How To Restore Antique Furniture: Step-By-Step

What You'll Need
a quality wood cleaner or dewaxer
soft cleaning cloths
a toothbrush
#0000 steel wool
a sharpened 1/4 dowel, if there is carving or crevasses

If you ave antique furniture that needs restoring, you'll find the suggestions below will be of help. Generally, the more simple restorative process will involve three steps, such as those below.

Step 1-Evaluate

    You should ask yourself how much restoration of the antique furniture is necessary. Depending on the age and wear of the furniture, you'll need to decide how much restoration is possible and what cost.

    Step 2-Cleaning Your Antique Furniture

    Begin removing any wax, grime, or dust that is on your antique. This can best be done with a fine steel wool pad, rubbing very lightly if necessary on stubborn spots. Keep in mind that some antiques actually have a painted finish to make the grain more pronounced. You shouldn't use steel wool ont these areas. Instead, try using a toothbrush.

    Use a tooth brush or sharpened dowl for cleaning intricate carvings and deep depressions.

    Examine the furniture when you're done cleaning it. Remember that part of the antique furniture's character comes from it's worn and aged look. Try not to over-repare your furniture to keeps it's nostalgic allure.

    Step 3-Structural Repair

    Does your piece have a chair leg or some other part that must be replaced? If so, you should consider taking your antique to a furniture or cabinet shop whose craftsmen you trust to repair it.

    If it is just a loose leg, dovetail, or a finger join, it might be something you can repair, yourself. If you can take the loose piece apart from the main body, try cleaning the mating surfaces, and if you see that you'll need to glue the pieces again, you'll want to duplicate the original glue, where possible.

    On most antique furniture, you'll find “hide glue” between the joints; so named because it is made from animal hides. Use this when reassembling the piece. If you can't find this glue locally, you should be able to find it online. Although hide glue tends to be self-clamping once it starts to gel, it's a good idea to use wood clamps anyway, just to be safe.

    So, now that you've cleaned it, examined it for structural damage, and firmed
    up any of its loose components, you are ready to enjoy your antique furniture.