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A Guide To Wooden Furniture Restoration Tools

Selecting the right tools can make or break any job. Picking the right furniture restoration tools is even more important. A faulty or inappropriate make-shift tool can actually ruin the basic purpose of the restoration project!

But choosing the right set of tools will provide you with high value in the long run.

Is Furniture restoration the same as furniture repairment?

People often confuse the terms and refer to these interchangeably. But no, there is a significant difference between furniture restoration and furniture refinishing or repairment job. Furniture repairing can be explained as the process to bring back the functionality of the furniture may have lost during its use. For instance, fixing a broken arm or leg of a chair.

Refinishing means stripping or removing the existing finish completely and start over the work. You might ask, doesn’t furniture restoration serve the same purpose? 

Furniture restoration process

Furniture restoration is actually the process or restoring the piece to its former glory without losing or working on the structural formation. Antique restoration is a meticulous process and requires expert knowledge, hand and eye along with the ability to choose and utilise appropriate restoration tools.

Furniture restoration has several components of work such as removing the finish, refinishing, wax and oil job, colouring and installing upholstery where applicable. 

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Essential furniture restoration tools

The wooden furniture restoration job is heavily dependent on hand tools. However, a few power tools will make your job easier and faster. This article will guide you through the primary tools you will need for your restoration project.

1. Respirator Mask Set

You will be dealing with lots of small particles jumping off the furniture. The old finish and paint can get into your nose, mouth or even get into your eyes. Then there comes the varnish, wax or paints handling. Pretty obvious why would you need a respirator mask, right? Also, get a good set of gloves and safety goggles.

2. Scrapers

Scrapers are required to remove the old finish and prepare the wooden piece as bare or naked. 

Although different tools are available to be used as a scraper, for instance, putty knife, pull scraper, spatula etc, while buying always look for specialised tools for furniture. 

You will have to resharpen with a smooth-cut file because the edges can become dull pretty quickly. A heat gun will help you immensely as you learn the basics and move towards a professional path.

3. Sandpaper, Sanding Blocks, Power sanders

Now it’s time for the sandpapers to remove the finish completely. Other sanding tools like sanding blocks, foam blocks or sanding cords are essential equipment of the furniture restoration process. You will benefit from having a dedicated sanding table because the whole process can become a little messy. 

For heavy work or fast job, you will find a power sander very useful.

4. Clamps: The ‘must-have’ Furniture Restoration Tool

How important are the clamps? Well, to be frank, you can’t do a wood job without the clamps. Especially if you want your restoration work to be neat and professional. 

There are several types of clamps available for dedicated furniture works. For example- C Clamp, Bar Clamp, Pipe Clamp, Web Clamp, Strap or Band clamp, Angle Clamp, Hand screws type, et cetera.

Clamps are used to hold up or down the furniture parts while you work on your restoration or repairing work. You will benefit from having a few of them of different sizes at your disposal. 

Although you will be able to modify or adjust with the basic clamps once you get a hang of them. Or create your clamps using rubber bands or ropes. Oh, and note a tip for clamping work: use softwood or hard paper-like material in between the wood and clamp material. Otherwise, that section will end up having a dent to show.

5. Quality Paintbrush

Many people do not understand the importance of a quality paintbrush. And that there are different types of paint brushes of a variety of materials for specific purposes. For example, finishing and painting  work requires quality natural bristle brushes. But you may use the throwaway brushes for applying varnish. 

Do not hesitate to invest in good quality brushes as the paint jobs are the key part of your restoration project. So, keep brushes of different sizes and bristle types in your toolbox.

6. Rags, tack cloth or lint remover

Rags are a pretty obvious necessity for your workstation. You would have to rinse your hands, tools and brushes more or less frequently. So, let me explain the tack cloth and lint remover. When you are done with varnishing or waxing, it’s natural that dirt, lint will accumulate on the surface. 

If you use a regular brush or rag here, it’s very likely you’ll do more damage than good. Brushing up with tack cloth or a lint remover brush will fix your problem here.

To Wrap Up

Don’t get overwhelmed with the tools list, especially if you are just starting out. Start working with the basics or the ones you have at hand. You can gradually stock up your inventory with all the necessary furniture restoration tools. And needless to say, don’t compromise quality over a few pounds, always go for the premium tools and materials. It will pay you back good in the long run.

If you are struggling with where to start or need guidance on the techniques to use for your furniture restoration project, one of our popular course Diploma in Furniture Restoration can definitely help you out. It will help the existing practitioners too as the course is developed by industry experts with professional tips and hacks for furniture restoration.

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