Furniture Restoration 101

As purveyors of fine wooden furniture, we feel an obligation to our work that compels us to preserve the work of the artisans who came before us. In an earlier post we shared some helpful tips for staining furniture with our readers. While a fresh stain and finish can work wonders to revitalize a piece of furniture that has fallen into disrepair, there are a number of other simple, effective techniques we can use to keep our furniture looking and feeling its very best.


Use Epoxy to Fill Gouges


Epoxy, commonly known as wood putty, is an essential component in our furniture repair toolkit. For small nicks and divots, take a small amount of putty and knead it between your fingers until it is soft and malleable. Next, simply press and mold the putty into the damaged area until it roughly assumes the original shape and curvature of the piece. Once it’s dry, you can sand it down until it’s smooth and flush with the existing wood. Stain the epoxied area to match the rest of the piece, and it will be virtually indistinguishable from the natural wood. This technique is also great for fixing chipped or cracked veneers.


Use Water to Lift Dents


Many shallow dents in wood can be repaired with nothing but a little care and moisture. Take a wet cloth and apply it to the dent. Wring the cloth gently to apply water directly to the damage. Allow the water to soak into the wood, and before long the wood will swell slightly and return to its original shape. Furniture sealer will prevent water from soaking into the wood, so you’ll want to sand down the finish in the affected area first in order to facilitate adequate penetration.


Furniture Restoration


Use Mineral Spirits to Reveal Blemishes


Before you delve too deep into your restoration project, we suggest that you apply a light coat of mineral spirits to the piece with a clean cloth in order to get a better idea of the condition of the wood. Make sure you do this in a well ventilated area and wear protective gloves, as mineral spirits are petroleum based. The mineral spirits will clean off any dirt and grime residue and reveal light damage such as scratches and water rings that might have been concealed by dull, old finishes.


When it comes to furniture restoration, experience is the greatest teacher of all. Have you already had success restoring a dilapidated piece of furniture to its former glory? Share what you learned with other users in the comments section!