When considering how to refinish antique wood furniture, you have to decide how the piece will be used. Different surfaces require different finishes according to use. When deciding how to refinish antique wood furniture, you must keep that in mind.
- If the furniture has paint or layers of discolored vanish, you may have to strip the furniture before you can refinish it. Stripping should be the last resort when you are deciding how to refinish antique wood furniture. With old varnish or shellac, employing lacquer thinner with fine steel wool will take off layers of dirt and old finish. Paint will require stripping.
- Once you have stripped or removed layers of varnish or shellac, you must make sure that the surface of the furniture is dry and uniform in color. There can not be any residue of paint or discoloration on the surface.
- Avoid bleaching wood or sanding it. Although you may want a smooth surface, remember that when you are considering how to refinish antique wood furniture, you want the piece to retain resale value and as much authenticity as possible.
- Indents and even gauges in antique furniture are considered part of its appeal and verifies that it is indeed antique. Sanding will takes away the uniqueness of a piece. Bleaching wood depletes it of the natural resins and damages the wood.
- When making a decision as to how to refinish antique wood furniture, you must settle on a final color for the piece. This is where stains come in. Consider the color of the other furniture the piece will be surrounded by and then chose a stain to match or compliment the other furniture or the overall decor of your room.
- Follow the instructions on the container the stain comes in for amount of stain to apply and drying times between applications. Be sure to let the stain dry thoroughly before putting on another coat, and always keep in mind that whatever final finish you apply will darken the furniture some.
- When learning how to refinish antique wood furniture, you should do a little research on the different finishes available and what their properties are. Always avoid polyurethane when refinishing antique wood furniture. Although it may be more durable than other finishes, it takes away from the value of an antique.
- Shellac, varnish, tung oil, or Danish oil are good choices to consider when deciding how to refinish antique wood furniture. Only resort to polyurethane when you don't care about resale or retaining intrinsic value of an antique piece. Kitchen tables or sideboards that will be used daily are some of the pieces that you may want to finish with polyurethane.
- Polyurethane, like all other finishes, must dry thoroughly before you apply another coat. Be sure to use the finest steel wool between coats of finish so that the new coat can adhere thoroughly. The final coat should be smooth and dry to the touch before you place lamps, books, or any household article on the surface of the finished piece.
- Remember, when you are deciding how to refinish antique wood furniture, that shellac, varnish, tung oil, and the like are made from natural resins that only enhance antique wood furniture. Eventually, someone will want to clean or refinish your piece after you have passed it on. Natural resins are easily removed without damaging antique wood.
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