Keeping a piece of furniture that is a family heirloom in your house is an amazing choice. However, the same as every other furniture that has been in your home for a while, it tends to show off its old age, so it needs to be properly taken care of.
Restoring your antique pieces of furniture that you inherited from your ancestors is not a quick process – it certainly takes some time and effort. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be all that hard if you use the right products, methods and tools. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you get amazing results.
Think of safety first
Before you start working on your antique furniture piece, you need to think about safety. This process requires the use of tools and chemicals that can be dangerous to your health if you don’t take necessary precautions. The use of proper tools is of essence, as it will make sure you and your family are safe. In order to prevent chemical burns, you should wear rubber gloves, long-sleeved shirts and something to protect your eyes.
Working in an area that is properly ventilated is also important, in order to make sure that you don’t inhale any hazardous vapors. To protect yourself from combustion and fumes, you should follow the instructions on the package that tell you where to store your oily rags. If your old paint finish contains lead, you must use proper ventilation at all cost when stripping it.
In time, finishes tend to form cracks and scratches that can make the surface of the wood dull. The simplest way to deal with this issue is the process called reamalgamation. This process consists of directly applying a solvent in order to get rid of imperfect spots. First you need to clean your furniture using an oil-based wood cleaner. If it doesn’t do the job, you should use a solution of liquid detergent and warm water instead.
Once you have cleaned your furniture piece, get the appropriate solvent – if it’s shellac, you should use denatured alcohol, and if it’s lacquer, it should be a lacquer thinner. Keep in mind that varnish most often can’t be fixed using this process. Use a natural bristle brush to apply the solvent, and do it quickly without allowing the brush to dry. After the solvent dries, you will see that the scratches and cracks are gone. Improve on the piece by lightly polishing it with steel wool. For the best effect, finish your job with some hard paste wax.
The next step in the restoration process is stripping the old finish in order to make place for the new. If your furniture has multiple layers of paint, you will need a stronger formula for stripping. It can be a semi-paste that, when applied to the surface, makes old coats easier to scrape. Apply the stripper in one direction, from top to bottom, with an extra effort on carved areas where it’s harder to remove the finish. Wait for up to 20 minutes, and the use a stripping tool to start scraping the surface. Keep in mind that this takes some patience.
When about 95 percent of the finish is removed, use a liquid stripped for the remaining bit. Use a natural bristle brush to do this, and leave it to sit for a little while. Then use steel wool to get rid of the remaining finish from carvings. Finally, rinse the piece with a clean stripper using a squeegee.
The final stage of the process is refinishing. Use 100-120 grit sandpaper on your piece, and then clean the surface with a vacuum and a tack cloth. Apply the new stain with a natural bristle brush, and leave it to sit for about five minutes, before you use a clean cloth to wipe the excess off. Use a sanding sealer and leave it overnight. Tomorrow you need to do another sanding, this time with a 220-grit sandpaper. Then apply the finish. Varnish, lacquer or polyurethane are a good protection to apply to your piece, and give it the look that you are looking for.
If you have the patience, and truly want your amazing piece of furniture to shine, experts say that it is a process that is certain to bring rewards. Antique furniture, be it a family heirloom or a piece that you got from a garage sale, takes time and effort to work on, but it is bound to make a wonderful and stylish addition to your home.
Of course, be sure to think of safety before starting to work on your furniture piece, as the necessary chemicals and tools can be dangerous if not used properly. After that, follow these tips and tricks closely, and bring the piece back to its former glory.
About the Author:-
Aside from being a blogger and a business consultant with Eastern Suburb antique restoration professionals, Ian could be tagged also as a passionate sports fan, nature and photography enthusiast, always trying to keep up to date with tech innovations and development.