How to Refinish Antique Furniture

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Professional furniture restorers and hobbyists alike all have one thing in common: the desire to pluck a piece of furniture off the side of the road and restore it to its former glory.

What’s not to like? You’re saving something from a landfill and breathing new life into a forgotten item. The former owner only saw a table with broken legs and a surface marred by water rings. As a furniture restorer, you see possibility.

Furniture restoration involves tackling any aspect of work that’s required to get an old dresser or chair as close to the original condition as possible. Often, it’s more than just a facelift — it’s making the item usable again and possibly even adding value. Here are 10 tips that can help you make the old new again.

You’ve just found the perfect end table for the right price: free. It’s sitting on the curb, and all it needs is a little tender loving care. You can already see how it’ll look sitting in your living room.

However, it’s important to remember that a small side project can quickly turn into a time-consuming chore, depending on your restoration skills and how many free hours you have to devote to the work. The more complex the task, the longer it’ll take to finish, so be sure you have enough time in your schedule — or are willing to give up several weekends — to finish your piece. Deep carvings can take many hours to strip and refinish. Slats and spindles are not easy to redo. If you have to remove rust, that step alone can take days of work, which is something you should keep in mind before deciding whether or not to haul that table home.

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