Have you ever noticed the pale worn out rocking chair of your great-grandpa? It is still as bold as that time when he used to sit on this, but the layer of decades-old dirt has made it faded, and it has lost its glaze. You might have thought already if it could be restored to its past condition. Many people value antique things over a new one, and if it is antique furniture, its appeal will become more to them. Probably you’re one of those people, and that’s why you’re reading out this article.
So, now let’s come to the point. Since you’re interested in furniture restoration, there are two options for you. One is giving the charge to a furniture maker or taking the charge on your own. That means Do It Yourself (DIY) and its the most enjoyable part of furniture restoration if you have enough spare time. Since restoring old furniture is an amazing thing, you might be interested in the second option and looking for the answer to how to restore wood furniture.
Now, I will walk you through the process of wood furniture restoration. The first thing that comes to decide when you want to restore wooden furniture is whether it requires stripping and sanding or not. So, let’s get the answer first.
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Is It Possible to Restore Without Stripping and Sanding?
Okay, to be honest, stripping and sanding followed by staining is the best way to restore wood furniture, and it gives the best result. But it will be a nightmare if it falls under an amateur hand because the process of stripping, sanding, and staining is messy and time-consuming, and it requires a high level of expertise. Otherwise, the original look of the furniture will perish.
Whatever, you don’t need to be tensed much as it is not the only way to restore furniture. You can restore your furniture without stripping and sanding if your furniture is in good condition, and it is the best way to retain the antique look even after a new finish. Moreover, it’s the simplest way, and you require no special skills or expertise to do this. So, you might be wondering to know how to restore wood furniture without sanding and stripping.
Here, I’m going to provide you with some pro tips with which you can restore your furniture without having any prior experience.
Assess the finish
Before starting your furniture restoration project, you have to assess the finish first. It will help you to determine how to proceed further. You can assess the finish of the surface with mineral spirit. You don’t need to fear as it won’t harm the finish. It will only saturate the surface temporarily and show you how it will look after a wipe on finish. If the surface seems good after wetting it with spirit, you have only a little to do to restore the glaze. Just apply an oil-based wipe-on finish over it. But, if it doesn’t look good, you have to take other measures to restore the furniture.
Clean the surface
After assessing the finish, your restoration process will begin with a thorough cleaning of the surface. It is required to get rid of the decades-old layer of dirt, and most of the wooden furniture will almost restore the original lustre once you clean it up. You don’t need to bother having fancy cleaner for this.
It may sound unbelievable but you can clean the surface with only soap and water. Use the same soap which you use to wash your dishes. Make a solution of water and soap and dip a sponge into it. Then wring it out and gently scrub the surface. You can use a paintbrush to clean the carvings and mouldings where you can find it difficult to clean with a sponge. Once you’re done, rinse and wash the surface with clean water, and dry it with a towel or a hairdryer.
Fix white rings
White rings are very common in wood furniture. It happens when someone sets a wet glass on the surface, and the moisture left a white ring. White rings make the finish dull, and it is irritating to see such rings on your nice table. However, you can fix the white rings using simple household materials. Make a mixture of equal portions of vinegar and olive oil. Then dip a soft cloth into it and wipe on the white rings softly until the rings get vanished. Then use another dry cloth to shine it up.
You can remove the white rings even with the petroleum jelly. Gently rub on the white rings with petroleum jelly and leave it overnight. The oil from the jelly will penetrate the rings and remove them. You can also use synthetic white rings remover which you’ll find in furniture or colour shop.
Replace missing wood
It’s common to see a broken chip of wood, missing veneer or damaged moulding on old wood furniture. If you notice something like that, you have to fix that damage. You can replace the missing wood or veneer with applying epoxy putty on the damaged spot. Epoxy is widely used in the furniture industry for fixing cracks and damages. Epoxy is a soft resin. You can shape it as you want. When it hardens, it seems like a wood chip and is hard to detect from the original wood.
There are many brands of epoxy putty, and all serve the same purpose. Get any of them to do your job. Clean the surface thoroughly before applying the putty. Remove any oil or grease substance to improve the adhesion. Cut off a small piece of epoxy from the stick and blend it properly until it gets a uniform colour. Then apply it into the crack within 3 to 5 minutes before it starts to get hardened.
Epoxy putty usually doesn’t come in the same colour as your furniture. So, you have to match it with the colour of your furniture. You may have to sand the hardened epoxy a little to make even with the surface. Then apply the colour with a paintbrush.
Fill Small Cracks
It’s not unusual to find small cracks on wood furniture, especially in the joint and carvings. It’s hard to fill these small cracks with epoxy putty. So, you have to think of another solution. You can use coloured wax fill sticks. You’ll find it in the same shop from which you have purchased other things. To apply the wax, break a chunk of it and blend in your hands. Then shape it to fit the crack and press it with hands or a smooth tool.
Restore the colour
The next step to restore your furniture is bringing back the original colour. You can use a gel stain to restore the colour. Gel stains are great for antique furniture restoration. The best part is that you don’t need to strip off the original old colour of your furniture. Gel stains can easily restore the faded and worn colour of wood furniture. Though it doesn’t remove the dark spots or water stains from the surface, it gives a polished and glossy look on the original colour and covers the fine scratches.
To apply a gel stain, dip a soft cloth into the stain and gently wipe it on the surface. Gel stains are reversible. If you don’t like the result after finishing it, you can remove the gel coating with mineral spirit before it is dried out.
Renew the finish
After following the previous steps and doing all the necessary repairs, the final step is to apply a wipe-on coating to renew the finish. The finish can be transparent if you want the actual colour as the antique look it had, or you can use the same colour to give it a new look. Whatever you do, it will protect the surface and give the furniture a glossy sheen. You can follow the same process as the gel stain to apply the wipe on finish.
You’ve caught up with everything. These were the pro tips for you to restore antique wood furniture easily without sanding and striping. We hope that you’ll find these helpful to complete your first furniture restoration project and turn the hundred years old antique rocking chair of your great-grandpa into a new one.
However, if you want to get a detailed insight into furniture restoration and learn more about this, it would be best to learn it from an expert. So, you can consider taking an online course on furniture restoration where you will learn from a pro. Yes, John Academy is offering you exactly that. So, don’t waste your time anymore. Enrol today and make the stepstone on your furniture restoration project.