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Factors to Consider Before Refinishing Antique Furniture

5th Nov 2018

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Many people like to combine their woodwork hobby with antique acquisition, which can be a very profitable and satisfying experience, and if you are planning to move into the antique restoration arena, there is indeed much to learn. You are dealing with very valuable items that were handcrafted by the best people of that time, therefore you need to be very confident in your abilities – and be able to ascertain what can be done to make a piece more attractive. 

Clearly Define Your Objective

Prior to starting work on any item, you should have a clear idea of what you are going to do and what the end result will look like. Working on an expensive Louis XVI cabinet takes a lot of confidence and if you are apprehensive, it might be best to enlist the help of the restoration experts. Ask yourself if what you are planning will enhance the piece without causing it to depreciate, and if the answer is yes, by all means go ahead.


There is a fine line between refinishing and restoring a piece, with the latter requiring a lot more work, while refinishing could mean adding a special protective coating that will not alter the appearance in any way. There are providers selling antique furniture online who also refinish and restore and by making a few connections, you will have a bank of good advice whenever you need it. You can also source items that are in need of a little work from your online partner.

The Right Tools And Equipment

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Ideally, you would have a workshop – either in the garden or perhaps the spare room, as it is vital to have your own working space that hosts the furniture and your growing collection of hand and power tools. Tools can be acquired online, along with many tutorials on how to work on quality items of furniture, which should provide you with all the practical knowledge you need.

Is the Piece of Solid Construction?

This is an important factor, as any remedial work could seriously weaken the item, so take the time to ascertain whether or not the piece is well put together. Don’t be afraid to consult with an expert if you have any doubts, after all, the last thing you want is to ruin something of great value. There are great blogs that offer guides to restoring old furniture that would be ideal for the beginner.

Special Cleaning Products

Often, all the item needs is a good clean, wax and polish, with specially formulated cleaning products that do not harm the delicate surfaces you find on antiques. It pays to do some online research about such things and if you happen to know a dealer, ask them for advice when choosing cleaning products, as the professional would know what works best.

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Proceeding with caution is always advised when refinishing antiques, and the Internet is a great source of information about all things connected with refinishing and restoring antique furniture. Once you have successfully worked on several projects, your knowledge and self-confidence will grow and you can move onto bigger, more ambitious projects.

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