There is something really exciting about repairing and restoring an old piece of furniture to its former glory. Sometimes repairing furniture can be frustrating, especially when you’re first starting out, but with a few tips to get you going you can make furniture repairs that get your old furniture looking better than ever.
Removing Nails and Screws
Repairing furniture usually means taking it apart and putting it back together. When you’re taking a part your furniture, be sure to carefully twist out screws with an extractor and pull out your nails cautiously. If you pull out screws and nails improperly, you can damage the furniture and make your job a lot more difficult. Taking time and care and using the right tools to remove nails and screws will help you to repair your furniture beautifully and without too much additional work.
Removing and Rebuilding Tenons
A tenon is an older method of connecting wood furniture joints. Taking care with these tenons to remove and rebuild them well can help you get your antique furniture looking great with original techniques. Cut off the tenon where it connects with the furniture, try to make the cut as flush as possible, and make a slot for the new tenon to be inserted. Then be sure to us the same kind of wood to create your new tenon. Make it slightly thicker than the original tenon and then shave it down bit by bit so you can get a nice tight fit for the new tenon. Taking care of this process effectively will ensure tight and sturdy connections.
Aged leather can be beautiful, but if it has been damaged, it can make an otherwise beautiful piece of furniture look worn and broken. If it is simply the color that has faded, you can purchase a balm to give the leather new life, if the damage is more severe you need a little more effort.
Before adding any color, you need to be sure to remove any wax, oil, or silicone. You also want to make sure to clean it well. Fill in any cracks for a nice and smooth finish. You can use a leather binder to make the leather stronger and protect it for the future. Once you’ve done all the prep work, you can spray the color and finish it with a sealant.
Choosing a Wood Stain
An important part of repairing wooden furniture is to stain the wood to give it a beautiful fresh look. Choose a color of stain that you like, and think will look good on the piece of furniture. Don’t try to perfectly match your existing furniture—it pretty much never works. Instead, you can try out a little of the stain on a previously unstained bit of the wood, like the bottom of a chair seat, this will give you an idea of how the stain will look. Once you’ve chosen a stain that you like, you can strip and restain the entire piece of furniture, so you get even coverage and consistent color.
Tightening Loose Joints
It’s always good to start with the easiest solution and work your way out to more complicated answers. If a joint seems loose, first simply check to see if the screws are tightened, if they are and it is still loose, you will need to take further steps to tighten the joint. Clean the joints first so you can work with an undamaged product to complete the tightening process. You can use glue or shims to fill the extra space depending on the specific joint you are trying to tighten and the level of historical authenticity you are looking to achieve.
Cleaning Wood Furniture
For a lot of old furniture, a solid cleaning will go a long way towards making the furniture look newer and more beautiful. Cleaning old wood furniture can be complicated, and you need to do it carefully, so you don’t accidentally damage the wood. First start by removing old polish and stains, toothpaste that isn’t gel can be very helpful for removing stains from old wood. Make sure to spend plenty of time to clean it carefully and thoroughly and remove even the most difficult stains and markings. By investing time into the cleaning process, you can get a better idea of how your furniture actually looks and what can be done to finish the repairs.
Try Clamping Dry Before Gluing
Gluing joints and cracks in your wooden furniture can be a great way to start the restoration process and get things done. The problem with gluing is that wood glue is incredibly strong, and sometimes the wood will behave differently than you are expecting which can result in permanent damage. To avoid this major issue, try clamping the wood where you are looking to glue before adding glue. This allows you to see how the wood will behave so you can use the glue appropriately and avoid causing damage that you won’t be able to fix.
Be Patient with Yourself
Woodworking and wood repairs are difficult and sometimes tedious. However, if you are patient with yourself and give yourself the time you need to get the job done effectively and without too much stress, you will see great results. Resist the urge to get frustrated with yourself if something goes wrong or you make a mistake. Instead, take a moment to breathe and remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and that you can solve pretty much any problem that comes up. If things get especially frustrating, step away for a little while and take a break so you can come back with fresh eyes and renewed energy.
Repairing old furniture on your own is a big and rewarding job. Take a little time every day or set aside weekly time to work on the repairs so that you don’t find yourself overwhelmed and rushed. You have the tools and knowledge you need to make great furniture repairs in your home.
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