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INTERIOR TIPS | Six steps you need to take when restoring old furniture

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|| A guest post by James Andrews

Is that set of chairs that you inherited from your grandmother looking a bit worn out? Maybe it needs to be restored to its former glory. It’s amazing how much carrying out restoration can improve the appearance of an item of furniture that you may have been thinking of getting rid of.

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It is possible to get help on how to restore old furniture from experts in French polishing, and other areas of restoration. But, you may want to have a go at doing the work yourself. It can take a while to complete the work, so you need to be patient. But, the end result can make it worth your while. Here six steps you should follow, if you want to make a start on revitalising your old furniture.

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How to Restore Old Furniture | 6 Tips

#1 Make sure that you stay safe

It’s necessary to use chemicals as part of the restoration. This means that you need to take precautions. You should always pay attention to the instructions on any products that you use. You should also wear rubber gloves, long sleeves and protective eyewear. It’s a good idea to complete the work outside if you can. If not, you should make sure the area where you are working is well ventilated. If the furniture you are restoring is coated with a lead-based product, you need to be especially careful.


#2 Check what type of finish is currently in place

It’s easy to tell if a piece of furniture is coated with paint or enamel. But you may need to test the surface to establish if varnish, lacquer or shellac is present. Denatured alcohol will start to remove shellac, and thinner works on lacquer. If you try both of these products, and the surface remains unaltered, you are likely to be dealing with varnish.

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#3 Give the furniture a good clean

Often, simply cleaning old furniture can result in it looking as good as new. If the furniture is made from wood, you can start be using an oil-based cleaner. To improve results, use some warm water and liquid detergent. If the dirt on the furniture is stubborn, you can make use of a stronger product, such as turpentine or denatured alcohol. This should be applied using a rough cloth.


#4 Is reamalgamation required?

The process for getting rid of scratches and cracks on old furniture is called reamalgamation. Before you start this process, you need to make sure that you clean the furniture, as we have explained. Once this is done, you need to apply solvent to the surface of the furniture. The best solvent to use for a lacquered surface is lacquer thinner, and you should use denatured alcohol, if a shellac surface is involved. It’s important to note that the process does not work on varnish. You should use a bristle brush during application, and then some steel wool to apply a layer of hard paste wax.

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#5 Stripping old surfaces

If you need to strip the surface from your old furniture, you should first apply a semi-paste stripper. This should be left for around 10-15 minutes, before you start to scratch off the surface, using a suitable tool. It could take several applications before you are able to strip around 95% of the surface covering. At this point, you should use liquid stripper on a paint brush to complete the task.


#6 Adding the new finish

This is the best part of the process. Before you apply the new surface, you need to sand down the furniture and make sure that the surface is clean, and free from dust. Once this is done you can apply the first coat of paint which then needs to be covered with a sanding sealer. The furniture should be left overnight, before being sanded down again the next day. Then you need to add the finish and protect it with lacquer or varnish. Once all this is done, you should be left with a piece of furniture that looks as good as new. You should also feel a massive sense of achievement!

If you are concerned about restoring the furniture yourself, just call in the experts to give you some help.

Via Estilo y Decor

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|| About the Author

James is an avid DIY and home design-obsessed writer with a well-trained eye for quality, craftmaship, furnishings and textiles. James believes in the power of Beautiful Interiors to transform daily life. He continues to be recognized for his timeless style and designs that remain fresh even as time goes by.