If you are planning to buy or already bought some Victorian or classic furniture from an auction or a thrift shop you shouldn’t worry much about the dull varnish and ugly paint. The wood could still be extremely good and could be an really good addition to your home or office – especially since furniture nowadays are factory-made unlike old classic furniture that were made by hand with some of the most robust and finest material that were available back in the days. Even furniture that are only a couple years old might need reviving. Following are some simple DIY tips that can help restore your old furniture.
Safety first – you need protective goggles, dust mast, and latex gloves. Paint brush (fine-tipped), Epoxy putty, Petroleum jelly, sand paper 80 grit, 120 grit, sanding block (or an even piece of wood), stain or wood dye, and time — this could be time consuming process. You should probably choose a week-end or when you have ample free time.
1. General cleaning
First things first, you need to make sure that the furniture is clean with soap and water before you start renewing your furniture. Don’t raise your eyebrows, it is perfectly okay to clean your furniture with water and soap. You could use dish soap to clean the surface with gentle circular scrubbing. For hard to reach moldings use a brush or an old tooth brush. Once you have thoroughly cleaned the furniture get rid of soap with plain water and then dry the furniture with a clean piece of cloth or rag.
Sanding is a simple extraction process to smooth out the surface. This will fix all the major scratches, marks, fade and fix the patchy spots. Use a sanding block to evenly sand the wood if you don’t have a sanding block you can use an off-cut of wood to ensure that sanding is done evenly. You will have to keep sanding the wood until you are sure that the surface is free of old finish (e.g. varnish) and fixed all the scratches and uneven spots.
Note that there could be some scratches formed because of sanding, don’t worry about it even though it all seem counterproductive. This will be fixed with our second sanding process. Use your 120 grit sand paper to sand the wood further this will help get rid of small/minor scratches that were formed during 80 grit sanding.
3. Super glue repair
If your furniture had seen its days there could be some loose joints. Especially where the legs connect. If your furniture is wobbly, use super glue to make the joints strong. Make sure that the super glue or wood glue is squeezed deep inside the joint for better strength (more the glue, the better.) Also, ensure that the legs are in the correct angles – this could be easily checked and corrected using a set square quickly before the glue dries.
4. Replacing missing wood
Chipped wood or molding damage is quite common in old furniture. This could be easily fixed with epoxy putty. Apply the epoxy putty on the damaged area and smooth it with your finger. Use a metal ruler if you don’t have a straightedge razor to easily scrape the surface. Let it dry for a few hours and use sand paper to sand the surface to level it with the wood. The wood’s color will obviously be different from the epoxy area, but it will be fixed when finish is applied later.
Staining is the best way to bring back the looks of the furniture. The stain you are buying will usually come with instructions to apply and the method might slightly vary depending on the type of stain or wood dye used. Staining is also the best way to give a dark look to light colored wood. It will look brilliant especially on a dining and work desk with the right lighting with table lamp such found over at design55online.co.uk. You can also try old finishing methods like waxing, but it might not look that great and might require frequent waxing.