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  1. #1
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    Anybody do furniture restoration?

    A couple of recent threads have got me thinking again about refurbishing furniture. I haven't done much of it, and I'd like to get some ideas.

    I have a pair of really old matching end tables—old as in almost antique, probably at least 60-70 years. They belonged to my great-grandmother, and my grandma gave them to me several years ago. I appreciate the gift, and my grandma is still alive, so getting rid of them is out of the question.

    Here's my dilemma. First, the tables are in rather rickety condition. They weren't high-quality to begin with, and time has taken its toll. The veneer on the tops is peeling in spots, and there are some water-damage rings too. They're kind of wobbly, which I know can be fixed with glue, but I'd like to get recommendations for products and techniques to do all this. They have a lower shelf about halfway down the legs, held on by screws that need tightening. One of the shelves has a corner broken off. What's the best way/material to rebuild that?

    Also, their style doesn't really go with anything else I have. They're pretty small, dark wood, and rather delicate with inward-curved legs and a few roughly carved decorative details. After getting them structurally repaired, I'm wondering how to update the style and make them more interesting.

    Most of my furniture is mismatched and thrifted anyway, so making them blend in exactly isn't a concern. I'd just like some ideas for a more current look that's not too trendy (I thought about mosaics on top, but then dismissed that as a fad). What are the pros and cons of colored paint vs. natural wood/stain? Any ideas or suggestions for where to look for inspiration would be appreciated.

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  3. #2
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    With the repairs, a clear stain or a natural wood finish is probably not an option.

    There are several types of wood filler out there. MinWax makes one, but I've used three or four different brands and don't have anything awful to say about any of them. They all are expensive and they all dry up to uselessness in the can within a few months. A wood filler/putty can fill your missing veneer area.

    Is the veneer a wood veneer that is mostly intact? No ripples, not coming unglued? Then keep that as the surface is just fine with a little repair. Use wood glue or carpenters glue, elmer's makes the one I use most often.

    You can rebuild the male part of the legs and spindles, or rebuild the socket/female part. Or both. Depends on how bad the jitters are. Simple is wrap a cotton string around the male end, saturate with wood glue, force into the socket. Next is spackle the inside of the female part with wood putty or fill. Insert the male end and fix in position to cure with clamps or strings or whatever you are using. If you don't, you may find the legs splay more and the table rocks when you are done. Wood glue itself is okay, but probably not the best for an already loose joint on an old dry piece of furniture.

    You can faux finish the top in a marble design and leave the legs looking like wood. Or mayble faux finish them too in a wrought iron or aged copper with verdigris color? There are kits out there for this, but it's easy enough with a variety of paints and some glaze for thinning. You'd also need a variety of applying tools like brushes and sponges, maybe feather and string, even chamois or felt.

    If the chunk of the missing shelf is more than a lima bean, you might want to sink a couple of brads or tiny nails or even a heavy staple partly into the solid shelf. Then rebuild with the wood putty. Sculpt it to just slightly larger than the area needing replacing. Power sanders are your friend. If you are too liberal with the fill and are sanding by hand, you will hate me.

    I would probably dismantle fully, label the legs re which corner they belong, label the underside of the table similarly if it's not obvious. I'd faux marble the top and the shelf and do the legs in a faux metal.

    Then several coats of non yellowing polyurethane. Although I usually use the plain old yellowing kind because it gradually imparts a greater age appearance. It can make a faux pink marble look orange or a blue wood stain look green after a few years...

  4. #3
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    hmm, as long as you're certain they're not worth any money, you can fix them up/paint them whatever, but I'd do some research first just to make sure you don't have something bizzarely rare that people are looking for in any condition. I remember watching the antiques roadshow and seeing someone had polished a vase for hours to get it to look like silver again and they informed her that it reduced the value of her piece by 80%.

    with that out of the way, i prefer the natural wood look to paint, but somethigns you just have to paint, i.e. things that aren't real wood, or things that have been splattered with paint or something that would be a pain to sand off etc. If the veneer can be glued back, you could possibly use light sand paper to remove the rings and sand the entire top evenly and use some sort of polyurethane to re-varnish it, but sometimes those rings go fairly deep, i found a table at school once and my mom had to use her belt sander to really get rid of the rings they made on that table, but i think those were made from putting something hot or hitting something on the table surface, and it was a solid dark wood.

    You might want to practice on something you found on the street (I remember you saying you had a few pieces) before you try the family heirlooms, but also remember, just b/c your grandma owned it doesn't mean it's an antique...i.e. 100 years or older, a former roommate of mine wanted to sell us (remaining roommates) her grandma's 'antique' set for 500 dollars. I looked at it and told her that they didn't have a plastic finish a hundred years ago, it was one of those sets probably from the 70s that is made to look old but is also made to be durable with that plasticy veneer on the surface. So if it's not super valuable, go to town, there are plenty of fun things you can do with an older piece to make it less fragile :)

    jt

  5. #4
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    Sometimes mixing fine sawdust with wood glue can make a decent wood putty. I think I read it on This Old House, but I don't recall. You might be able stain over it like normal wood.

    I would probably go to the library or bookstore and check out some books on furniture restoration. Sunset books are awesome for the technical details. Home Depot probably has a good book selection too.

  6. #5
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    Yes, many of people are having their furniture restoration. There are so many furniture are available in market. You can buy easily furniture for restoration. And also different interior designer are available in internet.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by smudgy_cat View Post
    Sometimes mixing fine sawdust with wood glue can make a decent wood putty. I think I read it on This Old House, but I don't recall. You might be able stain over it like normal wood.

    I would probably go to the library or bookstore and check out some books on furniture restoration. Sunset books are awesome for the technical details. Home Depot probably has a good book selection too.
    I've seen that too. I haven't ever tried it, because I haven't restored any furniture in ages.

    The best wood glue I've ever found is called Gorilla Glue. That stuff is amazing. Really holds things together well. It's pretty expensive though, something like $20 for a bottle.

  8. #7
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    Yes, there is lots of stuff available in the internet regarding the furniture restoration. The online is providing the many number of websites where you can find the good information, which provides the information about the different models of furniture.

  9. #8
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    Hi thanks all for useful discussion. Generally paint will last for a long time in an exterior environment, whereas stain will have to be reapplied every few seasons as wood stain tends to become lighter easily in the sun. Stain will achieve a natural look whereas paint changes the appearance completely. Originally stain is cheaper but Paint will be a cheaper investment all round. Hope it will help you.

  10. #9
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    Today i have to ask something relating to your topci which is that I have heard of wot nots near yate, but apparently that not very good. Im a student taking a furniture restoration course and need pieces of furniture. ?????
    Last edited by Challis0; 01-26-2013 at 01:03 AM.

  11. #10
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    It's a very hard work, you need patience. But you can learn a lot.


 
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