Best 12 Tips For Restoring And Reconditioning Old Furniture!

There are real treasures hidden behind a lot of old furniture, which you can restore and refurbish. We show you the best tips on how to repair and to recondition old furniture successfully. 

Restoring and reconditioning old furniture – If you want to restore old furniture, you usually use many different handicraft techniques.

Among other things, you can repair veneer, reglue loose furniture joints, sand down old varnish, and stain, polish, or varnish the wood again.

In this way, you help your antique to a new shine.

Many old furniture is getting veneered. A veneer is a thin, high-quality layer of wood that is getting glued onto inferior timber.

With old furniture, the veneer often comes loose, breaks, and splinters. You can restore small damaged areas of this surface yourself with wood glue.

It is crucial that you put a thin piece of wood between the veneer and the ferrule when you press it on – and preferably a piece of paper because otherwise, the allowance will stick to the surface.

More extensive repairs to the veneer are complicated. If your furniture’s surface is badly damaged, it is advisable to consult an expert, for example, a restorer.

 

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Restoring and reconditioning old furniture in summary explained.

Restoring and reconditioning old furniture in summary explained.
Restoring and reconditioning old furniture in summary explained. / Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

  1. Restoring furniture – The right preparation: Before you put any work into the furniture’s preparation, you should check whether the piece of furniture is still usable.
  2. Find out what exactly is still functional. It will give you a summary of the necessary repairs.
  3. Make a note of the defects, write down a tool list and a material list. Order the missing materials on the Internet or in a hardware store.
  4. Repair damage such as cracks or broken feet first. Only then should you take care of the surface.
  5. Before you disassemble the furniture, take pictures of the finished assembly so that you will not have any problems with the assembly afterward.
  6. If you do not own all the necessary tools, such as an orbital sander, you should borrow one from friends and neighbors or buy one at the hardware store.
  7. Procedure for restoring old furniture: You must proceed in the correct order during restoration to not repeat work steps such as painting and co.
  8. Before you begin with the surface treatment, you must complete all repairs to the furniture.
  9. Unscrew all materials such as hinges or locks before treating the surface.
  10. If you notice very thick and stubborn varnish on the surface and want to restore the old wood structure, you can treat the furniture with a chemical stripper. Caution: Always wear protective gloves and goggles when stripping.
  11. Alternatively, you can sand down the old varnish with an orbital sander. You can also wrap sandpaper around a wooden block and sand off narrow spots by hand.
  12. There are several ways to apply the new surface. You can paint, oil, or wax the wooden furniture. For example, we explain how to paint wooden furniture.

 

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Re-glue loosened furniture connections

Re-glue loosened furniture connections
Restoring And Reconditioning Old Furniture – Re-glue loosened furniture connections / Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

It is vital to restore the statics when restoring old furniture such as cupboards and drawers’ chests. Where old glue joints have become loose, you apply new glue.

To do this, you first carefully disassemble the piece of furniture with a mallet. It is advisable not to hit the furniture directly but to use a piece of wood as a bonus.

Restorers then mark the individual parts with labeled adhesive tape. This way, they always know how to put them back together correctly.

Then you carefully scrape off the old glue with a chisel and spread wood glue on both sides of the joint. Now you can reassemble the parts.

If you press them together with clamps or straps, you will first put allowances on the furniture. This way, you avoid pressure marks on the wood.

Make sure to glue the wooden furniture on a straight surface; otherwise, it can warp. 

 

Remove old layers of varnish

Remove old layers of varnish
Restoring And Reconditioning Old Furniture – Remove old layers of varnish / Image by William Lockhart from Pixabay

Before repainting old wooden furniture such as drawers and chairs, remove the old layers of paint and varnish.

For the first sanding, you use 180 or 240 grit sandpaper, after which you can choose a finer grit if necessary. When sanding, it is essential to always work in the grain direction of the wood furniture.

For round shapes, you can use a non-woven abrasive or fine steel wool. These are more flexible than sandpaper.

If the varnish is very tight to the furniture, use a stripper to remove the varnish. Apply the stripper sparingly to the wood and let it work.

The manufacturer’s instructions tell you how long you must leave on the stripper must. Then you can remove the layers of paint with a spatula – here, too, it is crucial to scrape in the direction of the wood grain.

When the old paint is gone, rewash the furniture parts with water. When they are dry, you can repaint your antique.

For this, it is practical if all surfaces are well roughened. It is advisable to sand all textures again.

 

Re-painting furniture

Re-painting furniture
Restoring And Reconditioning Old Furniture – Re-painting furniture / Image by kissu from Pixabay

It is best to use acrylic varnish for painting. For small surfaces, corners and edges, use a brush. For larger areas, use a paint roller.

Do not apply too much varnish so that the furniture does not get varnish noses.

As an alternative to an entirely new coat of paint, you can also repair individual damaged areas. In the past, furniture made of coniferous woods such as spruce and fir were usually painted or veneered with fine woods.

If the paint has come off, you can retouch the area. If you want your retouching to blend in unobtrusively, make sure that you only add to the painting and not cover it up.

Remove grease and dirt first. For this purpose, you use a leach. How to dilute and prepare the caustic soda is described in the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you want to color your furniture, high-quality acrylic paints are suitable. Mix the color on the palette and test it on an inconspicuous part of the furniture.

First, apply the stain, dab the color on, and then lightly wipe it with your finger. Acrylic paints darken slightly as they dry. Alternatively, you can stain the furniture in color.

You can quickly restore minor damage to your furniture with wood putty or wood spatula. You can bring out the natural grain by treating the furniture with wood polish or wax.

If you want your furniture to looking its age even after restoration, you can paint it in a shabby chic look. Apply chalk color evenly on the furniture.

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After the paint has dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, you can work on it with sandpaper – until you have the desired shabby chic look.

 

Polishing the repaired furniture

Polishing the repaired furniture
Restoring And Reconditioning Old Furniture – Polishing the repaired furniture / Image by Shon Flaherty from Pixabay

If you want to re-polish a piece of furniture, you start with a thorough cleaning. Shellac polish or wax is best to get removed with the spirit or turpentine oil. Apply with a sponge until the shellac polish or wax is completely getting dissolved.

If the furniture is clean, dry, and dust-free, you can polish it again with shellac, rub it with wax or paint it. Then the grain will come out beautifully too.

When restoring, avoid using screws and nails if possible, except when used in their original condition.

Ornamental moldings, for example, are often fixed with nails and fittings with small screws. It is advisable to preserve them and use them again during restoration.

 

FAQ Restoring And Reconditioning Old Furniture

FAQ Restoring And Reconditioning Old Furniture
FAQ Restoring And Reconditioning Old Furniture / Image by Annette Meyer from Pixabay

How can I refurbish old furniture?

If you want to restore an old leftover of furniture, you usually use many different handicraft techniques. You can, among other things, repair veneer, reglue loose furniture joints, sand down old varnish, and stain, polish, or varnish the wood again. In this way, you help your antique to a new shine.

How do I restore old wooden furniture?

Sanding down - Old paint layers are getting sanded down with fine sandpaper in 180 or 240-grain sizes. Sanding is done exclusively in the direction of the wood fiber. Corners and curves are getting treated with steel wool. Never work too deeply into the wood during sanding to avoid damaging it.

Can veneered furniture be sanded?

With veneers, this has a much more massive effect. Therefore, you should be very careful when sanding veneer and sanding explicitly in the edge areas with special care. From one sanding cycle to the next, use an increasingly finer sandpaper grit.

Which varnish for old furniture?

A silk matt lacquer coating usually brings antique furniture to a better advantage than a high-gloss finish. Carefully extract the sanding dust with a vacuum cleaner or hand brush.

Which oil for old furniture?

Only those oils that contain an unusually high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids are suitable for wood furniture care. Among the commercially available oil products, these are only linseed oil and Chinese tung oil, also known as wood oil.

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Can veneered doors be painted?

You can paint veneered doors just like conventional and solid wooden doors. However, you should pay attention to special features such as the finish and texture of the veneer.

Can veneered furniture be oiled?

Protection and care of veneered wooden surfaces - Because the thin finish of the wooden surface prevents the traces of use from disappearing by regular sanding. Treatment with wax or oil is getting recommended for objects that are not subject to heavy wear.

Which varnish for furniture?

Acrylic lacquers are particularly suitable for interior use. They are water-based, low-odor, dry quickly, and can be easily getting removed from the brush. What's more, paints such as white furniture paint give the furniture a protective layer and prevent scratches.

How do you get veneered doors clean again?

Cleaning veneered doors are effortless! Dusting off is quick with a soft cloth; light soiling can be removed with a damp chamois leather by rubbing the door with light pressure parallel to the grain.

 

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