The Fine Art of Antique Furniture Restoration

The one thing that many people notice about shopping for antique furniture is that it is addictive.  Before long, you quickly become an expert at spotting a rare find even if it is in the back of a second hand store, at a flea market or even while browsing a garage sale.  The key is that if you do find a hidden treasure in one of those places, it might not look great.  But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an outstanding find.  With a little restoration, that antique can return to the spender and beauty that made is so wonderful the year it was created.  You just have to know how.

The most conspicuous type of antique furniture restoration that will vastly improve the look and the value of the piece is to erase years of neglect or abuse from the wood.  Antique pieces can become faded or damaged or if it is painted, that paint may have become chipped or dried out due to improper storage of the furniture.

To prepare the antique piece you wish to restore, scrape the old paint job so you remove as much as possible.  Use a gentle grade of sandpaper or steel wool so you do not introduce any scratches to the underlying wood.  Next, attend to any gashes or scratches by filling them in with a Polymer texturing paste making sure to remove any residue so the filled in area is smooth and blends with the original wood.

Now you should sand and smooth the entire area to be repainted with glass paper and then repaint the antique furniture piece.  If you want a matt finish, you should limit your materials to a matt paint and then finish it when the paint is dry with a high quality varnish.  If you are trying to match the old paint, you should lay down a base of white undercoat first then use an artist’s quality oil paint that is a tone lighter than the original tint.  This is a method expert furniture restorers use to achieve a perfect match to the original color.

After your restoration is done, apply a varnish to seal the paint for long life.  Do not limit your varnish work to just the areas you restored.  Instead, varnish the entire space that is being restored for a consistent look.  If the finished restoration has too much of a glossy shine, you can tone it down with steel wool.  By completing the job with a gentle rub with the steel wool, you will retain the antique look but make years of abuse and neglect disappear.

Restoring antique furniture can be a tremendously satisfying skill to develop.  Not only will you feel like you are saving something precious by returning that piece of furniture to its original spender, you will be increasing the value of that antique piece significantly.  It isn’t uncommon to find a wonderful antique piece at a garage or estate sale and buy it for very little.  Then with a little tender loving care and your restoration skills, the outcome will be an elegant and beautiful piece of antique furniture for your home.  Or you can sell that antique for much more than you paid for it and realize a tidy profit from your work restoring antique furniture.

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