Wooden furniture is timeless and hard-wearing, if you have a worn piece of wooden furniture you can revitalise it with a little bit of sanding and a lick of new stain. You could also find yourself a bargain by buying second hand furniture that you then intend to restore. This allows you to get top quality furniture at low prices and you get the satisfaction of furnishing your home with customised pieces that you have helped create.
How do I know if a piece of furniture is worth restoring?
Of course not all furniture can be restored, when looking to buy a piece of furniture or assessing one you already own, you need to look at what wood it is made from. If it is a good quality wood then it is worth restoring and should be easy enough to sand down. You can identify the wood by using the wood grain and as a rule solid pieces of furniture are easier to restore than non-solid pieces.
How do I clean the wood?
Before you begin sanding or stripping back the piece you need to clean off any build up of dirt, it is important to do this before sanding because what you believe is wear and tear could just be dirt. Used an commercial wood cleaner that will cut through dirt on the wood, apply it generously and allow it to soak for over an hour before removing with a cloth. This process can be repeated several times to remove a build up of dirt. If a wood cleaner doesn’t work you could use detergent and water or a solvent cleaner (mineral spirits or turpentine). Solvent cleaners can damage the finish so take care when working with them and work in a ventilated area.
How do I strip back wooden furniture?
The first step in restoring old wooden furniture is stripping back paint and varnish that is currently on the piece. Avoid using strippers and other chemicals, they may not work and they could damage the wood. If there are several layers of paint you can use paint stripper but never leave it on longer than advised and quickly wash it off afterwards. The best way of stripping back furniture is to sand it down, of course this will take time and energy but it is the best method of stripping the wood back. Once the wood has been stripped back you can do any leveling or repairs that need to be carried out on the chair. You should make sure once the main sanding is done that a finer sandpaper is used in corners and delicate areas.
How do I add a finish to the wood?
Before beginning you should have identified what the finish on the wood was, or at least what sort of finish you would like, this could involve a shellac, lacquer or varnish clear finish, or paint or enamel. Oil and wax can also be used as a finish that absorbs into the wood. Applying the finish to the wood is easy, read and follow the instructions on the stain’s tin and once finished apply furniture wax for another layer of protection. If you are also reupholstering the piece, do the woodwork before the fabric work.
Restoring wood is easy but it takes time and patience and if done wrong can ruin the value of a piece of furniture. It is a good way of getting high quality furniture at low prices and it allows you with just a bit of time and effort to turn an old, worn piece of furniture, into a beautiful, restored, masterpiece.