or cracks, you can avoid refinishing the entire piece by using a retouching process known as reamalgamation. This is essentially a process whereby the original finish is turned back into a liquid, evenly redistributed over the wooden surface, and then allowed to dry. The chemical(s) used for reamalgamation depend on the type of finish your furniture has, so it is crucial to research this ahead of time. Please note that this process will only work on shellac or lacquer finishes-not on varnish.

    Refinishing

    If you find that the damage to your furniture is too deep to be repaired via retouching, refinishing may indeed be necessary. In order to give your piece a new finish, you will first have to remove the old one with a chemical stripper. The stripper should be generously applied to the furniture with a natural bristle paintbrush, as the chemicals will dissolve synthetic bristles. When working with powerful chemicals, it is necessary to use proper safety precautions, such as gloves and goggles, and to work outside if possible to avoid overexposure to strong fumes.

    After the original finish has been stripped, it is a good idea to sand down the wood. This will remove any remaining finish as well as ensure a smooth and even surface on which to apply the new stain or paint.

    The kind of stain you can use will vary depending on the type of wood you're working with, so it is important to ensure that the two are compatible. In addition to researching this information ahead of time, it may be a good idea to test your wood stain on a small, inconspicuous area of the furniture to see how it will look. If satisfied, you can then apply it to the entire piece.

    If you intend to paint your wooden furniture rather than stain it, it is best to use a glossy oil paint, as other types of paint will not adhere properly to the wood surface.


    About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Alycia Hartzell is a seasoned design professional with experience in both residential and commercial interior design. She writes for Domestic Modern - a leading retailer of modern rugs and designer collections such as Amy Butler Rugs. Learn more at: http://www.domesticmodern.com/

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    Internal ID: #7319
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    Total Views: 6786

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