Another broken leg. Another scratched surface. What do you do now?
Your family heirlooms mean more to you than most other things. So, you want to make sure that they’re well taken care of. Problem is that time has not been kind to them. Here’s how to turn back the clock and make those old pieces look new again.
Start With A Test
Before you do anything, test the furniture you’re about to fix or refinish. For example, if you need new table legs, inspect one of the legs for attachment points to see just how easy it is to remove them. If you don’t see any screws or pins, bolts or cams, then you might want to take it to a professional and have them work on it.
If you need to strip and refinish it, dab some alcohol on an inconspicuous spot. If the finish comes off, you probably have a shellac finish. If it requires lacquer remover, then you have a lacquer finish.
Get Rid Of White Heat Marks
Some older pieces have white heat marks on them that can be removed with non-gel toothpaste. This is common with lacquer finishes because pieces finished with this were often used as coffee tables and end tables.
How To Clean Your Furniture With Lemon Juice
Use lemon juice and cigarette ash to get rid of heat marks on a polyurethane finish. Stir the two ingredients together and make a paste out of them. Then, apply the paste and use 0000 steel wool. The citric acid in the lemon is corrosive, so it might also remove dark surface stains too.
Sand Down The Finish
When you’re done removing stains, you can use sandpaper (100 to 200 grit) to bleach out any remaining dark stains in the wood. Always sand with the grain of the wood so you don’t create burs and rough edges on the surface.
Next, mix a solution of oxalic acid crystals and water together. Then dab the solution onto the stain with a cotton swab. It’s a good idea to use protective gloves and goggles for this. Let the solution soak into the wood for about 30 minutes. Then, give it a good wipe down.
Before you move on, neutralize the acid that’s on the wood with baking soda and ½ cup of water. Make a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda to ½ cup of water. Dab the mixture into the wood.
Then, wipe the wood down.
If the stain still hasn’t come out, use a 2-part peroxide bleach solution mix the components and dab it into the stain. Let it dry and neutralize it by using vinegar. Let the vinegar dry and clean with water. Then, dry the wood immediately.
Sanding Everything Down And Refinishing
It’s time to sand the area down. Use 220 grit sandpaper. When everything is smooth, use a spray can of lacquer, polyurethane, varnish, or stain to apply a new finish. Two coats should be plenty. When you’re done, you’ll have a perfectly refinished piece that should last for many years.
Niamh Sheppard has always been good with her hands, but really knew she had discovered her calling after successfully restoring some vintage furniture that had been in her family for years. She enjoys giving tips and writing DIY articles so others can get inspired and have a go.