restoring wooden furniture

8 ways to restore wood furniture

Wood furniture can give a vintage, modern or rustic look to your house’s interior and exterior. They come in different shapes and sizes to include beds, dining tables, coffee table and even reclaimed wood scaffold boardwalks. Wood furniture is a sustainable replacement for artificial materials but in some cases can require restoration, especially when old and neglected. If you want to restore wood furniture the the following hints and tips should help.

restoring wooden furniture

In this article, you will learn eight ways to restore your wood furniture, giving a new lease of life into your old or new furniture. These methods will help you preserve, protect and restore the natural beauty of your wooden items.

Let’s see each of these methods one by one:

1. Remove mold from wood 

Mold holds the capability to weaken the strength of wood and is hazardous to our health. Wood being porous makes it tough to remove mold from it.

mold on wood

Removing mold from wood can be tricky, and it will depend on the type of wood it has been on. There are many methods for getting rid of mould from wood furniture. One of the most popular methods is to use a solution of bleach and water to remove the mould from the surface of the wood. You can also use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, water, and dish soap to wipe down the surface of your furniture. There are other solutions available. For instance, Mold Armor is a fast-acting and potent solution to kill mould which also forms a protective layer over the wood surface, adding years to its life.

The first thing that you should do is vacuum the surface of the moldy area with a soft brush vacuum attachment so that there is no loose debris left behind on the surface. You can then apply your solution. For more stubborn stains you may need to scrub with a toothbrush dipped in hydrogen peroxide or bleach solution.

2. Stain the wood

The process of staining wood furniture protects them from fungi and bacteria, whilst colouring and enhancing the natural wood grains and patterns. The key to restoring your wood furniture is through sanding and staining it by applying a stain to the surface.

You can opt for a natural stain or one that gives colour which also builds a protective layer between the wooden surface and the outer environment. Staining works as coverage for a surface, but can also help you repair small damaged areas of wood. Damaged or rotten wood can be removed, smoothed and then protected with a varnish or oil stain.

wax restoring wood

Alternatively you can use a wax to protect the wood. It works in a very similar way to stain but once dry will provide a colour far closer to the original wood colour. It’s a great way to preserve the natural look and feel of the wood.

3. Smoothing of the surface

Uneven, warped and bubbling wood can be unsightly and can be challenging to restore.

Moisture penetration on veneered wood will cause it to bulge and bubble. Repairing veneered wood can be achieved by carefully lifting the veneer, applying wood glue and then clamping it back down. Once the surface is flat and even other methods can be followed to restore back to its original colour. Always try and avoid any heavy sanding on veneered products.

Warped wood can also be quite challenging and may require the piece of furniture taken apart. Some pieces may need to be replaced completely which may require specialist help to achieve. If the piece of furniture simply has uneven surfaces then these can be smoothed using sanding methods.

4. Sanding

Sanding is the most common process of restoring wood furniture. It removes the old finish and smooths out the surface to prepare it for a new finish.

To sand wood furniture, start by inspecting the piece to see if it needs any other preparation before sanding. This includes removing nails or screws, filling in any holes and cracks with putty, and using a sander with an appropriate grit for your desired finish (120 for paint, 220 for stain). Sanders helps a lot in this kind of work.

sanding wood

Sanding wood can be achieved manually by hand or with the use of electrical sanders. There are two main types of sanders: disc or orbital sanders and belt sanders. Orbital sanders, also known as a random-orbit sander uses rotating discs to grind away the top layer of the material being worked on. Belt sanders work by pressing a moving belt against the material and pulling it through with an attached abrasive strip.

Hand-sanding is ideal for where machines are unreachable. Tight corners or narrow edges can be reached by hand or with the use of the flossing technique.

5. Seal the wood

Sealing wood is slightly different from staining. A sealant will protect the wood from moisture penetration as opposed to simply colouring. There are many different types of sealers available on the market today, but not all of them are created equally. Some sealers are designed for specific types of wood and others can only be applied by professionals. Always read the manufactures guidelines before applying and sealer.

A popular type of sealer is a polyurethane varnish which is ideal for interior wooden furniture. Here are some tips for applying this kind of sealer.

After sanding, the first step in sealing your wood furniture is to clean it with a damp cloth or sponge. Once this has been done, you should use a dry cloth or towel to remove any excess moisture before applying the sealer. The sealer can be applied with a brush but it is normally better to apply using a lint free cloth or a sprayer. This will ensure a thinner layer that will dry evenly and won’t remain sticky to the touch.

6. Fill the grains in the wood

With time, wooden furniture tends to diminish and develop grains over time. You can care for antique wood furniture by filling the grains and giving it a fresh look.

Furthermore, lacquer can be an excellent choice to fill your grains with, and it will just require repeated coats and sanding to make it stiff. You should repeat the process with an ultra fine sandpaper (300 grit) until the surface feels smooth enough.

7. Replace missing wood by applying epoxy

Repairing wood with epoxy resin is a two-step process. The damaged wooden surface is firstly covered with a liquid epoxy. Epoxy is a two-component, liquid resin that sets to a hard, durable and abrasion-resistant coating. It can be used as an adhesive, sealant and coating for wood and other materials.

The best way to restore wood furniture with epoxy is to use it as a sealant on the surface of the wood. This will create a barrier between the surface of the furniture and any spills or stains that happen in the future.

It is important to clean the surface of the furniture with soap and water before applying epoxy. A hair dryer or heat gun can be used to dry the surface before applying the epoxy. Once the epoxy has dried it can be treated in the same way as wood. This might include applying a coat of stain or varnish.

8. Chemical stripper

Chemical strippers are a popular method for stripping paint and varnish from wood furniture. This is necessary when old paint or varnish is pealing or cracking.

paint stripper restoring wood

The chemical is applied to the surface of the furniture and then usually left on for an extended period of time. It is then removed with a scraper or by wiping off the excess with a cloth. When using this method, it is important to wear protective gloves and clothing, as well as eye protection and a respirator.

In summary

Though wood furniture is naturally resilient and requires minimal maintenance, it can age or rot with time. And these eight ways will help you restore wood furniture, making it as good as new.

Many of these methods do not require tools. Your hands will be enough to restore your wood furniture. If you have the time then old furniture can easily be brought back to life. Wooden furniture can last for centuries with minimal effort.

Frequently asked questions

1. How to restore wood furniture naturally?

Cleaning and checking on your furniture regularly will help you naturally restore the furniture. You can apply a layer of vinegar yearly to prevent molds and fungi growing.

2. How to restore wood furniture without sanding?

You can regularly apply layers of wax, varnish or oil sealants to protect your wood. This is common with heavy use areas such as solid wood kitchen worktops. Simply applying a thin layer of varnish ever 3-6 months will help keep the wood looking fresh and clean for a lifetime.

3. Does beeswax restore wood furniture?

Yes, beeswax works wonders for wood furniture. It will restore the shine and clean away all the dirt from the surface. It also help fill in small grains, cracks and splits in wood. Beeswax works like a miracle for all old wood furniture.

4. How to restore wood furniture without stripping?

Wood furniture is a beautiful and elegant addition to any home. It can be expensive, but it is worth the investment because of its durability. However, if you have a new piece of wood furniture that has scratches or dings on it, you don’t want to go out and buy a new one. You can restore your wood furniture without stripping it by using these simple steps:

  1. Use mineral oil to remove dirt from the surface of the wooden furniture.
  2. Use sandpaper to remove any loose paint or varnish from the surface of the wooden furniture.
  3. Apply a coat of wax to seal in moisture and add shine back to your wooden furniture.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have found this information useful in the restoration of your wooden furniture.

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