Restoring furniture can be a long and complicated process, but one that is extremely rewarding. The act of bringing something neglected back to life is beautiful and gratifying. The best part is that with a little elbow grease, anyone can do it! Here’s a quick guide to get you started.
By far your most important tool when refinishing furniture is a sander. You can do it manually, but your hands will thank you for buying a power tool. Orbital and oscillating sanders are appropriate for most furniture projects, as they combine the best aspects of sanding power with mobility. For really large projects like a table, consider a belt sander, but be careful: they’re quite powerful.
You’ll also want a power drill for taking things apart, again for the sake of your hands. For removing paint and wood stain, a sander can get you most of the way there…but in some cases, you may want help from a chemical stripper.
Your first step is to make sure the piece even needs refinishing. An easy way to test this is to wipe a small or hidden part of the furniture with mineral spirits. If it cleans up nicely, you can skip to the end: just clean it and apply clearcoat.
If it really does need a refinish, you should still clean it. Cleaning also helps determine if there are cracks, splits, or other imperfections that need to be repaired. Then start with low grit sandpaper to rip off the remaining finish, gradually working down to finer grit until the surface is smooth.
The next step depends on what type of wood you have: large grain wood like oak may require a grain filler. If not, it’s then time to decide if you’re staining or painting. For either, you first need to apply a sealant to the wood with a bristle brush. From there it’s as easy as painting on fresh stain or your favorite color of paint.
Do you need a storage space for your antiques or restoration projects? Pickers and hobbyists can always use more space for newfound treasures! Hillsborough Self-Storage offers standard and climate-controlled storage units in a variety of sizes, from a small closet to nearly a full garage. With available 24/7 access, you can work on your projects on your schedule.