The restoration of antique furniture is an activity that has been practiced for a long time, even being considered an art. Today it is still quite popular and the options are practically endless, considering that possible projects can be found in events as common as flea markets, garage sales, among others.
Antique or vintage furniture has a very particular style that makes it stand out among the minimalist alternatives that are in fashion today. Therefore, it is not surprising that, even when it comes to furniture that was fashionable decades or even centuries ago, they have a large following of fans who prefer an elegantly decorated piece of furniture, with flourishes and embossed designs, than a table.
Within this context, we offer you a guide with which you can get started in the restoration of antique furniture. Whether you inherited a chest of drawers from your great-grandmother or found a Victorian-style armoire at an antique sale; restoring them and returning them to their original shine is not as difficult a process as you might imagine.
Steps to restore old wooden furniture
If you have been interested in knowing how to restore an antique piece of furniture to use it or prevent it from being damaged, here are the steps you must follow both to protect the antique itself and to give it a finish as if it were fresh from the store:
1. Furniture cleaning
The first thing you should do when starting the process to restore an old piece of furniture is to clean it thoroughly .
To do this, we advise you to use tools that are not too aggressive with the materials; such as microfiber cloths, cotton, sponges or metallic kitchen sandpaper. These will serve to remove dust and, in addition, you can dip them in water with alcohol to disinfect the surfaces of the furniture and remove dirt such as dirt, spider webs, among others.
2. Disassembling its pieces
The next step will allow you to treat the piece of furniture more thoroughly, so that the restoration allows you to enjoy it for much longer.
Start disassembling the furniture piece by piece by removing the screws that hold the doors together, as well as the drawers and removable shelves. Then, separate them into categories to treat them one by one and take advantage of cleaning the cracks that you couldn’t access before.
3. Eliminating woodworm
During the disassembly step, we advise you to analyze the state of the furniture’s wood to confirm whether or not there is the presence of woodworm.
This is presented in the form of small holes . If this is not treated, the insects that produce it will continue to rot the material and eventually render the furniture useless.
To get rid of them you will have to apply anti-termite products with the help of a brush until you fill all the holes of woodworm that you can see. Then, wrap the furniture pieces in plastic and let them sit for 2 days. Once the time is up, repeat the process again.
4. Solvent or sander?
Now that you have gotten rid of the pests in the furniture, you must strip the varnished wood, in order to apply a new layer that has the properties intact to protect it.
If you are wondering how to strip a piece of furniture, this has a couple of solutions, the most common being to use a solvent to remove the old varnish with a brush or use a sander, which should be used very carefully so as not to affect the details it has. wood design.
The sander, in turn, could also turn out to be a good solution if you are wondering how to paint a melamine piece of furniture that has an old layer of paint that is difficult to remove with solvents, since it will speed up the task and allow you to control to what extent you want work wood.
5. Varnish application
Before applying water-based or synthetic varnish, we recommend you clean the wood again to remove any dust that may have been produced after using the sander or the remains of paint left by using the brush with solvent.
This is because if the surface is not completely clean, the varnish will mix with the particles and create imperfections in the finish.
Having all the pieces clean and prepared, you can start applying a layer of the varnish of your choice, which must dry for a period of at least 24 hours. When it is ready, use semi-soft sandpaper to create roughness on the sides of the furniture and apply a new layer of varnish, to let it dry again for a full day.
6. Putting wax
When the drying time is up, take the furniture polish and dip the sponge or microfiber cloth in it, then start spreading it over all the faces that will be visible when you reassemble it.
For example, if you are in the process of restoring a dining table, you would only need to wax the top of the furniture, its edges and feet, as that is what it will look like when you put it in place.
7. Polishing the wood
Now it’s time to polish. This can be carried out manually or mechanically depending on the structure of the furniture. However, we advise you to use a drill with a polishing disc whenever you can to speed up the process.
Polish all the areas where you have applied wax until they are shiny and, when finished, all that remains is to reassemble the furniture to install it at home and enjoy it for many more years.
As an additional tip, when recycling furniture, try to replace metal parts that are corroded, such as screws, bearings, knobs and handles, as they could affect both the aesthetic finish of the furniture and the durability of the restoration process.
In addition to this, you cannot forget to use the appropriate protection. This includes items such as industrial gloves, safety glasses, filter masks and also an apron with which to keep your clothes clean when working.