Restoring Old Wood Furniture in 8 Steps

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Wooden furniture often suffers from neglect and overuse, leading to damage, dirt, faded colour, and a generally dull appearance. However, this does not mean that it is time to say goodbye to furniture which is completely functional. Wooden furniture often holds a lot of sentimental value for us, especially if it has been in the family for a long time, and it could hold some value if we are hoping to sell it on to a new home. But how do we restore its former glory? This article guides you through the eight steps involved in restoring old wooden furniture.

Get a restoration kit

To restore old wooden furniture, you will need a range of products, fittings, and tools. This might include gloves, a mask and overalls (or some old clothes you do not mind spoiling), paintbrushes, chemical stripper, wax/polish remover, steel wool, a sanding block, wood stain, finishing oil, lacquer or wax polish, tack cloth and lint-free cloth. You might also want to get new fittings and fasteners if needed. Tradefix Direct have a wide range of supplies for your project.

Strip the wood of chemicals

It is essential to strip furniture of the chemicals which have been applied in the past by applying the stripper with a brush. It can be messy and involves chemical fumes, so it is often best to work outside. If you cannot work outside, your work area should be well ventilated, and floors should be protected. Leave the stripper on for up to 30 minutes or until the old chemicals have dissolved. Find out more about the best strippers for wood.

Neutralise the stripper

Depending on the stripper you have used, you will need to use a different neutralising chemical. Soak steel wool in the neutralising chemical (such as white spirit and polish remover) and use it with the grain of the wood to neutralise the stripper.

Wipe off the residue

With clean cotton cloths you need to wipe off any residual chemicals. Applying wax remover to a coarse cloth and working it over a small area at a time will remove dirt and old polish.

Smooth the wood

After 24 hours you can smooth the wood with a sanding block and glass paper. This will get rid of the wood fibres which have been roughened during the stripping stage. Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of as much dust as possible and wipe it down with a tack cloth.

Tend to any bleached areas

Old furniture which has been well used and/or sitting in the sun is likely to have areas which have faded in colour over time. You can restore the colour by applying wood stain if the shade matches the rest of the furniture.

Apply finishing oil

When the wood stain has dried, you can apply the finishing oil using a lint-free cloth or a brush. The oil should be left for 10 minutes so it can penetrate the wood, but the excess should be wiped away before it can become sticky. Leave it for a few hours before rubbing with steel wool and reapplying the oil. The more times you repeat this process, the better the finished result.

Finish with furniture wax

A final coating of furniture wax and a polish with a cloth will seal the piece nicely. When leaving it to dry, keep it away from naked flames, sunlight, and radiators.


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